Thu Dec 08 16:19:39 SAST 2016

I for one am glad to see DAgang go bang

Bruce Gorton | 2014-02-04 12:29:28.0
Get a room.
Image by: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lulama Zenzile

I feel a certain amount of relief at Helen Zille and Mamphele Ramphele’s political break-up.

The dark cloud of Goldfields hangs over Ramphele like Witbank smog, and the DA has always struck me as voting against myself, so it isn’t because the alliance put me off.

I wasn’t on to begin with.

But still I feel relieved – in part because I don’t believe in the central idea that the DA represents, the idea I have heard people express to me repeatedly when I say I am voting for a third party.

The idea of a singular focused opposition party which you must vote for despite not liking their policies because the ruling party is corrupt and everybody else is too small to matter.

We live in a representative democracy – despite the fact that our smaller parties may never capture a majority, and splitting the vote may seem like a bad idea, I think in real terms it is an even worse idea to discourage people from voting at all.

And that is what happens when you tell people that they're throwing away their votes.

And I don’t ultimately want two party politics in this country – because I follow American politics. What I have noticed there is the one party is full of half-mad conservatives with a definite screw the poor mentality – and the other goes the whole hog on the concept.

American voters don’t vote for their candidate, they vote against the one they believe is the craziest and most evil.

That is not something I want here – I don’t want hold-your-nose politics, I want a political situation where you can vote for what you want, not against what you don't want.

Every vote in these upcoming elections counts. Sure you might not get the president you want, but you may end up getting enough votes together to have a voice you want in parliament.

And that is not a waste of time – parliament is where the power lies.

If the ANC wants to change our constitution, the battle will be in parliament, where a variety of voices can arise in opposition.

And I think it is better if those voices are varied in their outlook.

What a unified opposition may gain in strength, I think it loses in flexibility.

One of the slogans that you see a lot in New Atheist circles is the idea of "Let a thousand flowers bloom" - the idea that unity is nice, but in the end variety is strength.

And this has had an effect in the first world - the number of atheists is growing despite leftwing disdain, rightwing hatred and how relatively disorganised atheists are.

Why? Because variety really is strength. If religious groups provide solid facades, atheist arguments end up hitting them like wind or water, finding the gaps and cracking them open.

That is something I think we can apply to politics - abandoning this idea of a singular official opposition, and embracing the power of many different voices.

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