Go and vote, please

There’s a pretty accurate ad being aired these days on Indian TV channels regarding our own failures to properly choose a better politician. With the upcoming elections, I am sure that this public service announcement will nudge many of us into thinking carefully before we vote.

The ad starts out with a woman haggling with a vegetable vendor about the price of tomatoes (I think) for the particular quality being offered. She continues to haggle for some time before the voiceover intervenes to inform us that we need not be in a rut over our political situation if we chose our politicians with the same demanding standards as we choose our vegetables. And its true. We sometimes put more thought into the price of vegetables than we do when voting for a government.

I know many people who choose not to vote. And they are often the ones who complain the loudest about the shortcomings of a government. The usual excuse given is that there is no right candidate for the job and so its better not to bother to vote for a government that they don’t want. It doesn’t work that way. If you do not vote then you are entrusting your and your family’s future to your neighbor. Do you really think that your neighbor should be empowered to choose your destiny for you when you have the same power to do it yourself? Voting is not just a citizen’s right in a democracy, it is also a responsibility. A serious responsibility with far reaching and severe consequences. It’s a decision that affects not only us but our children and their children along with the future of the entire nation. And through trivialization of this power by choosing not to vote, we are condemning ours and our children’s future at the mercy of a government not reflective of the true will of the people.

Its very easy to blame the government and declare that one vote will not make a difference. But sometimes that single vote means the difference between the best and the second best candidate. There doesn’t always have to be a perfect candidate, we can at least ensure that we vote a government into power which is most likely to represent us honestly. We can choose to vote out those we deem totally unsuitable for this job. And the easiest way to do this is by exercising our franchise to choose our government.

By choosing our government wisely we not only pay homage to our forefathers, many of whom sacrificed their lives and efforts to earn for us this freedom to choose, but also to our posterity by ensuring that we leave this world better for them than we found it… to the best of our abilities. That’s the key phrase. None of us are perfect, we make mistakes and have more than enough shortcomings to even bother to try but the good thing about democracy is that we don’t have to be perfect. We just have to try to do the best we can. And believe it or not, each and every time, our best is more than sufficient without being absolute right or wrong. We are smart enough to choose.

So please, go and vote at the national elections this year and think honestly before pressing that button. You are choosing yours and your children’s destiny. You may not get another chance for the next five years and by then it may be too late.

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