Monday, 07 May 2012 02:30
By Vere Aaron
In his Gettys Burg address, Abraham Lincoln called democracy, “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
This simply means, we are not here to serve our government, but that our Government is here to serve us- and we are blessed with the right to decide who will represent us and how we want to be represented.
As the countdown to the 2014 general elections begins, there is no doubt that many of us as young voters are at the brink just waiting to collapse as we are addled knowing “great men” with high degrees have failed us excessively. Being confronted by political issues on a daily basis, many of us in response display a “don’t care dam” attitude thinking politics is mere cheap talk.
“ I am not really interested in politics since it will not benefit me in he long run.”
“politicians do not care about us so why should I care about them？“
And the list of questions and statements posed by us young Antiguans and Barbudans goes on and on.
Why us? Because I myself have had these thoughts but the love for my country fuels my desire for a brighter future.
I believe that there is hope not only for us young Antiguans and Barbudans but our country itself.
That hope is us and unless we unfasten our eyes and chuck that “I don’t give a dam attitude” we will forever find ourselves on the road of oblivion.
What would you do if you find yourself on the breadline without a job?
Yes, you can start your own business but remember there are government regulations by which your business must abide.
Need I remind you of income tax, ABST, social security, education levy, departure tax etc.
Whether we are into business or uinversity students or even janitors, politics will always come into play.
Almost everything we do on a daily basis absords politics and we cannot escape it.
Young voters, let us not only talk hope but live it and live it with pride.
Our leaders have given us little to build on, not only as a result of greed but also because we allow them to. We have rights and responsiblities: let us begin to familiarize ourselves with our rights and also act responsibly.
Let us start our hopeful journey by bringing to bear a very powerful and one of our most important rights- The right to vote.
In 2014 let us flood the polling stations and send a clear-cut message to our elected officials.
You may be asking yourself, with people being pursuaded to vote in any given election, does my vote really counts?
My answer- voting is a right that, throughout history many have fought for and sacrificed everything to achieve and should not be taken lightly.
Should their sacrifices just fade away into some distant memory?
In certain parts of the world speaking out against any government decision, policy, action or gov. official can lead to internal exile, to prison camp or execution by shooting in the head etc.
As young Antiguans and Barbudans we should be thankful not only for the opportunity to choose who governs us but also for the power to decide how and in what matter they should govern.
Voting is a patriotic act and by voting, we convey that sense of patriotism that we care enough about the direction of our country to exercise the power available to young Antiguans and Barbudans to make our voices heard.
Once again I reiterate, voting is a right that millions of people throughout the world still do not enjoy.
We have the great priviledge of living in a free society and voting actually makes us free. No matter how much we feel our votes do not count, we are dead wrong.
In the mayoral election in Ann Arbor in 1977, the outcome was decided by a single, solitary vote.
Another example, John F. Kennedy won the presedential election of 1960 by as small a margin as one vote per election district in 12 states.
If every individual is of the belief that his/her vote doesn’t matter, the share volume of non-voters will destroy the democratic process. Furthermore, our votes hold our leaders responsible for the decisions they make.
Our votes broadcast the issues we think are important. Our votes affirms our rights as free citizens to elect our governnment and participate in democracy.
Government daily operations affects us in many ways.
Increasing or lowering taxes definitely affects our salaries and a governments’ ability to attract outside investment certainly determines the amount of employment oppportunities available for us.
Some of us would conclude that choices are limited, in terms of the availability of well rounded politicians, but this is just a lame excuse.
If this is the situation then why not make yourself an option or make reccommendations.
The chances of you winning may be slim but great men failed before making great achievements.
Our country is in need of fresh ideas, a breath of fresh air and incorporating the old with the new in my opinion is a great recipe for a brighter Antigua and Barbuda.
Remember, the world has changed significantly and what was sweet yesterday is very much sour today.
Youths of Antigua and Barbuda, let us vote because we care about what’s going on within our local communities.
Let us vote because we believe in free government and our voices should be heard.
Let us vote to have a say.
Let us vote because it’s the right thing to do.
Rather than just sit back and complain when something the government does isn’t in our best interest, get out and vote and make a difference.
Eligible voters who refuse to do so have absolutely no right to complain when they did nothing at all to protect their interests when they have that exact power.
As king onyan once sang, “you never hear a Guyanese say, that things so hard in their country why they run away…. they always boast of their country so nice and in their hearts will always be their paradise.”
Our Antigua and Barbuda to!
Stand up for our country even if the ride gets a little bumpy.
See you at the polls!