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An argument against abstentionism

March 27th, 2014

A liberal commentator famous for his disrespectful remarks about politicians on all sides warns against the temptation to proudly boycott the coming Parliamentary election. He himself is not fond of any of the contenders, he says, but will be able to make his choice, nonetheless.On HVG online, Árpád W. Tóta tries to convince disillusioned voters of the importance of their ballot. While he respects the usual argument, that neither the government nor the opposition seem attractive (and his choice of words is much spicier in the original), he reminds his readers that one always has to choose the lesser evil in everyday life as well. “Whether it is about sausages, household appliances, TV programmes or cars.” When buying a car, we reckon with its imperfections, we know it is not the best possible model, but “we don’t want to marry it, we just want to drive it”. The only product we expect to be perfect is a political party, Tóta continues. So it is little wonder that we cannot find the right one. “Millions remain single, year after year” as a result. There are, however many people, more than a million, who do love their choice. They believe that politics means “marches, hatred, narrow-mindedness and paranoia”. And if those who are not in love with any of the politicians on sale stay away from the elections, it is the fanatics who will decide, Tóta warns. He suggests that the sceptics cast their votes, then go back to their everyday lives without having to agree on everything with those whom they have elected. And vote them out of office next time, if they don’t perform.

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