Letter of the day: What's the use? Lament of a disenchanted voter
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I write in reference to the October 28 Letter of the Day, 'Uncommitted must take reins in next election', written by Carlton A. Gordon.
I found Mr Gordon's suggestion that non-voters' "apathy and lack of interest reflect ignorance, laziness, and/or a fear of taking responsibility and being individually accountable for personal and national development" quite interesting. I would, however, venture to offer a somewhat contrary argument, one that dares to suggest that the lack of commitment displayed by so many stems from disenchantment - a realisation that if any change is made as a result of their voting, the populace merely 'a swap black dog fi monkey'.
This, I will be quick to add, has nothing to do with a personal disregard for the process itself. I wholly believe that, especially as a predominantly black nation, the right to exercise this franchise is something that should be revered, considering the efforts that were exerted to make such a privilege a reality. My disconcertion, however, is as a result of the historical nature of Jamaican politics.
Successive governments have demonstrated that there exists very little regard for the opinions of those of us who, by virtue of electoral participation, have indeed attempted to be "individually accountable for personal and national development". Successive governments have instead adopted high-handed approaches in the decisions they have made, seeming to believe they do not owe us explanations and that demands for such are out of place.
Such administrations have used public funds questionably and have made similarly questionable decisions regarding the nation's business, yet no proverbial 'heads have rolled'. They have further failed to deliver on so many promises. It is shocking they are able campaign with straight faces.
For the first time since the 2002 general election when I was first eligible to vote, I am uncommitted. Certainly, my feelings do reflect some degree of apathy, but this lack of interest is far from a reflection of "ignorance, laziness, and/or a fear of taking responsibility" but rather from a feeling of 'what's the use?'
I have for several years dirtied the forefinger of my right hand in hope. And, until recently, touted that all who do not act similarly were to indeed "hold their peace" in critiquing who was selected. My tune, however, has been forcibly remixed. Now my secret wish is that nobody turns out to vote on election day - whenever that is. Send a message of displeasure - test that power.
Buff Bay, Portland