Archive for February, 2016

The song that is mentioned in the title of this blog post has been playing in my mind over and over as one of the many pieces of Jamaican creative art that has aptly served as social commentary basically covering my lifetime. In Jamaica POLITICS is a bad bad bad word, probably the worst word ever. In fact it has spawned many offshoots that highlight just how we as a people in large measure feel about the political process so we have “Follytics” which is my personal favourite of “politricks” which is perhaps the most popular.

For all persons who know me and know me well they know that ever since about the 9th grade I have stoutly held the position that until I see great changes in the way politics is practiced  I would never ever ever dip my finger in any ink. To this day I still feel very strongly about defending person’s right not to vote as being equal to a persons right to vote. I think this notion that “you must vote” whether you philosophically agree with the candidates put before you is one of the most popular yet flawed arguments that exists in Jamaica.

As I saw one comment on twitter yesterday “Voting for me is almost spiritual based on the sacrifice that went into me getting that right, I almost feel as though my soul will be damned if I just vote without conscience.” (slight paraphrase). That is deep almost deep beyond words. I think it is folly to say to someone your vote is valuable but give it to someone “just because” it’s the right thing to do. Persons who seek to bully and guilt trip persons into voting really need to spend the time and try to understand the stance of principled non-voters before reaching for the millions of tired clichés. Let me not even get into today the myriad of constitutional reform issues that legitimately turn people off from voting. That can be a blogpost for itself.

However, speaking of principled non-voters, I have recently developed a strong urge to reach out to my fellow disillusioned Jamaicans. We must not let our disillusionment turn into total apathy and separation from the process. whilst it is true that political participation goes well beyond casting a ballot and therefore voting is not the be all and end all of participation, we must also acknowledge that NOT VOTING AND NOT HAVING A VOTE ARE TWO CONSIDERABLY DIFFERENT THINGS. If you are not enumerated you don’t have a vote so your displeasure is not registered in any way that can even theoretically force those who you are displeased with to react. The sad truth is that these persons we make reference to are largely driven by electoral stimuli. So what we need to do is give them some different stimulus. If everybody who is not pleased with the status quo twinned their public expressions of disapproval with the REAL potential to be a “swing” set of votes THEY WOULD HAVE TO AT LEAST PAY SOME MORE ATTENTION.

SO DON’T VOTE IF YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE THERE IS ANYTHING TO VOTE FOR. I fully agree with that stance and it is your right and NEVER LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY FOR NOT CASTING YOUR VOTE FOR A MISGUIDED PERCEPTION OF CIVIC PRIDE. But political participation is more than just voting. What are you doing to contribute to the change that you want to see? Have you ever written to your representative? When parliament asks the public for written submissions have you ever sent one in? Are you a part of a civil society group fighting for a cause? NOT VOTING IS ONE THING BUT NOT CONTRIBUTING IN ANY WAY TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF JAMAICA AND THE “…THE WELFARE OF THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE” IS PROBABLY EQUAL OR WORSE FOLLY THAN THE FOLLYTICS WE COMPLAIN ABOUT.

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