PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT NOT TO VOTE TOO

2014-03-05 12:20

There is a tendency by some, particularly those at the highest branch of “the moral tree”, to not only want to dictate but define to others what democracy is and how it works, even when its primary and guiding principles are not fulfilled to capacity. This tendency is often supported by the idea that democracy is exercised only through voting, thereby reducing it to nothing more than just holding free and fair elections every five years.

Recently, we have witnessed what disservice by one can do to the sanity of another. More so, the detriment of poverty to the state of mind of those at the receiving end of its might. We have seen that governance, whether good or bad, has a relationship that is in many respects directly proportional to the wellbeing of those it seeks to advance. That is, good governance produces a harmonious, active and participatory citizenry, whereas bad governance results in the opposite. In essence, this notion offers the best logical explanation to why we have so many service delivery strikes in this country.

Based on this observation, one struggles to understand why the idea to vote is often imposed on those without compelling reasons to do so. Time and again, we play blind to the realities that be and expect others to celebrate with us, when in actual fact, unlike us, they have not got anything to celebrate. Fundamentally, it’s how Clarence Darrow put it, that “you can only be free if I am free”, that is, it is only when we enjoy such a freedom together, that we may appreciate and celebrate the privileges that come with it together. Essentially, what one considers a moral obligation (the right thing to do) in a democracy, may not necessarily be the case with others, for the fruit it bears do not reach them all equally.

Furthermore, it is important to take note of other possible factors at play, which in some respects fairly justify the decision by others not to vote. Firstly, that since the dawn of democracy there has been no form of growth in their lives, and sometimes no/little development in the areas in which they live. Secondly, it could be that there are no alternative political parties to the ruling party and how it projects itself ideologically. And lastly, it could be that there is a vacuum of a genuine and honest leadership across the spectrum- which may very well result in the inability of the voter to spot opportunity for growth and development.

Voting is important, but in the same way that we elevate it to greater value, let it shape the lives of those who make an effort to cast their ballot. In an interview with Ebony online, Lupe Fiasco, an American rapper once asked: does voting work on the level that you are trying to effectuate change? I ask: if it does not, why vote?

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