I’ve never cared much for politics. This is largely because I felt intimidated by it. When I don’t feel knowledgeable about a subject I simply steer clear of it to avoid looking lke an idiot. I could never understand politics because it never made sense to me.
I think I understand now that I had the wrong impression about politics all along. In my mind government and politics were synonymous. I’ve always thought government should be about duty, responsibility and delivery, and I’d like to believe I’m right (albeit a little idealistic).
Growing up I was shielded from much of what was happening politically in South Africa. My folks weren’t particularly politically active, and it was not really a subject discussed at home. I do remember being quite entertained by the song and dance around the US elections as far back as I can recall (some things never change). My first real awareness of any profound political happenings came with Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, but then he went on to make me believe politics was all about honour, justice, honesty and people. Silly me.
With his passing from a position of influence in the ANC, I have learned that politics is really about egos jostling for power, rhetoric that is never (or seldom at best) acted upon and corruption. The political philanderings of the last few years in South Africa could not have been scripted in Hollywood, leaving us average Saffas a bit bewildered. This wouldn’t be such an issue if their wasn’t the small matter of a presidential election looming less than two months away.
Do I vote for the ANC based on the fact that I really buy in to the values that the party was founded on? Well, the paper those values were written on is smeared with the skidmarks of today’s ANC leadership which, with the exception of one or two individuals, strikes me as being nothing short of cancerous. Jacob Zuma will be our next president, but he will not get my vote.
So then do I default to Cope, the breakaway party that is shouting from the rooftops their intention to reinvent the ethos and spirit that once gave birth to the ANC? It hasn’t taken 6 months for Cope to fall prey to exactly the same crap, with power-mongering and division in the ranks already tainting their image. I’m not holding out on hope.
What about the DA? The DA have made a lot of noise in my world recently as they’ve attempted to Obamify their campaign activites with various social media initiatives including their volunteer site Contribute to Change, a sassy new web site and even a Twitter account for Helen Zille. Matthew Buckland has in fact written an excellent piece highlighting the various digital efforts of our major political parties. But my heart is not in what the DA is doing and saying. They remind me of that nerdy clever kid in class that liked to tell on all the other kids to please the teacher.
Wait, wasn’t that me?
Seriously though – they are anklebiters. Winers. And Helen – I like you – but please, stop talking about what the ANC is doing wrong (we’re all brutally aware of that) and talk about what YOU’LL do RIGHT.
As for the rest of the options I’m pretty much uninformed. I don’t really know what anyone stands for, all I’ve heard is posing and mudslinging and egos and blaming. But then, that’s politics, isn’t it?
C’mon guys – give an average South African something to believe in. I’m begging you.