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why abstaining is the worst choice


In the days of my crazy youth, like many others, I had been convinced by Sartre not to vote and I am not ready to forgive this great intelligence for having made us stupid. Today, I have an abstentionist friend and listening to him argue, I understood that on his own, he thinks he’s smarter than all the candidates put together. He said to me: “they all rotten”. I answer him: “Often when we talk about others, we talk about ourselves.” So he gets upset and I change the subject.

“A pluralist democracy and free elections”

To convince him to go and vote, I tell him that in 1956 the Hungarians revolted against the communist dictatorship. They were crushed by Russian tanks. What did they want? A pluralist democracy and free elections. In 1968, the Czechoslovaks rose up against the communist dictatorship and they were crushed by Soviet tanks. What did they want? A pluralist democracy and free elections.

In June 1989, the Chinese Communist Party murdered and relentlessly suppressed the youth gathered in Tiananmen Square. What did these demonstrators want? A pluralist democracy and free elections. Between 1939 and 1945, approximately 60 million people died in war. It was the price to pay to defeat Nazism and to restore pluralist democracies and free elections.

Today, when we watch images of Ukraine on TV, we see live Russian troops trying to exterminate a population that is fighting to defend a democratic, pluralist regime and free elections.

And what is happening in France on the eve of the first round of the free, democratic and pluralistic presidential election? It happens that opinion studies warn us that abstention in the first round could rise between 25% and 30% and that it will perhaps be even more in the second round. So I am having a nightmare. I imagine myself stumbling through Hungarian, Czechoslovakian, Chinese, Ukrainian cemeteries, telling myself that we are going from freedom guiding the people to indifference guiding the spoiled children.

“Voting is the altruistic gesture that costs the least and brings in the most”

Some tell us: “I don’t see anyone to represent me.” Maybe, but we just forgot that voting is the altruistic gesture that costs the least and brings in the most. We don’t just vote for ourselves, we vote for others. And the pluralistic offer, whatever one may say, is a reflection of our country.

The candidates do not arrive from the planet Mars! They are what we are! And there’s something for everyone. We have two Trotskyists, one who is secular and the other who doesn’t care, as long as it bleeds. We have raw milk sovereignists, vegan ecologists, carnivorous communists, Islamo-compatible rebels, a socialist convinced that the presidential election is the meeting of a woman with a bicycle path, a nuclear right, a European center, two extreme right at the raz of the nostrils.

But what more do we need? A messiah who walks on water? We always vote by default for something impure and imperfect. And that’s what’s great. Because purity is death. Are we perfect? No. Do we want to become perfect beings? Of course not. We want to live with the right to make mistakes and the right to happiness.

You have to vote for people like us, with their faults, their qualities, their weaknesses. In politics, the messiahs are called Hitler or Stalin. The elected representatives of democracy are only called Mario Draghi, Olaf Schulz or Ignazio Cassis, this one no one knows and yet he is the President of the Swiss Confederation where peace has reigned for two centuries. Every evening, when images from Ukraine arrive on our TV screens, we zap on Gulli so that our children don’t see it. If we thought for five minutes instead of believing ourselves smarter than the others, next Sunday, we would rush to the polling station so that our children do not experience this.

Fr2En Gb8

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