25. May 2014
Today, at the tender age of 40, I finally did something I have never managed to do my entire life, since achieving the age of majority. At 18 I was an Indian citizen but not in the country at 20, when they had the first General Election I was allowed to vote in. At 25, I was in Australia. At 30, I was a German citizen, but too close to the General Election to be registered to vote. At 35 I was in a part of Spain where time moves at its own pace and the challenge of contacting the Auswärtige Amt (the office for German citizens abroad) in that slow sweet current didn’t just seem impossible, it seemed ridiculous. Last year, back in Germany, around September, as the General Election loomed, I was running pillar to post, trying to secure a job and a flat.
So now, finally, after all these missed opportunities, I finally went this afternoon, to cast my vote for our reps in the EU Parliament and also to participate in the Volksabstimmung (Referendum) on the Tempelhofer Feld.
When I went in, I underwent the usual, 90% normal people, 1 person who looked unhappy about my presence, and 4 others who tried to ‘help’ me with the content and process (honestly, they’re just trying to be nice, like if I go to the butchers’, they always try to ‘warn’ me about the cuts that are pork – then I inform them I am of Hindu-background, they they say, oh! well, that’s the beef, watch out. And then I make sure to roll my eyes (charmingly, of course) and order something traditional in either pork or beef, and ask questions about how to prepare it, which causes everyone to fall in love with me.)
Democracy. One of the few things I truly believe in. The only way for self-governance and if it weren’t so expensive, I would expect nearly every question at every level to be decided upon by way of Referendum.
If people don’t keep abreast of the developments and laws and don’t bother to go out and vote because they believe it’s all the same, well quite frankly they should shut up and not complain after the elections are over. It’s hardly a big thing to go cross off some circles and it’s not that hard to inform yourself (for those unable to engage in heavy research, the https://www.wahl-o-mat.de is a helpful tool, where all the political parties give their position on various important matters – both temporal and long-term – and when you give your position on those same matters, the website then presents in descending order the parties that best match your preferences). After all, the purpose of an election is to send the guy to the seat where he can do what you want done.
Maybe that’s oversimplifying the matter, but really, it’s not that complicated. Democracy as I learnt in school is effectively defined as ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’. A consensus and acceptance of a common way of doing things, that makes ‘us’ us. That’s really all there is to it.
There was an over 65% turnout in the Indian General Elections 2014, that’S 65% of the total 814 Million People who are eligible to vote. Not bad. And if it can happen there, it can happen here!
Finally, in this badly structured post, I wish to add some words about certain parties and people who treat the tax-pool like some sort of bottomless pot of gold, some sort of ygdrassil (a cosmic central server tree from Norse belief systems, like the tree in Avatar). What they don’t seem to understand is, that if everyone sits about discussing leftist politics and smoking weed, while getting a check every month, at some point society will come crashing down.
The state is not a separate ‘entity’ – we are the state. Us people, who live here and work here and pay taxes here. It’s not a water spout connected to some giant river. People who work give up (voluntarily) about a third of their earnings so that we can have communal goods that everyone enjoys, and helps those who are less able for whatever reason. But if someone is in good health and not mentally disturbed, they need to go out and offer up their time and services and earn their keep instead of living like parasites. There is no need for me to do with less, so that someone can sit on their behind all day long, talking rubbish. I don’t mind giving up some of my income for single-parents so they can spend time with their kids instead of working two jobs, or for therapy for druggies, or parks and clean streets and well-maintained roads, bridges, schools, environment, alternative energy development etc.
Socially speaking I am very much a leftist, but fiscally I am definitely a conservative. Reason, people, reason! Vernunft must be the foundation of all our thoughts and actions!! Else we will end up becoming cannibals. Because I have noticed on thing. All these freeloaders and pseudo-hippy types, who speak of how unimportant money is, gladly ‘cheat the system’, and are the biggest money-grubbers I have ever seen. It’s embarrassing to be honest! See if they share even 1 penny of theirs. Even when they got it for free.