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Gobble Up Your Choices

Morgan McArthur for Straight Furrow, 25 November 99


In November I always think about turkeys.

It 's usually because of the American Thanksgiving holiday.

This year it's because of politicians.

By the time you cast your eyes on this column The Election will be alllll over.

To that I say Thank Gawd.

All the posturing and strutting and pecking and wattle-wagging that is campaigning gets tiresome. Some of it is entertaining (in a bizarre sort of way), but we've all had about enough by the time we cast our vote haven't we?

That's the process. And it's not much different where I came from.

It's important, though, that we can see past the process to the privilege. Like life, some elements of democracy are unpleasant and unfair. However, in both cases consider the alternative.

Democracy and freedom and choice are a big deal. The hot news from here at home (Helen vs. Jenny) quickly becomes lukewarm when you consider the peril and plight in places like East Timor and Kosovo. Roll the clock back ten years to Tianamen Square if you need another reminder of what we take for granted.

I hear you saying: "Yeah, but..."

I know, what we have to choose from may not be ideal and things move verrrry slowwwwwwly in the government. However, part of that is because we're all involved in the decision-making process on some level and we're far from being like-minded on certain issues. (Don't get me started on the imbalanced and misunderstood Genetically Modified discussion.) Sure it could all happen more quickly if everyone would only agree or if one person, a Mr. Richard Potato (Dick 'Tater, get it?) backed by a military was making the decisions. Thankfully, that's not our situation in Godzone.

So it ain't perfect. You're right. And it doesn't seem like our choice matters. Wrong. Our choice is our voice and it's worth expressing. Not just in the election but in life. Most of us are wired to avoid involvement. But getting closer to this thing that is democracy every day - making choices and using our voices - not only makes a difference for us and what we believe in but it

also makes New Zealand stronger.

What I'm on about is simply this: Having a choice and having a voice are gifts to be thankful for. And even though the holiday isn't recognised here, I'm still reminded of what's important at Thanksgiving time.

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