Monday, May 16, 2005

European Democracy

I have been a dutiful citizen all my life. I go to the polls at election time: for the city council, the provincial government, the European parliament. However little I am interested in politics in my heart of hearts, I appreciate the opportunity granted me to exercise my democratic rights.
So I go out, and vote for politicians whom I believe to be leaders. Leaders whom I can trust. Leaders who understand the intricacies of politics. Leaders who have an overview of what the issues are, and who are able to make decisions on the basis of their sound judgment.
I have been greatly disappointed in my trust. The politicians, for whom we have voted, do not want to take on the responsibilities with which we have entrusted them. Instead they are asking us to go to the polls and vote in favour or against the adoption of the European constitution.
I am a relatively intelligent woman. I follow the news in the press, and thus I am rather well informed. But the European constitution is completely beyond my scope. It is far too complicated a matter for me to understand. I would need weeks to study the background, the arguments, the draft itself, in order to be able to form a well-founded opinion on it. I am absolutely not equipped to make a decision on the question. Yet, I am asked to do so.
This is exactly why I exercise my right in the democracy I live in: I elect politicians whom I trust to make the decisions that are too difficult for me. I elect them to take care of matters that are beyond me. I elect them in order to sleep peacefully and know the world is in their capable hands.
But now they have confused me. They have basically told me with their referendum that they cannot be entrusted with the task of governing. That they are as incapable as I am. They cannot manage Europe on their own.
In addition it turns out that this election is not about the European Constitution at all. It is about faith of the citizens in the European Union. I am lured to the ballot box under false pretences!
O dear! All this is not very reassuring!

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