“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
The thing about democracy, and why it is such an appetising concept for our social structure is that on paper, it promises a very well balanced form of community. A sense of justice and equality, and a chance to voice concerns and be heard.
The thing is, it is a very “only if” concept, that requires more from its participant than it offers.
Indonesia has undergone their biggest election yet. Or at least, it supposed to be the biggest. 269 Regional governments were supposed to be elected on the same day by the people. In reality, only 264 places went with the election, but that’s incredible enough.
A group of almost 240 million people was supposed to choose their own leader for their hometown. Leaders who are supposedly more able to change their fate. Leaders who can actually tailor regulations that favour specific region with its specific challenges.
Yet, during this election, the voters’ turn-up are suspected to be very low. Indonesia is the country that make the world glanced over for a second for their last presidential election. But even at that time, the numbers of voters only reached 69,58 percent, even lower than the election on 2009 with 75%.
I have to confess, I did not vote for the last presidential election. I did, however, vote for the parliamentary election just before that, and when I know for sure who the candidates are, I decided not to vote for the presidential one.
Perhaps, this low numbers shows some sort of constructive vote of no confidence, or perhaps it just shows that democracy is not the right system for Indonesia.
At the very least, we may not be ready.
I regretted not coming to the election booth last year. Partly because I had to work that day, but mostly because I missed my chance to intentionally cast an invalid vote. Because that way I can say to myself that I care about the election enough to come, but the candidates are shit, so I’m going to not make my vote counts.
Thing is, I was still immature last year, and even now. I’m pretty sure in few years, I will kick myself for not voting one or the other.
The problem, from my point of view and experience, is that I did not know how the system works. All I heard was this candidate is this way and that candidate is that way. I have no understanding of the governmental system, I have no understanding of the multi-party system, I have no understanding of the coalition goal, and I have no understanding of the consequences for not voting.
All I know was that if enough people do not vote, the election could be cancelled until we have a good enough candidate.
It is this lack of understanding and immature emotion that drove me into not voting. And I am quite proud of myself at that time. It’s not like I’m a dummy dumb dumb who doesn’t have any adequate education or live far far away in Bekasi. Yet, I still have that problem.
All it shows is that an election in a democratic system requires a community that are aware of its own system, ability and inability. It requires a certain level of knowledge and a certain amount of information, Information and mentality that are shaped not instantly but over a certain period of time in a certain contextual situation (let’s call it school or something).
The Indonesian Election Commission blame the problem on lack of socialisation, but living in 2015, that is just either a bullshit or a stupid call. I mean with all buzz on the news, the Internet and your office giving you a day off and all, people will at least think that something important is going on right?
Democracy is a privilege, not just a system, and we should protect it somehow. and we can only do that by caring about it even if it’s just a little bit. Because if we only desire democracy as only a system to live with, then it will only exist as a camouflage for corruption and oligopoly.