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Vote with your heads and not your hearts

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OPINION: Alex Tabisher writes that the young people who are either newly qualified to vote should not become like folks who regard election day as a fun day. He urges them to avoid the powerful and cunning rhetoric that appeals to the basic human inclinations.

Alex Tabisher writes that the young people who are either newly qualified to vote should not become like folks who regard election day as a fun day. He urges them to avoid the powerful and cunning rhetoric that appeals to the basic human inclinations. Picture: Henk Kruger

I HAVE never dabbled in politics. I channelled my thoughts and actions into acts of immediacy which I have nurtured all my life.

I served the new government as presiding officer on two occasions of national election.

The elections were initially designed to appease people who were previously disenfranchised.

Our crucial first vote was an act of unity such as is seldom seen. Nations cohere in this way, mostly when war threatens, during an epidemic or coping with a natural disaster such as Mother Nature alone can cause.

Sadly, right from the onset, 30 years ago, I saw an elephant in the room. Indeed, I saw a whole herd of elephants.

Our crucial first vote was an act of unity such as is seldom seen.

Returning to our new status, we happily voted time after time for what turned into a hopeless dream, a nightmare of greed and non-delivery.

Voting is a public display of the wishes of a nation, province or town council. It states clearly our reaction to those who seek renewal as members of Parliament, those who promised us equity in every phase of life.

It was a golden dream, standing shoulder to shoulder in the defence of our expectations.

Looking at the posters that declare intention, some parties promise “a job in every home”.

Another poster asks for our vote to stop the suffering. Yet others make the ridiculous request for us to trust them. And so forth.

Given the experience of the past three decades, we should be circumspect when we mark the ballot paper. Many who aspire tow re-election owe the government taxes.

They have blatantly gorged themselves into fat and smug officials at the coffers of the national fiscus for too long.

We should not vote as an act of reprisal or attrition.

The rule should always be that we honour our portfolios for improvement even though we might not like the incumbent.

Play the ball, not the man. Respect our status as newly recognised human beings, with all the fears and dreams and impediments that accompany our existence. If a dubious appointment is pushed through, exercise caution, not vengeance.

To the young people who are either newly qualified and find a world devoid of truths, use the knowledge you have gained. Do not join the folks who regard election day as a fun day. Do not fall for powerful and cunning rhetoric that appeals to the basic human inclinations. Vote with your heads and not your hearts. You have the controversial reification of your role.

After qualification, you must study in the school of life and push the truth that there are no free lunches. When I was trained for my profession, we were given loans to finance the tuition. The minute we graduated, there were structures in place to earmark a part of my earnings towards repaying the “free” tuition.

The run-up to election day will provide heady moments. But remember the Olympic benchmark: you did not win the silver. You lost the gold.

* Alex Tabisher.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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