Sunday, September 25, 2011


While democracy has many faults, most of them relating to the difficulty of effective and impartial implementation, the one tool that upholds it, is the VOTE that each one in a democracy is entitled too. With this one tool those in power can be swept aside and a new set of people brought into power. By not utilizing this one tool, we can end up suffering the ill effects of a stale democracy for as they say ‘Bad governments are elected by good people who did not vote’. The important lesson for each one of us is that, even as individuals we have the power of one with which we can Voice Opinion Through Elections.

When viewed from a personal perspective a vote is not necessarily your opinion expressed via the ballot. As independent thinkers with the power to visualize, discern, decide and articulate, we are expected to participate in all matters that affect our daily living and express ourselves. Such an expression of our personal preferences, views, sharing of suggestions, even changing our stance based on better understanding are part of the process of us voicing our opinion and an indication of our vote. Thus the whole exercise is a participative process in which each of us has to take an active interest and preferably be proactive participants rather than articulate critics. You have opportunities to exercise your opinion and your vote in your local housing society meetings, the meetings of social service clubs of which you may be a member, write letters to the editors of the local newspapers to share your thoughts on social and civic matters.

The one issue that troubles most people exercising their vote is their inability to reconcile the yawning gap between what might be ideal and what could possibly not in our personal interest. It is possible that to tide over a crisis some rather harsh measures would possibly have to be taken but as an individual it is possible that the measures affect you the most. Increasing taxes is often the best example of such a happening. Similarly we may have to choose between someone who is very efficient and a go getter but has loose morals and / or is vindictive and ruthless and another who is clean as a whistle, a good listener, a man of his word but alas cannot get his way and despite his best intentions only has excuses to offer. This is where the personal judgment has to be exercised with caution and deliberation. It is important then to VOTE with awareness rather than endorsing an opinion that seems convenient under the circumstances.

Whatever the circumstances, be aware that a VOTE is your right and more importantly your duty. When the majority doesn’t vote, the minority gets their way and the majority merely has to play along till the next opportunity comes. To avoid such a situation be an active participant in the process, study the issues well, try to keep personal biases away, consciously give your VOTE and Voice Opinion Through Elections.

Action Points:
  1. The next time you go to vote, ask if you are voting in a particular way because you know the issues well or merely because you have been asked to cast your vote by a friend, a well wisher or a person whom you cannot disregard.
  2. Almost every issue has 2 or more sides to it. Do you pay particular attention to the views of those who do not agree with your views? Do you also appreciate those opposing views that have merit but do not fit into the overall scheme of things that you support? E.g. Inducting women into the infantry regiments of the armed forces.
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