The Globally Disenfranchised Vote

Arab Spring. US corporations who buy elections. Hanging chads and disproportionately disenfranchised minorities throwing presidential elections. The packing of the US Supreme Court. The congressional budget meltdown. Unsubstantiable personal attacks on TV driven by political parties and leaders gone completely out of control. Campaign charges you can’t believe even in those rare cases you’d like to. Nations of sheep who are manipulated and stampeded into predefined niches at the polling place. In our new Information Age, a deficit of trustworthy information and news resources.

According to many young, representing the arriving new generations, the whole election process has become so corrupt it can no longer be trusted to represent the people.

Here’s current New York Times reporting on the phenomenon, “As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe” by Nicholas Kulish (September 27, 2011):

But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.

They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box.

‘Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,’ said Marta Solanas, 27, referring to older Spaniards’ decades spent under the Franco dictatorship. ‘We’re the first generation to say that voting is worthless.’

Economics have been one driving force, with growing income inequality, high unemployment and recession-driven cuts in social spending breeding widespread malaise. Alienation runs especially deep in Europe, with boycotts and strikes that, in London and Athens, erupted into violence.

But even in India and Israel, where growth remains robust, protesters say they so distrust their country’s political class and its pandering to established interest groups that they feel only an assault on the system itself can bring about real change. “

Democracy is always a flawed, messy, disorganized process, but if we don’t clean up the processes designed to serve it, we’ll end up with something infinitely worse.

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