Obviously there is much talk about Nkandla and elections and most folks are either silent over it or quite boisterous in their opinions. Yet, either way a person chooses to respond, it remains a response, a democratic response actually. I’m sure most people are saying we need to stand up and speak out about issues and not to be silent because it is the coward way out. But being silent, too, is a response. Whilst it may not always be the best response (civically or ethically), for some people it is a legitimate action.
That brings me to the elections. Now, I’m no economic student or even a politically clued up individual so I don’t have much authority or even any authority with what I might be about to say. But I will say it nonetheless.
There are many people who feel that if you do not vote then you do not have a say or a right to say in what is going on in the country and that you gave away that right when you chose not to vote. While, I am also quite adamant about voting and consider it the best thing to do, I’m almost willing to say it’s the right thing to do, but I have to realise that any person has the democratic right to vote or not to vote and by choosing to do either, they should still have a right, a democratic right to voice their opinion on things. It might undermine the integrity of the person who chose not to vote but they continue to have that right.
Which now brings me to a feeling of discomfort…
I feel strongly that the word “right” (of an individual) is an abuse or degradation of what democracy is all about. While democracy is such a broad term to define, it doesn’t give us the “right” to things, instead we should see that democracy gives us the “privilege” to things, even the privilege to vote.
Therefore, I think the better option is to stop saying that I have the “right” to vote or to voice my opinion, instead we should opt for saying that I have the “privilege” to vote and to voice my opinion. And because I was given that privilege, I should employ it wisely with the attitude of offering another person that same privilege.
In the end, life is not about rights, it is about privileges.