IS APATHY REALLY THE SOLUTION? 

Is not voting really the answer to the nation’s problems? Are the young, educated people of this country justified in their stance to steer clear of involvement in the political process? The vast number of young people with whom I have interacted have expressed their lack of interest in the political process; many of whom have competently “justified” their reasons for such. But are our politicians to be blamed or are we to be blamed for the state of our nation? I am possibly the odd one out for believing that we have neglected our duties to this country leading for much of the problems which we complain about. 
The “know it alls” and the “know nothings”

An avid user of social media and regular attendee at public forums, I am all too used to the know it alls with all the solutions to the problems of this nation. While some have formally proposed their solutions to those who are empowered to enact legislative changes, I dare say that the vast majority have engaged only in senseless social media and social gathering banter. 

The common complaints of this group brings me to the “know nothings.” These are the people whom the educated bourgeoisie lament vote blindly due to political loyalty or vote because they have been “tricked.” They would include in the “know nothings” the great number of poor, uneducated persons whom they believe have not the capacity to vote on issues. Despite lamenting this, a great number decide that electing their government is not serious enough. Interestingly by holding this notion, young, educated voters have fooled themselves and indirectly voted for their government by not voting!! 
Why leave the future to the diehards? 

In every election, there will be a core support for each of our major political parties. Some are uninformed loyalists, some are informed loyalists but rest assured that there will be a voting bloc. 

Despite knowing that it’s the non-loyalist corps that will hold the handle in any election, young, educated individuals leave their governance to chance. Yes, a huge cross section of people in my age group, with formal education and immense exposure to the facts will still choose to not vote on February 25 and by so doing participate in an election by omission. Like it or not, after February 25, this country will have elected 63 MPs whether we like it (or them) or not. 

What happens February 26? 

Come February 26, the election fever will be over. A government will be in place, and the people who complained before will continue to complain about everything and offer the best fixes (mark you, 90% would not have voted). This will continue for a next four or five years when another government will be elected (again most won’t directly participate in the process) and the cycle continues. 

The Youth Vote

We, as youth, must recognize the immense power that’s in our hands and use that power wisely. We have been complaining as nauseum about the lack of focus on young people. Here’s the truth, VERY LITTLE WILL CHANGE UNTIL OUR LEADERS KNOW THAT YOUTH CAN AND WILL SWING ANY ELECTION! But until then, the focus will remain on those who are “know nothings.” After all, this is the group that will participate in the electoral process election after election and directly elect their government. We can either acknowledge this or continue to delude ourselves into believing that not participating is the answer to the lack of programmes to impact the youth population: 

Youth the world over have started revolutions which enacted immense change; some have been revolutions of sticks and stones, bombs and bullets, others, the revolution that I am more interested in, a revolution of the mind; a revolution of ideas and level of participation.

We cannot continue to harbour the grandiose first world thoughts while exhibiting ‘fourth world’ actions. It is about time that we observe and emulate the youth participation which has been immensely impactful in the more developed states. 

‘Time come’ for youth to directly impact the political process. Believe it or not, whether we mark an X or not, we would have voted and from my vista, the vote of omission is quite possibly more powerful than the vote of commission. If we are really to be treated with the level of seriousness that we deserve, then this is the election to demonstrate our seriousness. 

AK Dixon

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