You know that feeling you get when you are lost, and driving down a road, and you don't know whether you're getting further away from your intended destination or not? Politics is a lot like that.
Look at the recent American elections. Do we want the Democrats/Republican split in South Africa? If anything, it showed me that even an advanced democracy can get horribly lost, because there's no clear winner in the US now.
Something people keep repeating is 'The DA is the best hope for an opposition to the ANC, so a vote not for the DA is essentially a vote for the ANC'. Now I see the logic in that, but I have to ask: is that what we want? We're so keen to see the ANC vulnerable that we'd probably vote for the ACDP en masse if we felt it would help.
Take a look in a crystal ball, twenty years later. The DA (essentially a coalition of so many smaller parties that it has no real political vision of its own) on the one side, contesting elections against an eroded and equally divided ANC. Is that a victory for democracy?
I've often pointed out that capitalism is based on the lie that everybody can live a middle class life, when the reality is that the pyramid doesn't change its shape. Politics is exactly the same: we keep hoping that our candidate will win, and don't think about the discontent of the voters for the losing candidates. It's all about us, right?
Look where it's gotten the US. Obama won, yes, but how many unhappy US voters are there? If the DA ever wins, how many unhappy ANC supporters are there going to be? ANCYL's current threats about ungovernability will be chicken feed compared to that political instability, so is that what we really want?
The one thing you can say about the ANC's victories is that the ANC represents the vast majority of the country, so after elections where the ANC wins at least the majority of the voters are happy that their party has won. The further you erode that base, the more political instability you introduce.
Getting all excited about the DA in the short term is great, but it's ultimately a delusion. Can South Africa afford more delusions? We already have TV and alcohol to distract us from reality - we need to at least face up to our political realities.
Before the ardent DA supporters accuse me of being pro-ANC, I'm not. I am supportive of democracy in so far as it's the best compromise that promises relative political stability based on a happy dream of all candidates winning - but I'm still realistic enough to wish it wasn't so.
In truth, I think politics should be done away with completely. There shouldn't be a State / Government split. The State should exist to serve its people, and the entire structure of talking heads and controversy generators which Government officials are can be done away with in total.
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