When we #Talk about the issues surrounding democracy, governance and voting; the parameter of the discussion always includes our forefathers fighting to give us adult suffrage for both men and women so that we would all have a voice in the running of the nation. At first glance there is nothing to disagree with but to allow the struggles of our ancestors to be limited and set as static would be an injustice to their fight and continued cause that many people’s across the world continue to uphold and strive for, as democracy isn’t as widespread or as straightforward as we in Jamaica must now come to realize.
If we are to be truthful about how seriously we have taken governance in this country and holding these political representatives feet to the flame, we would be downright cross with ourselves. We have been lead, paid and tricked to believe that we would have fulfilled our democratic obligations by making an ‘X’ (preferably beside a head or bell), and dipping our fingers – only if it was that easy. Your obligations don’t end and begin with a vote but includes other critical building blocks of democracy and governance for example: identifying the issues, discussing the issues, keeping up with local and central government policies, sharing your cause and ideals through a medium (including social networks ) – support and encourage peaceful protest actions.
The mass public of apathetic citizens and loyalist identified as “ordinary Jamaicans” by a certain Member Parliament has far too long been dragged about by the repressive political winds and must decide that they want something more– the “articulate minority” must not see themselves as a fixed group of tweeting Jamaicans but in fact as messengers of change that must reach out and grow.
We must not be comfortable any longer with a governance system that represses the voice of the people and rejects other forms of democratic action (e.g. recalls) – there must be change by way of constitutional reform that will reaffirm that democracy is by the people.
Let it then be known that voting is not the absolute and will never be.