Since December 2010, the Arab Spring movement has seen protests and uprisings staged against oppressive regimes in an international call for democracy. Thousands have died in countries like Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Syria while attempting to bring about the same freedoms we enjoy here in the west.
Closer to home, over the last few weeks Americans have been amassing on the island of Manhattan to participate in what is believed to be the largest mass protest since the 1960s. Hundreds have been arrested and thousands more are pouring into New York City every day to march in the streets, decrying the greed and corruption that has become endemic to the American democratic system.
Meanwhile, here in Ontario, on Oct. 6 we had the lowest voter turnout – 47.6 per cent – in the province’s history. How is it, in the wake of a relatively politically tumultuous past couple of years, that Ontarians reached a new low of apathy? Are we so spoiled that we thumb our noses at the same freedoms people die overseas to obtain?
It seems participation in the political system is no longer viewed as a duty but rather a hobby – one that is generally regarded as uninteresting or complex. What we have forgotten is that politics is not a hobby. It’s a necessity. It’s the one thing, besides death, taxes, and the need for oxygen and sustenance, that binds us.
Let your guard slip for one generation and you have a system like we’re seeing in the United States: a system fast approaching kleptocracy status; where the super-rich spend millions influencing policy while the masses grow poorer, only realizing too late that they’ve been cheated when the roof is suddenly pulled out from over their heads.
So why didn’t you vote? Were you too tired? Disillusioned by what you felt was a lack of worthy candidates? Or did you simply not think your vote matters?
All of these excuses can be remedied by voting, running for office, or otherwise participating in the democratic process. If your excuse is that you just don’t care, there are places in this world you might enjoy where people don’t have to worry about such annoyances as governance.
– Metroland Media