Wednesday, 17 September 2014

To vote or not to vote

A friend of mine doesn't vote, citing that voting secedes your ability to be free and instead gives others permission to rule you.. Before this election, many years ago, I have also chosen not to vote, wanting to concentrate my energies into real power and real change. I understood this as the world around me; the people I move with, my 'sphere of influence' so to speak.
Low voter turnout is pandemic in the western world. People keep saying that if only the most affected voted they would institute huge changes for their own benefit. If that were so, why don't we see it happen? We are quick to say voter apathy is the cause, without understanding that that state is almost inevitable. Low voter turnout of the poor and disenfranchised reinforces their belief that this world is not made for them. Synonymously it strengthens the status quo or the majority view (who also surprise surprise happen to be very good voters). Minorities don't do well in elections-a representation in Parliament doesn't stop you from being railroaded by the majority into laws and decisions that are alien to you. Democracy can be a cruel joke-one person one vote- if you are not on the receiving end of society's privileges. You just keep voting or not- and keep losing.
Politics is seen as 'not for me' by non voters. I went to hear Hordur Torafson from Iceland, the country that went from prosperity to ruin during the financial meltdown 2009- 2011.If you remember the people threw out the government literally, by surrounding the buildings and calling for resignation of the whole government.One abiding memory from that talk was that post the 'revolution', people are talking politics, everyone is talking politics!And the politicians know they are watching them. 
I really like that story; political involvement; making sure that politicians do not overstay their mandate to govern. I'm still thinking about my friend, who questions our need for governance at all. I may well head down that road myself. Sure we need to work things out together, but that doesn't imply centralised government. I guess most people want someone who will save them, feed them, give them jobs etc. And then when that inevitably fails- someone to blame. And that in a nutshell may be the foundation of our ghastly reality show we call the elections.

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