Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Democracy and Ageism

The students are discontented with the election result. Most of the people who voted for communism are old people, but old people are dying and there are more young people voting now than before. So the result is definitely not true. It's not logical.

The story behind this comment can be found here. In a nutshell, the comment was made by a student in the Eastern European country of Moldova, where there is growing discontent among the youth against the results of elections. Sympathetic or not to the protesters, it is quite interesting to take a closer look at this argument:

  • Democracy: Exactly what is a democracy? Who should have a right to vote, and what happens in cases when there's a tie? The comment above is interesting in undermining the idea of democracy as the rule of the 'many' - when 'many' is no longer one group, but several, what constructs the difference between the voting groups and what legitimizes the rule of one over the others?

  • Ageism: just because a voter is older, so s/he may die soon, does this make hir less legitimate to vote? It is interesting how this comment frames the democratic argument within a discriminative discourse against age: those voters who voted for this party are old enough to die soon, but the country belongs to young people, and they would have voted for someone else. I am doubtful that indeed young people have (or would) all voted for one party. But it is interesting how age difference is framed here as an impediment to the realization of the democratic dream.

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