By Regan Thaw, News24 User
Oh how ugly we can get when called on to vote. How nasty we turn when we have to carry out a simple yet crucial democratic right. Never mind the petty, childish bickering and name-calling among the political parties.
Take a look at us. We get whipped up by the election jingoism, the propaganda, the fiery rhetoric littered with mundane promises which almost always turn to lies the minute they leave a politician's mouth.
At rallies we dance, sing, chant, shout, scream, and even cry (enthusiasm or just madness?). They'll preach and boast and mudsling. And we'll gobble it all up, as if it were the gospel (according to whom?).
Speak to your average Joe/Jane Public and they'll regurgitate the drivel back to you, be it in maybe a more précised, crude form. But it's a carbon copy nonetheless of the election manifestos and sad attempts at the orotund political sermons offered by our "esteemed leaders".
At a public debate in Delft in Cape Town recently, supporters of 19 parties (most of them one-man and a fax machine groups, but I guess parties all the same) illustrated perfectly how blind faith often translates into blinding madness and stupidity.
The scene resembled a school sports day or swimming gala. A hall full of adults behaving like children, teasing, heckling, joking, dancing, arguing each other as liberally as our constitution allows.
The sprinkling of children in the audience provided an interesting contrast and conflation. These little ones happily played among one another amid this cacophonic din, while the adults gurgled and belched out insults of all kinds. They didn't know or care what was being said, the youngsters, that is.
I stared at them, wishing I'd sink back into my childhood away from the ugliness of politics and reality, retreating from this pedestrian, moronic display of electioneering and feverish devotion. I wished for the acceptable ignorance of childhood, where such pettiness didn't matter.
And as the grownups swapped derision, the politicians squabbling on the stage seemed to forget that outside the community hall pictures of real abject poverty, in other words the real problems, were as evident as ever.
All these idiots were doing were adding their personal touches to the woes of the everyman. Where's the sense, the intelligence? I fear there is very little of this as we enter our fifth democratic elections, which are arguably going to be our most interesting since 1994.
Democracy in action? Nope. Democrazy in action.
At the end of the three hours I picked my sanity up at the door, as did most of the party supporters, and almost fell to my knees and found religion, thanking the heavens elections only come around every five years.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
By Regan Thaw, News24 User