You’ve heard of the ‘cloud-computing’ trend? Well, I think we’ve been in the clouds for a long time and in many ways. One of those ways is what I’ll call ‘cloud-voting’ where we give away our rights based on thin-air, a timeless tradition. Speaking of thin-air, I’m quite glad I’m not a TV person, much less one who lives in Brazil. It seems like a fair number of channels have dedicated time slots for political messages from those wanting to stay in office or be elected to office. It’s mind-numbing to sit there and hear promise after promise because after two or three, they all blend together. When any particular candidate comes on, there’s a lot visually to take into account, too. What’s their name? Who do they support? What party do they belong to? What promises are they making? What’s their voting number? Then, a second later, someone else is telling you the same thing and demanding the same amount of attention to all those details.
On one hand, I get it. TV is a popular means of relaying information to the public in Brazil. There’s a solution here for those that want it. Turn off the TV. On the other hand, voting in Brazil is mandatory for every citizen, which I find completely ridiculous. If we give away our personal power as a citizen to a politician, we are then made responsible for what that politician does in our name. If politicians are voted on due to the ‘strength’ of their promises, that’s the same as trading an act (voting) for a promise, which is something business people know is a bad formula for success. Voting is a civic right, not a civic duty. When dealing with compulsory voting legislation, we run into a few different types of voters because some may not care about politics (even though they may be well-informed) and others may not know anything yet they vote because it’s mandatory. Also, there’s the popular idea of the Brazilian politician who gives the town left shoes with the promise to provide the right shoe upon being elected. Compulsory voting is nothing new in Brazil, it has been in effect in some form since 1934 and made mandatory for all as of 1988 (except illiterates, youth between 16 and 17 and elderly over 70).
No matter the age of the voter, people in power do not benefit from an educated populace. They operate on the idea that enough believers (in their concoction of promises) will vote for them and this is the oldest trick in the book. They make us believe that someone in power can simultaneously be ‘for the people’, while protecting their own interests and that of their political party. On top of this sandwich of promises stuffed with lies, we are made by the media to believe we know something about the person behind the mask. One example is when Obama was elected (it doesn’t have to be him, take your pick of any politician), people felt like they knew him and what kind of guy he is. Let’s be real, though, how well can we know someone we’ve never spent time with personally? It is not possible. So how can we then be shocked by unfulfilled promises when historically only deviants have been in positions of power? It is because we love and have been made to love the emotive and going against a powerful image or idea is the same as going against how someone feels. That sandwich of promises goes really well with a tall glass of Kool-aid.
This kind of topic can go on and on. We can easily touch upon other related subjects and talk about, for instance, how a thief can take our money and that is wrong while a police officer can fine us for something silly and that is right or okay. It is the same thing. The law is rarely about right and wrong and more about what lawmakers say is legal and illegal. We have no alternative so we accept the status quo. Just like computers, we are slowly but surely updated with new terms of service that affect our behavior. This is when freedoms are curtailed and more actions are deemed illegal. While I don’t advocate for the dissolution of the police, I feel it important to recognize it as a service we use and not an authority we must obey. When services become authorities, we no longer live under the same type of political system and this should concern us all.
“Man was born free; and everywhere is in chains”