Friday, September 24, 2010

Is Voter Apathy A Good Sign Of A Democracy?

On a forum that I frequent, the topic of "who are you voting for" came up, and I decided to post my 2 cents:

"I saw highlights of the debate on cp24. I want Ford in office just for the entertainment value. I couldn't even believe when the guy called out his dead father.

I used to follow politics back when I was in high school, but as the years pass, it just seems to confirm that: 
- the people are never going to be satisfied with the government
- the government's never going to satisfy the people  

No, I don't think it's asking too much to manage taxpayer money better...but I have a feeling that it's just never going to happen.  

Is there even a point of caring any more? What kind of system leaves us voting not for the best candidate, but for who's gonna screw things up the least? Do campaign promises even mean anything - who's to stop someone from doing a complete 180 once they're actually in office? 

I know it's really just [I]called[/I] a democracy, but it seems that I just get more and more indifferent every year - and that worries me"

To which Duster 929 replied:
"I really don't like it when people say we don't really live in a democracy, and that they're apathetic because they think our democracy is a joke.  

Voter apathy is a sign of a democracy that works quite well. Voters are apathetic because they don't have particularly large problems. They're relatively comfortable, have enough to keep their time occupied, and don't suffer daily persecution and violence. When a society has MAJOR problems, voters are not apathetic. They're in the streets, first with banners, then with rocks and clubs, and then with explosives. Toronto's problems: public transit isn't very good, taxes are going up by a few percent too much each year, there's a persistent shortfall in the budget that is filled in by more senior levels of government. Heck, even at the national level, it seems our biggest problem is that the government wants shotgun owners to register their weapons. 

These are not the problems that many people in the world have. So, don't feel bad about being apathetic, and don't blame it on the fact that the system doesn't work. Be thankful that you can afford to be. Voters aren't apathetic in Afghanistan or Palestine, because they've got real problems, and they rarely even get the chance to vote."

Anyways, my mind = blown. I still don't think it's much of a democracy...but I now have a way to justify my apathy towards things. Whether the happiness of a country hinges on a "democracy" like ours is still something that I'm thinking about...but this is something I would have never considered.


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