Monday, February 07, 2005

Elections boycotting

What's with that elections boycotting business?! I can't imagine how a group of people can get a chance to participate in elections, have their voice heard, and have a chance in participating in governing their lives, and boycott that chance.

I'm certainly not politically sophisticated, so I just don't get it. Why did Hamas boycott the Palestinian elections?! Why did
Sunni Iraqis boycott the Iraqi elections?! Why did the Egyptian opposition parties boycott the parliamentry election in 1990? What could they have possibly gained by that?

So what if they have issues with the election process, if it is too early for elections and they're not ready yet, or whatever other reason. Shouldn't they try to work on the issues they have instead. Inevitably reaching nowhere, and the upper hands will have the elections their way, yes. But then, if there is one thing about the election process that is right, then it is worth participating. If they participate in the elections, and get 20% of the votes instead of say 40%, because of the issues they had. Isn't that still much better than getting 0%, and having no voice, and having zero representation.

What if the Sunnis had participated in the Iraqi elections. Wouldn't they have had atleast some representation in the new Iraqi parliament, giving them a legal and credible voice. Yes, their goal is much higher, they've been ruling the country for ages. Its all or nothing, eh. Boycotting the election leaves only one option to be heard and to have things their way. Through guns and blood?! Do we always have to limit our options to this! Why are we always so fond of that option!

Violent resistance is certainly important, and sometimes necessary, and is definetely a mean to an end. But I'm afraid that its becoming the only mean, and worst yet, the end itself. You've resisted the occupation with enough violence that is killing more Iraqis than occupiers. Does this violence have to be endless? Become martyrs, or life is not worth living! Can't we have smart martyrs, who know when to fight, when to stand for their beliefs, when to peacefully participate, and when to embrace others.

Didn't Hamas do awesomely well in the municipal elections. Wouldn't they have been able to make a stronger statement of their overwhelming support and better impose their negotiations standards with Israel if they had participated in the national elections -- even if their candidate didn't win.

Aren't the Egyptian opposition members of parliament making a difference. There are around 12 opposition members or so, out of over 400 in total, and they've already banned so many books!

Won't Iraqi Sunnis regret it, when they end up not participating in their future, not having a better mean to voice their issues, exert pressure, and having however members of parliament that they could've had elected strongly request the occupation armies to withdraw.

Let's take a look at the other extreme on the other end of the globe. Ralph Nader has been participating in the US presidential elections for 3 times now, knowing that he will lose everytime. He's been attacked for running in the elections, being blamed for costing the democrats the presidency. He can't participate in the presidential debates, can't go on the ballots in many states, his campaign is poorly funded, and yet he doesn't back down. Why does he do it? Not to get famous, and not to get everything and be president, but to win enough votes to have a viable third party. An alternative to the two parties, which he believes are two of the same thing. He didn't boycott the elections and whine about it.


AJourneyinLife said...

Have to say I'm impress with your comments about boycotting, it nice to see another human being agrees on that subject, boycotting electing are stupid. as for the answer it easier for them to boycott than to run and lose. I think they rather win than face losing. if they boycott then they don't have to say we lost and don't have the support of the people.

American On Line said...

In this context, Boycott, by any other name, may very well be a 'vote' against the system or the parties or the candidates or the issues, etc., or a combination of those.

No single reason ever exists for why a multitude of people choose not to or refuse to vote. Frequently, it is a gesture that formalizes one's conviction that a particular election is a farce, and that any participation by them in it would be seen by themselves and/or others as condoning the farce or conflicting with their own beliefs. It may very well be that their perception of the farce is wrong, yet that is not the issue.In the USA, millions do not vote and they are accused of apathy. Is it apathy? Or is it a boycott? I am not so sure that it is, or it is not, both, one or none.

For some, it may be a boycott: it is how they make it known that "they elections are all the same no matter what party wins. When whoever gets to DC, they all get together and take and spend my money and spend it, while all the time blaming one another."

For others, they do not see that their vote makes a difference, as the 'votes' are not fair, reliable, or counted.

Whatever the reasons, frequently a boycott, "a concerted refusal to have dealings with," is the act of a large number of people who, with "their refusal to vote, cast their vote": none of the above.

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