Posted by: John McGerr | February 22, 2011

Dying to Vote


In case I haven’t mentioned it before there is an election coming up on Ireland, a general election, to choose a new government. The skeptical part of my brain tells me we are just swapping one set of jackasses for another but another part of me, a larger part will insist on asking ‘Could I do any better?’ ‘Had I been in the position would I have been any better than Fianna Fail or the Greens?’ I would like to think so, I am sure those competing to get into power will think the same, indeed some of those who are looking to get back in are surely thinking ‘I can fix what I did wrong last time – just give me the chance.’ But you have to weigh the choices against the history. It’s not the overall party that’s the issue it’s the individuals. The majority are just constituency reps who do their ‘best’ to get re-elected by forwarding their own agendas – anything that will earn them votes. Look at all the independents running now, in theory you could have a government made up of eighty plus different parties.

All this is happening against a backdrop of political upheaval and unrest running across North Africa and into the Middle East. A common thread here would seem to be dissatisfaction with the existing leadership and looking for the right to vote for a candidate of their choice. I bet George W Bush is livid. Muslim countries in upheaval and not an American soldier in sight.

The fact of our own election against such a backdrop has made me think more about this ‘right to vote. than I normally do. I have always used my vote even when cynical about those I vote for and I have often been unhappy with my choice(some of them have adopted that rule ‘ little children should be seen and not heard’ putting themselves in the place of the children and turning up wherever a camera is pointed) on many occasions but it hasn’t changed the fact that I will vote. My thoughts however stray to the newly ungoverned people of Egypt and the hopefully soon to be Gadaffi-less Libyans. How will their new choice match up to their expectations? Will some cynical souls be cursing that they’ve swapped an ass for a mule? Will the representative for Cairo be an active voice while the representative from Alexandria only comes out when the cameras are around(and of course I will get those potholes fixed). I don’t even know if they have separate constituencies or more than one party but at some point someone is going to be elected and someone will be the big boss and like our own country tough decisions will have to be made. But at least, if the people aren’t happy and they can make new choices next time around this has to be a good thing?

It certainly says something for the right to vote – regardless of how you use it that fact that so many, throughout history, have died for the privilige should at least make everyone come out and use theirs. Sure – the choice may not be great but use it anyway. It’s the banks that run the country anyway and no-one elects them….now theres a thought!!!

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