Is It Wicked Not To Care?

July 5, 2009 at 8:13 pm | Posted in International | Leave a comment

As I write this, Mexico’s 78 million registered voters will all be dashing to their polling stations to cast their votes in the midterm congressional elections. Well, not quite:

Many activists and intellectuals have urged voters to annul their vote or deface their ballot in protest against the largely government-funded political parties that have done little to break Mexico out of the doldrums.

The null-vote movement wants reforms such as making recalls of elected officials easier and allowing write-in votes or independent candidates.

But few people who gathered at polling places Sunday said they were planning to annul their ballots.

Many more Mexicans – perhaps as many as 70 percent of the 77.5 million registered voters – are likely to simply stay away from the polls.

As much as we like to think that out pain & sadness is more sad & painful than anyone else’s, it turns out that Britain’s not the only country undergoing an outpouring of anger & apathy. In fact, the people of Mexico have got far more to grumble about than we have. A wretchedly bloody war on drugs, an economy that’s even more anaemic than usual, a wave of corruption charges against public officials and the frequent cases of bribery, extortions & kidnappings have – rather understandably – made Mexicans less enthused by the prospect of voting.

But if Mexico’s turbulance is not something we can all instantly relate to, I reckon this respose to the ‘null vote’ movement should sound reassuringly familiar:

“To the extent people nullify their ballots, institutions will be weakened and the PRI’s network of control will go into action, and they will win a majority,” warned the conservative, PAN-aligned civic group Better Society, Better Government.

What’s betting that by the time the next election rolls around, Gordon Brown (or whoever has the dubious honour of leading Labour to the ballot box) will say pretty much the exact same thing about British apathists sending us sleep-walking to a Tory majority?

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