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We make quite a gallant pair behind the battle lines of sharply dissenting opinions, me and my PC. Whenever I am consumed with passion over a nagging subject, the keyboard usually becomes a blazing machine gun. Surely, you have watched machine guns at work in the movies: Ratat…ratatat…ratatatatat…

Today is eerily different: I am sitting behind the darned machine, feeling inexplicably very miserable: The keyboard can’t fire a single shot!

Maybe it is because this is an election year, with voting day not exactly a millennium away, and communicators, politicians {and why not, pastors too} need to be careful what they say. One anti-bushfire campaign poster portrays Smokey the Bear as a children’s hero and an accompanying campaign message reminds children that “Smokey’s friends don’t play with matches.”

Maybe, all I should do is just sit down and grumble, which is far safer than playing with matches. For those of us perpetually trapped in the world of cynicism, grumbling is the spice of life anyway. That is why I am always complaining even when there is absolutely nothing whatsoever to complain about. 

I grumble when it rains and grumble when it shines. I grumble about the excessive warmth when it is hot and complain bitterly when it is cold. Oh yes, me, I love to grumble all the time.

In politically hyper-sensitive times like these, grumbling from cynics helps to  keep the big boys in the power house and their foes from getting so worked up over power, as to jump over the edge of common sense, peace and security, taking the twenty-five million of us along with them! 

It makes me angry and I am wondering whether it would not be the proper thing to walk into a polling booth on November 7, stuff the ballot papers into my pocket and walk out again grumbling about the many unanswered questions about democracy.

I have come to the very abrupt conclusion after monitoring elections across the globe, that a presidential election is not necessarily won by the best candidate in terms of personal integrity and national leadership qualities.

Except where there is an overwhelming national desire for political change, it is often the candidate who wages the most powerful campaign who gets to win: Human beings tend to gravitate toward a contender who somehow, attracts the greatest attention!

I don’t know if this has something to do with some unwritten law of physics or plain old psychology of the masses, but the implications for democracy has left me staring at the ceiling. 

In our part of the world, the level of voter awareness about the broader issues of democracy presents the same challenges and raises the same worrying questions. Come along and let us sneak incognito into a polling booth with the average voter and see what happens:

We are in the booth with the voter now, see? Like every voter, he is familiar with the face of the presidential candidate he wants to vote for. He looks at the ballot paper for the parliamentary election and realizes that he has never met any of them and would not be able to make any of them out from Adam in the street.

So what does he do? He simply looks for the symbol of the party whose presidential candidate he voted for, and makes a thumbprint beside the photo of the parliamentary candidate which appears beside the symbol.

Agbenaa!! Civic duty completed but the candidate the man voted for may be the very least qualified among the candidates, to represent him in parliament!