While we in EnZed were having an election to which only two-thirds of voters showed up, Egypt was having its first election since, well, ever—and everyone showed up.
People queued for hours just for the chance to vote--a hard-fought right in this “fledgling democracy,”* and a great sight in a country riven for centuries by dictatorship and worse.
Which led many folk here at home to complain about the million adult New Zealanders who stayed home on election day (many of the complaints amounting to “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about what you get), and to denounce them for taking their right to vote “for granted”—as if not voting was an insult to those who fought and died for the freedom to vote.
But is it really an insult?
If you have the freedom to vote, then you also have the freedom not to vote. And if nothing on offer is worth getting out of bed for, then a vote for “none of the above” is actually a very rational choice.
So quit complaining about the non-voters. A freely chosen non-vote is still a vote.
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* Yes, it is a great sight seeing people able to vote in a country normally suffering under brutal dictatorship. But the prospects for long-term democracy, or for real freedom, look awfully dim when you realise the party still most favoured to win the final vote is the Muslim Brotherhood—the organisation which gave birth to Al Qaeda, and from which so many Al Qaeda operatives are still drawn.