Earning our right to vote

People pass exams to practice medicine or law or even professionally repair house-wiring. We also need to pass exams to drive a vehicle, protect & serve or get a decent job. But when it comes to one of the most important decisions we ever have to make in a democracy – to elect our representative to lead us as a people – we just need to waste enough time to come of age. Apparently nowhere is there any benchmark to assess our ability to choose our future by judiciously selecting a leader who will decide for us. It’s like our ever prevailing common sense, ability to choose a future by voting is something we are natural-born with in inexhaustible quantities.
snow peaks visible from the road in Himachal PradeshAnd it becomes our right – so they shout from the rooftops. Perhaps like the right to breathe? Not quite. Unlike the right to breathe or breed which is intrinsic to our survival as individuals and as a species, this is something distilled through a collective our ancestors came down in favor of; often for profit to those in majority bent on dominion. While theoretically our survival may hang on those we choose, a more practical and probable outcome would probably hinge around comparable levels of prosperity.
Even so, a random chance of birth should not be the sole criterion for an individual’s right to vote. A person must be informed enough to commit with sincerity and options must be determined on individual merits of concern to the voter. Choosing a leader is not an attempt to improve the quality of future of a people, which is impossible to predict anyway, but about fair representation of common values for both voter and candidate. It’s about selecting someone who can honestly represent public views on a larger canvas.
Ball cactus growing in our homeDynamism and flamboyance should only be tolerated initially. It will be futile and ultimately dangerous to let these superficial qualities be the determining factor in choosing a candidate. Show business looks great on the silver screen but I don’t think any of us would confuse its entertainment value with its merits of building a future in reality. It’s like buttons and bananas. Very little in common for functional comparison. It is a matter of serious concern just how many people confuse shallow pomposity with ability. And like expert stage magicians, many candidates are experts at misdirecting gullible public minds from actual issues and enticing them with loud mirages of perversely bright prospects.
People must coalesce a supervisory body specializing in educating the public with facts and issues necessary to ensure the best possible selection of candidates with their abilities to deliver on promises. It should not be influenced by race, religion, groups or affectation but be able to cultivate and inform the voter of his power and responsibility in entrusting his future to the hands of the best possible candidate without favor or prejudice.
And the right to vote must not be handed out as a mere accident of birth but as an indicator and award of proven value of the voter to the society and as a testament of his sound judgment and ability to choose wisely. Then and only then can we expect representation that will ensure a brighter future and not be a cheap parlor trick to entertain and delight while offering nothing concrete to stake our future on.

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