Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Non-Voters Aren’t Lazy – They Just Value Their Time

Despite all the fanfare surrounding the recently held local government elections the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) reported that there was only a 26% voter turnout. 

Although unable to vouch for the veracity of the statistic since I remain doubtful that the EBC is thoroughly and painstakingly updating and verifying the total voters list, I for one was heartened by what most described as the unfortunate low turnout levels. 

The low engagement in the political song and dance suggests an increasing resignation to a futile political process by citizens, which at the end of the day has no real positive impact on their lives. For coming to this realization non-voters should be congratulated.

Will one subset of the country feel like they benefited as a result of the outcome of elections? Sure. However most of the real beneficiaries represent the politically connected and their families, not the average citizen who has to independently earn an honest living on a daily basis to survive.

Even those on the low end of the totem pole who interpret a win for their preferred candidate to mean a greater likelihood of favourable hand-outs are losers in the long run since they have become mere pawns in a vicious vortex that only serves the political class and regrettably perpetuates a destructive dependency syndrome.   

Moreover, non-voters should be acknowledged for their healthy scepticism and negative feelings about politicians and state institutions that all say the same things, make the same promises but only serve the people to the extent it serves their political ambitions. On coming to this epiphany withdrawing ones consent and abstaining from an electoral gimmick may appear to be the only moral option.

There remains a simple reason why politicians (red, yellow or green), academics, the media and other politically connected establishments aggressively promote voting as a citizen’s civic duty – it validates the need for their existence and tacitly justifies their power and rulership over the masses even to the country's ultimate detriment.

The size, scope and role of the T&T government (now at 41 ministries) that proposes to take care of everyone from cradle to grave is now so distorted that unless the state's role and expectations of the state are curbed continued moral and economic depravity will ensue unabated.

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