get creamed for this, but here goes: I'm not voting in the upcoming elections for
the European parliament. This is a very active decision and is rooted in careful
consideration. I know from several conversations that most people in Sweden find
this very provocative and accuse me of being undemocratic and not taking responsibility
for our democratic system. That I through my actions pave the way for undemocratic
and totalitarian forces.
Noble as these
comments might seem, I think they are misguided and pretentious. Most that issue
these kind of arguments are themselves actually taking democracy for granted and
being very passive in their execution of their rights and responsibilities. They
think it is enough to vote every four years, donate money to the Red Cross each
year and sign a few protest lists. And of course whine constantly about how bad
things are with politics in the periods in between elections.
My not voting
is a reaction against this irresponsible behavior. When I look at the political
parties and realize that none of them represent my views, I chose to take responsibility
and not vote for any of them. Why should I even consider to vote for something "half
I must make
clear here that I have done my home work – once again more than the average person.
Much more. I have twice entered political parties to "work within" and
left them. I have gotten involved in NGOs. I have worked extensively with local
governments. I'm not saying I know all about how they function. What I am saying
is that I know enough to say that I believe our democratic system is failing and
that it can't be fixed from within.
In Sweden one
is allowed to cast a blank vote at the ballots. This is what most people suggest
I do, once I have reached this far in my arguments. "Then you show respect
for our democracy, and point out that there are no alternatives for you." This
is a BS argument. Nobody friggin' cares about blank votes. They are silent protests
to no use. What I believe could make the system sweat a little is to erode it's
authority. And that can as far as I can see only be achieved by abandoning it. Which
means not voting.
If not voting
turns out to be a movement in itself, things could start to shift. Suddenly media
gets interested and starts asking why. Polling institutes start exploring the "nonvoters"
as well as voters. Poiticians might even become interested in new thoughts about
democracy. The movement of nonvoters of course also use their voices, like I am
doing here. Then – hopefully – the right question starts to emerge:
What kind of
democracy do we want?
my vote for a total rethink of our democratic system. That is why I'm not voting
Anyone who knows
me can confirm that I am a fairly active and responsible citizen. I believe, once
again, more than the average person. My strategy seems inverted to what most people
do. I don't vote. I don't whine between elections. And I get involved in changing
stuff and try, in collaboration with like-minded, to apply pressure to the system
from the outside. It may be an impossible task, but with what I know to be true,
I have no choice but to try.
So, am I such
an undemocratic person after all?