Friday, April 24, 2009

The 'Great Game': being her entry into the murky realm of 'political' writing (A Trilogy in Four Parts)

I feel awful about not having written in so long. Here, in a nutshell, is why - I got stung by bees, went out of town (a bunch of times), fell ill while away, have been worrying/working myself to the (admittedly still a few mm away) bone, getting what I hope will read like a literate and erudite Ph.D. proposal together. I wrote this little blurb-type rant to "incite" people (the 'youth' in particular; whoever they are and wherever they be) to vote a few weeks ago. Haven't had the time to post it yet, alors, tiens - better-late-than-never-and-other-abounding-cliches...

So get this: It isn’t, not by any stretch of even the most fertile imagination, alright to affect apathy about the state of your country. It’s even less alright to kid yourself by thinking you can’t make a difference because you’re up against (this much-mythicised beast) ‘the system’, and that one vote can’t alter the course of history. This isn’t completely untrue. You’re right, for the most part. But if everyone, ever, thought this way, we’d probably still be living in caves, swinging off trees and fending big lizards off with sticks. While this idyllic existence isn’t exactly to be knocked – it sounds like fun! – I, for one, can’t live without my iPod, so thank you very much, I don’t want to be a Luddite today if it’s all the same to you.


If I sound flippant, it’s on purpose. Let not the style, however, distract you from the high-seriousness of the content. We’re getting to that time of year/life/world again when we play out pre-assigned ‘roles’ in the dance-drama of democracy, the ultimate performance piece we call ‘elections’. Ostensibly, the people we’re meant to vote for come ‘from’ us (kind of like in the Theatre of the Oppressed, come to think of it), but increasingly, there seems to be a disconnect between ‘real’ people and ‘politicians’, the third gender; the fifth species, seventh element; whatever you want to call them.


It’s a vicious cycle – if you look at the candidates most parties field, and think of them as an aggregate ‘mean’ symbolising or standing in for a nation, a sort of microcosm of all the humanity this great subcontinent is home to, the results are shocking. Is this who we are? Are these the leaders we choose to ‘represent’ us? One of the most standard arguments I’ve heard raised against the idea of voting is that people feel the parties let them down by not giving them people “worth voting for”. The point is that you won’t get them – not until the message that fielding just anyone won’t do goes out to the powers that be, very loudly and clearly. Even so, to do this requires you to vote. Vote for the least of the evils, vote for a pretty symbol – do what you will to make peace with yourself, but vote!


Change and Hope are infectious words. If enough of us start believing in them, to quote an erudite source, “What better place than here, what better time than now” to start making a difference? The Times, too, Are a’ Changin’ and it might be a Long Time Coming, but we’ll get there. By and Bye. IF you, yes you, care enough to make a difference. Care enough to vote. 


Sahil said...

I wonder why, in a much touted democracy like ours (and no sarcasm intended there; after all the system does seem to work, albeit fuzzily, against all odds), a cynic like me can't go out and vote for no one. officially. in secret ballot. on the ballot paper.

why can't i let the powers that be know that i think all the candidates are rubbish and that none of the party manifestos have even a smidgen of relevance to my life?

how did we miss out on this all important piece of the feedback puzzle?

Harmony Siganporia said...

Sahil, this time round, they actually had registers where people who wanted to officially 'not vote' could go register. If enough people do that, parties will have to wake up and smell the (unpalatable) coffee at some not-so-distant point in the future, nein?
I compromised some, cut deals with a certain horn-ed,red,and extremely 'luminous' gentleman, and then went and voted for what struck me as least detestable of the lot on offer. I've been wearing that squiggly little black mark quite happily ever since.