No country for second chances

2019-05-08 11:04
Election in South Africa.

Election in South Africa.

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You know that feeling; you're at your favourite takeaway, restaurant, fast food joint. You know it's not the best for your diet, but well, needs must, and fixes must be met.

But then you remember that item number 5 gave you food poisoning the last time. And the time before that, well, it wasn't quite up to scratch either – but you order it anyway.

Because you're a creature of habit. Most of us are and most of us believe in second, and third, and fourth chances.

So, here we are – with a veritable smorgasbord in front of us again. An additive-heavy, carb-filled, calorie-laden menu of political choices, all promising to taste good and fill your tummy with hope and the promise of a better life and future.

Will they?

I generally believe in second chances. In the tenets of human decency and kindness and generosity of spirit and all those good things that we strive for to make our lives – and the lives of others – just a little bit better. But what do you do when you're disillusioned with the unpalatable menu in front of you? When the dish you've placed your hope and optimism in turns out to be too salty, too fatty, tasteless, a little too indigestible?

Disillusionment is an apt word. The cousin of indifference. A sadder relative to apathy. "The freeing or a being freed from illusion or conviction; disenchantment."

It's when your idols fall, and you shrug. When Eskom disappoints and you turn the other cheek and light your candles. When another government official is accused of bribery and you snort with mock-surprise.

It's also dangerous. Because like apathy and indifference, disillusionment is a hopeless path to go down. To stop caring about this country, to stop holding those in power accountable, to keep turning your head from the fray, and shrugging, "Eh…" – it's a loss of appetite.

And a loss of appetite is treacherous and sad and scary. It's a clarion call to the power-hungry. It allows the loudest and shoutiest to thrive; it gives leeway to corruption, it lets megalomania, crime, exploitation and destruction get away scot-free. It says that a lack of integrity and accountability are okay.

But here we are. These are the choices in front of us. No perfect party. No perfect candidate. They're all riddled with faults and failings, mired in scandals, have had their fair share of offences, and disappointed us a time too many.

So, which dish to choose? On a menu of disillusionment, there are no perfect dishes. Go forth and vote healthy, South Africa…


Read more on:    elections 2019

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