Young people everywhere don't really give a damn about politics...

...or much else for that matter.

While some South African's head to the polls tomorrow and pundits lament the fact that decreasing numbers of eligible voters are expected to pitch up at their designated voting stations, we should take heart in knowing that widespread mistrust of democracy and its processes is not unique to South Africa. Since the 1960s voter numbers everywhere have been in decline.

Around the world the story is pretty much the same; young people are apathetic about politics and are actively choosing to not participate.

Nothing sums up the circus of the current political state-of-affairs for us more than UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attempting to make yet another 'heartfelt' plea to voters while the 1992 song by D:Ream 'Things can only get better' (which was also the theme tune to Tony Blair's 1997 political campaign) blares in the background - partially drowning out the drivel that he's spewing. BTW - the song is now flying up the charts in the UK (which also might tell you something about the sorry state of popular music too).

However the reasons as to why people are not voting are not exactly straight forward. Some of it points to general nihilism as a pervasive mental construct in society; more specifically the recently recorded rise in individual mental health issues can also be directly linked to an apathy regarding the world in general.

One very simple explanation also just might be that registering and voting is a pain the arse. It takes time, standing in a long queue is a pain and why would you do something so mundane on a public holiday when you have a hangover and the sun is out and all your friends are on the beach.

Non-participation in the democratic process is a concern, but it is just one consequence of a much broader and deeper issue that the world is facing.

Democracy itself is perhaps struggling with a bit of a marketing problem. Nobody seems to be packaging it as something compelling to do anymore. Perhaps if the promoters of civic society can address that issue they would have more success than just scowling at the youth can calling them lazy.

Just a thought.


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Report shows SA’s shocking voter apathy | The Citizen
New report reveals 1/3 of South Africa’s eligible voters uninterested in politics, with youth apathy a concern.