A few years back I wrote about my thoughts on democracy (and when, one day, I find that post again, I will link to it). Today, those thoughts were revisited as we had our local elections.
I have been very aware of the amount of advertising and promotion that’s been going on these past weeks. Virtually everywhere one looks, the command “Vote ANC” would appear next to a toothless smile of ANC’s leader. The other parties have nowhere near the same amount of presence, occasionally showing up on a weather worn street-pole board. I can only assume that the leading party’s current position gives them enough money and resources for the mass marketing campaign while the rest flounder getting the adequate level of funding. It might also be that the leading party has hired in the proper consultants to make sure they get their message and word across.
Whatever the reason, what this boils down to in a democratic election is that, regardless of the actual delivery, the party with the most exposure will more than likely win. And our leading party knows how to play that game. Their people have hogged the media with inane issues for years. Whether the faces we see, and the issues that are brought to light are planned or not, they certainly help with exposure. The party’s name sticks in our mind like a well-branded cola.
Of course, not everybody will vote blindly, but I would expect, just like people continue to buy products that they know are not good for them, there will be enough votes to tip the scales accordingly. A democracy is a sound idea if the common person stands for their beliefs and takes charge. In reality, the common people hand over their power and clout to the governing party that they think will hand over a good life.
Despite the fact that that good life hasn’t come yet, the mass majority of our South African population aren’t at a place where they are able to adequately take charge of their lives (simply due to situation) and look at alternatives. The low level of marketing from the opposing parties isn’t helping either. And the chances of the people I’m actually talking about ever reading this blog is, unfortunately, slim to none. So, here’s to our ever democratic democracy. Chink-chink.