I got to thinking about this when I heard officially that the voting age had been lowered* and I’ll get to that shortly. We have municipal elections around the corner. TV and radio are full of adverts and reminders about registering to vote and how you can make a difference by voting and so on and so forth, I’m sure you’ve heard the slogan: “THE POWER OF X”.
A lot of the ads are aimed at the younger generation and the school leavers, as apparently there is an air of apathy amongst the kids who are just becoming eligible to vote. And I say kids because the age at which you are eligible to vote in South Africa is now 16! (BTW: Imagine an astounded, slightly raised voice and an incredulous look on my face) 16 people! Frankly- I think it’s WAAAAY too young, I mean- at 16, most kids are not even working yet and still deciding whether to finish school or get married and have babies instead! I know the kids now are “older” than I was at 16, but that is only a perception and an act in my opinion. Just because modern culture seems to promote kids growing up faster than I think they used to- or need to- doesn’t actually mean they are mature. But it’s not only youngsters who are apathetic. Municipal elections in particular seem to be poorly attended; you don’t even need to queue for very long. I vote. I am registered to do so. I have voted every chance I got since I was old enough to do so. Honestly- I do it so I can bitch about my government, local & national, seriously. ROTFL!
Damien and I have discussed voting and why I vote. We discussed the floor crossing thing as well because he wanted to know why I was upset about it. I do not tell him who I vote for, or try to tell him who he should vote for one day- we discuss things more along the lines of principles and ideas. And before anyone gets too excited, let me just state that this is NOT aimed at anyone in particular, I am NOT taking a dig at the people who choose not to vote since that’s what democracy is all about. This just kinda follows on from my floor crossing “rant” a while ago*
Although explaining the “rules” to Damien can also come back and bite me in the butt! Like whether I have registered to vote, whether I’ve paid my TV license, whether I have paid the fines I received a week slash month slash year ago* and I don’t feel I can lie to him about these things since I am telling him what’s right and wrong. If I say we must obey the law but I don’t pay my TV license, I’m not setting a very good example am I.
So, just out of curiosity- have you explained democracy and voting to your child? Does he understand why you vote, and why we are able to? Would it bother you if he chose not to vote? Would you expect him to tell you whether or not he voted?
There Is Never An Excuse
One in three is not a statistic - one in three is a crying shame.