My First Time

2013-11-12 13:53

On a night out this past weekend, I had to remind people that when side burns are connected to the lamb chops, which join up with a goatee and a moustache, this is called a beard. So no, I am not doing Movember. I am in awe of anyone who does this.

I do have an issue with many men who do partake in this act, and it had a connection for me to something else rather significant – my first time. Well, it wasn’t my first time because I’m a grown man, so the DA’s latest campaign was wasted on me. I do appreciate a whole campaign built on a dirty pun, and I am happy to see voter registration and the excitement around it. My issue is this, what next? After everyone registers, then we go about the usual rigmarole of just going through the motions. They will vote for the ANC because (history dictates) and then they will vote for the DA because (Helen said so!) and don’t get Julius started and on it will go.

But do we even know what we are voting for? I’m ashamed to say that I often did not know in the past. A party usually just appealed to me and they got my vote.

So I was out and about with my friends and had a few too many glasses of wine and the topic of Movember came up. There was a gentleman who was growing a mo’ and he explained to a few people what it was a about. Quite a few of this few did not know that it was about men’s health and were now enlightened. I speak from experience because was one of those ignorant few who grew one in 2010 for the heck of it. It was, however, lots of fun. The experience would have been more meaningful and enriching had I taken the time to not groom my Burt Reynolds ‘stache and read up on what the cause was. At the same time (I was in Observatory) there were a few Red Beret members, fiercely debating the EFF and why it is the right way. I heard the same empty rhetoric that every other supporter spews, without really getting into the meat of the policies of the party.

Voting is meant to be rewarding, insightful and recognition of one’s civil power. You hold the future of your nation in your hands and you get the chance to make a change in the space of minutes with the dash of a pen. Or you waste your time by making an uninformed choice.

The constant fear mongering is what annoys me about politics in this country, especially around election time. I recently read Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.  It tells the tale of a whale hunt gone wrong, as the monster they thought they were hunting is actually a sophisticated submarine. Instead of looking for the monster all the time, maybe we should wait until this monster actually shows up. It might not make the right wing very happy, but we’ve gone twenty years without a revolution. I think we’re good… for now. We need to calm down, or we are essentially the African version of the George W Bush presidency, and I won’t have that on my watch, or conscience.

And while we’re on the subject of hypocrisy and election panic, of course you can complain if you do not vote. The rights of all people were fought for so that freedom of speech is a right for everyone, even those who choose to abstain.

I do hope that the first timers have a more significant experience when they lay down that cross next year, and won’t regret looking like an ignorant fool after, like that time I grew a mo’ (and also that time I voted for COPE)

By the way, DA, my first time was in a bathroom after one too many beers and I hardly remember any of it. Jesus Christ, I drink a lot!

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