The Possible Political Position of Non-Voters
I’m not ashamed to admit that I am politically ignorant. I think a lot of people are. What does concern me is the well-being of our country and its people, which is largely dependent on our government and our political system.
To know that less than 60% of registered voters chose to vote in the municipal elections on Wednesday, to me, represents a problem. However, to direct blame entirely towards the non voters and label them as apathetic or even as bad citizens lacking in civic duty, is not constructive in my books.
So in the spirit of constructive debate, it would be useful to put ourselves in the shoes of the non voters, so to speak, and try to better understand their possible position. In a country where political party posters are hidden in basements, polling stations are burnt to the ground, and violence is used to deter or instill fear in voters, one might understand where the non voters are coming from.
This is not an apathetic viewpoint of “my vote won’t make a difference”, but perhaps the idea that our democracy and political system, at least a significant part of it, is corrupt, and the chances of the voting process being tampered with are so high.
So how do we move forward and address this? It is undeniable that we live in a capitalist society which arguably creates a mentality of achievement, recognition and status. Being the president of the country or ‘high up’ in politics is no doubt a powerful position that comes with a large salary, prestige and numerous benefits.
It is arguable that entering this position from a less privileged position in society can have a profound effect on ones values. Egotism and ambition in the context of political power may manifest at the cost of principle. “Power breeds corruption” so the saying goes.
So I put it to you: if the prestige and prosperity that comes with being in a position of political power were defocused, would more politicians who are genuinely interested in leading on principle, not surface? Perhaps at the loss of those who are not?
With regards to the democratic voting process; in my philosophy, where there’s a queue, there’s room for improvement. Why are we not afforded the option to vote electronically? We all have unique fingerprints and computers are far more accurate and efficient at handling numbers as opposed to people. I understand that the major issue would be that an electronic system of some kind could be subject to being rigged or hacked, but is there really much difference in risk when voting with pen and paper?
Please excuse my ignorance. I am more than willing to be educated on such matters.
Daily Maverick article: Don’t vote. It’s your right