5/22/2009

Election Shmection, Right?!



I didn't think the 1994 elections in South Africa, was a big deal. I was a teenager, my biggest concern was not getting beaten up or robbed by the local criminals; trying to finish my homework in the that 15 minute period in class before actual classes started and strangely
enough get my library books in on time, because those librarians at Grassy Park Library were fierce!

We had struggle activists talk to us, guys released from Pollsmoor and Robben Island.
Most were ex-teachers, who had this fiery teary passion that was more sad than incendiary. And it wasn't like anything mattered at all.
It was all some weird grown up thing. These activists led us in songs that meant so much to them and I remember thinking was, that I really didn't want to be there in the stinging rain/
razor sharp wind/blazing hot sun.

1999 rolled round, and my interest peaked a bit.
It was 5 years on, and the birth of a new apathy of a whole generation of kids
that didn't know anything pre-1994.
I always totally disinterested.
This new generation like my brother, were beyond caring.
Apartheid and the struggle for democracy and freedom was something that didn't ring true, it sounded like a made up story.
Something to be bored about and which ultimately paled in comparison to the latest episodes of Buffy, the new Nike or Adidas shoe, or the latest pregnancy at school.

I voted in that election, but it was a novelty, a passing fancy. A break from the problems of my reality.

2004 felt the same, which I suppose isn't an inherently bad thing. You can't fault me for consistency.

Now it's 2009, and the election has come and gone, and everything seems more complicated.
There is more at stake. There is more to worry about. There is more that needs to be fixed.
And it all culminates with and X on a piece of paper.
The jaded cynic in me seems much quieter now. Because maybe this (as they say in the movies) time it's personal.

Come 2013, perhaps it will mean something different. Or it may mean nothing.

But what get's me everytime in every election, is that little bit of trepidation; that fear that one day a newly elected official will wake up and think it's a really good day to close a library.
Permanently.

And no one will care...

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