Sunday, March 24, 2013

My political manifesto and why you should give a shit

Politics is too serious a business to be left up to politicians.

There is an immense amount of coverage on the popularity, unpopularity, crimes, bickerings, speeches (not often enough the policies) of our political leaders. From their tone of voice, choice of swim wear, changing hair styles, optical apparel, capacity/incapacity to articulate themselves and every personal detail, our candidates for prime minister are under a critical microscope.

Too often we leave it up to them to run the country. Yes, they are meant to lead the country.. but in the direction we decide. Politicians only fall as far as we let them, and they only rise as high as we demand. I am not naive enough to think my voice does not matter. I know that politicians do precious little besides pander to our votes. They answer to us. If societies ruled by dictators can be overthrown by popular movements and protest, what is our excuse in our democratic society from succeeding in pushing our politics to be more than it is now?

If you are not interested in engaging in the politics of your country, you have not earned the right to complain about the state it is run. If you were a friend of mine who was constantly complaining about the shortcomings of a relationship without taking steps to rectify it, you would not have earned my sympathy. I would not throw you a pity party.

Yet you are not the first and will not be the last person to be exasperated by politics. This is both comforting and disconcerting but it is not the end in itself. The exasperation is a step away from indifference and apathy and towards finding out what is next.

Educate yourself. Take an inventory of the issues that matter to you and the policies and ideology of each party. Understand that once your vote is in, your job is not over. Remain interested in the issues you prioritised to make sure they see it through. Write a letter, sign a campaign, go and visit your local MP or seek avenues to engage or protest or support. Be acutely aware that the media is not gospel. Seek a variety of sources.

Be ready to accept that other parties, other than the one you have chosen, have valid view points and policies and leaders. Dogma and blind faith was never good for religion and is toxic for politics.

Engage, educate yourself, and evolve with the times. 

1 comment:

  1. For most people Politics is a charisma game, a team sport and popularity contest. That's why I liken Politics to Pro-wrestling. What's lost on most people as you stated is that "once your vote is in, your job is not over"..
    At the end of the day the biggest enemy is usually apathy or complacency. The only remedy for it being the sensationalism that made the discourse so toxic in the first place.