I’m actively and aggressively sitting this election out.
I feel terrible about this.
I know what’s at stake here, I studied political science extensively in college. I know that my grandmothers and great-grandmothers risked their lives and their freedom for me to be able to vote, but here I am, rejecting everything they fought for. It feels wrong, but I have to be honest with myself about this: There’s nobody running in next week’s election that’s given me a reason to vote for them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way advocating not voting (actually since the whole “vote no” debacle I feel like most of you should stop voting forever, but rock the vote or whatever), I’m just saying that there are no political entities that in any way reflect my sensibilities or seem to have the will to take this country into the realm of a modern, progressive country that actually exhibits even passing concern for its populace.
If you don’t believe me look at our options:
The incumbent administration oversees a government where millions in public funds routinely go missing, lead by a millionaire who doesn’t seem too concerned what life is like for everyday people in his country despite the fact that said country has the population of a very small municipality and one would think that the person occasionally crosses paths with regular people. The current government is so out of touch that they’re the kind of government passed a regressive tax measure designed to punish poor folks while taxing the rich minimally . Despite the fact that they have increased minimum wage, inflation has so greatly outstripped wages that young professionals can’t afford suitable housing. This is the kind of government that presides over a tiny country in a subtropical region but refuses the entirely feasible move toward sustainable energy because, as my colleague, Andrew would say: “reasons”.
The official opposition is a similarly inept bunch. They oppose just about all of the policies and institutions put in place by the current government, despite the fact that the opposition was in charge 15 of the last 25 years and not only had ample opportunities to right everything they found wrong with the government institutions they presided over. Furthermore, many of the plans and institutions they’re currently complaining about were actually devised and built by them.
They’re lead by a guy worth $10 million who went full Donald Trump and signed lucrative contracts with himself when he was in charge.
Even worse than being a kleptocrat: he thought that having his secretary filming him catch the bus to make him come off like a “man of the people”.
Seriously…. He’s the best of this bunch.
Their party has no viable platform or policy proposals outside of “we’re not those guys over there”, and the other guys are so bad at their jobs that it’s probably going to work.
The third party is lead by a guy who seems enamoured with the sound of his own voice, traffics in empty, shallow platitudes and has yet to offer feasible coherent policies outside of “let’s hang people“, which is a really stupid platform for a number of reasons.
We also have a protest movement that I don’t trust. Not because of what they’ve done (which isn’t much if we’re being honest with ourselves). I just grew up here and it’s made me very cynical. Besides, all I see from them are magazine shoots, hashtags and tee shirts for sale. It seems more like an exercise in self-promotion than a protest movement.
Politics in this country is a joke is what I’m saying, and there’s nobody in the political arena that reflects my political sensibilities. There’s nobody for me to vote for.
I’m not some rabid extremist either. I think what I want is sensible enough.
I want a government that won’t curry favour foreign powers over the will of its own citizens (looking at you China).
I want to live in a country where people are free to express their religion without religion being codified into law and forced on other people.
I want to live in a country where everybody makes a living wage.
I want to live in a country where citizenship rights are guaranteed to everybody regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
I want to live in a country that takes the protection of its environment seriously.
I want to live in a country where I’m not scared of being a victim of violent crime every time I leave my house.
I want to live in a country that takes its educational system seriously enough to constantly invest in improving and upgrading it.
I want to live in a country with an economy that isn’t entirely dependent on the whim of tourists.
I want to live in a country that’s fully invested in powering and feeding itself.
I want to live in a modern, progressive, self-sustaining country.
Everything I asked for here is fully attainable if whoever was in charge could see the bigger picture for a second and muster up the political will to plan and execute it. The world is changing, and for us to advance a country we have to change with it. But when I read about what’s happening in this election I don’t see much change on the horizon, I see the same old Bahamian politics.
Maybe that’s okay with you but I can’t vote for that.