Community, Community Building, Community Development, Governance

Eeny-meeny-mino-mo, catch a leader by the toe…

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It’s election season in North America! Just like Thanksgiving, Canada went first, and soon the US will follow. These elections are being touted as being of particular importance; after watching the markets go up and down in the last couple of weeks, I have come to the brilliantly original conclusion that it’s because things aren’t going too well nowadays.

Ah, the superficial intelligence of a blogger faking her way into intellectual circles.

As we anxiously watch the economy wheeze its way through day after day, always expecting the worse and, unfortunately, getting it, some are filled with despair and others are bolstered into action. This is the context in which both North American countries are placing such importance on this year’s elections.

But although voting is a precious right denied to many for too long, the youth of North America seem to take it for granted. And so, special effort has been made to increase youth awareness and participation.

After being ignored for too long, I find it exciting that voting is becoming the cause célèbre of celebrities. For once, I’m happy I don’t have a reason to make fun of them (although I hope this doesn’t last too long, I do need *something* to amused me).

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, some of the younger celebrities in the United States have been taking a stance on voting. While in itself, casting a vote isn’t enough, it’s a great beginning for people to feel involved in the affairs of the country.

And it seems that the good old tool that is humour is leading the way. On the one hand, we have examples such as the fake commercial Jessica Alba and Hayden Pannetière did together about a new product called The Muzzler.

And a team of celebrities – young and less young – have gotten together to urge people not to vote. Yes, you read that right – they want them not to vote. It’s the second trick up their sleeve as celebrities are using reverse psychology – and I find it quite effective. The TV version is a lot shorter, but I couldn’t find it, so here is the long version.

If you are tickled by this video, you should really go on YouTube, find the various versions of the video posted above and read the comments from viewers. It’s quite interesting to see the range of reactions from people from all over the world. While some like the way the message is presented, others have taken it as a personal insult. The debate was getting so intense that some users have disabled the comment board.

Are these campaigns going to help? Are celebrities – most of whom seem to be content in lending their voice and giving money and don’t often engage themselves in systematic action against the problems afflicting society – really going to make a difference?

And the question begs to be asked… What kind of a society do we live in that it takes the voice of movie stars, TV stars and rock stars to make our youth vote? Shouldn’t the concept of civic participation be enough? How did we get to this point in the first place?

PS: Here is a lovely little Rock the Vote clip by Christina Aguilera.

First published on Sahar’s Blog on 19 October 2008.

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