Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Weekly Sneak: Yeah, Alright.

I won't lie folks, this week I was thoroughly uninspired. There's just times when the news looks like more of the same and a girl has said everything she intends to say anyways. Case of the 'blahs,' you know. But since I like to play catch-me-if-you-can with my weekly EA deadline, I woke up this morning to a gift of a story. CCM has young-ified their upper ranks. Yay.

"Speaking of injecting more youth into the political process, CCM has just pulled a semi-expected move in the direction of revamping its upper ranks. There is something to be said about respecting term limits: somehow their impeding retirement from the pinnacle of Tanzanian political life makes our incumbent Presidents find the courage and determination they might have lost during the course of their reign. Anything is possible when you know the end is nigh. In the case of the fourth administration, I think it is worth commending this gesture of good will. The generational turn was bound to happen soon enough, and with this move much of the contentiousness of the process has been sidestepped."

So listen, I gotta come clean on this: never will I ever, ever-ever, get a CCM card. That said, I ain't intending to support the opposition neither for anything other than that which they are useful for. It varies. I like different parties for different things, if you know what I'm saying here. At the end of the (voting) day, until someone provides a viable alternative to CCM I intend to keep splitting my ballot like the reasonable Tanzanian that I am. Just thought I would pre-empt the rabid mob that thinks any comment on the GOP that lacks vitriol is a direct endorsement. Have an okay day, yeah?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Weekly Sneak: A Little Provocation

I was reading this HuffPo story about this kid who is already politically articulate at the age of 12, and I thought that was pretty fantastic. Of course he's probably an exception, there's not many 12 year olds I know who are into politics but he did give me an idea. What if?
"What would happen if we lowered the voting age dramatically to, say, maybe 14? Or even 12? By that time most children have experienced some primary school, and if surviving school isn't an political education then nothing is. This suggestion probably sounds horrifying to most readers, but there might be something to it. Children are generally much better behaved than adults are, being used to the bottom rung of the social ladder. Their sense of fair play hasn't had much time to be corrupted by the world. They would infuse any democracy with some much-needed idealistic energy."
 I am only half doing this to mess with our notions of age-based hierarchy. I know quite a lot of greyheads (not all, but some) are going to clack their dentures together and say that I have finally lost it, poor child. But if we can make soldiers out of children, and we do so far too often on this continent, then why not make them voters? It isn't beyond the capacity of 12-14 year olds to choose between political candidates, folks that age have opinions. Young people are intensely perceptive and hardly moved by the same concerns that allow us older folks to be corrupted so easily. 

I was also inspired somewhat by my older nieces. The eldest one couldn't vote in the last election, but I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her trenchant views on the various candidates and she gave me invaluable intel about her constituency. The others are far too young as of yet, but judging by the level of inquiry they tend to subject me to I can't help but believe they would do a better job of grilling candidates than most journalists.

Besides which, its a suggestion that's putting an extreme spin on 'democracy'. I don't really know why we shouldn't allow young citizens to participate in elections especially as they are the most vulnerable group and suffer most from failures in the healthcare system, in the education system of which they are the primary users, etc. For the people, by the people, even if they're shorties.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Free Speech Not-So-Special

Yes! Seven people participated directly in the poll thingy whatever invitation to participate I threw out into the e-pond a couple of weeks ago. I think that's... oh, wait, it's not a record for the blog. Between us, may I confess that I am proud of how dependably poorly these Mikocheni Report Polls perform? It's like a perverse love letter from the silent readership. Bless y'all.

So, the results: three of you think there might be something to some decent policing of the online dialogue. Two of you think it's a horrendous idea to even bring up and another two of you are dedicated fans of the domesticated bird. Finally, and most importantly, nobody voted for actual regulation of free speech online, not even for fun to bait this cranky liberal. Either that means you guys all rock, or it means the blog is only read by seven folk who have a liberal bent- both of which options spell happiness with a capital Freedom.

Erm... oh yeah, the caveats and other stuff. The poll on the right there is not statistically representative of anything at all except perhaps an abiding love for chicken. Live long and prosper. Also: special smushy kisses of gratitude to the folks who sent healing vibes my way. Y'all the reason why I occasionally get cool free stuff thrown in my direction. More about that next post, neh? Mwah.

A little birdie told me...

Follow MikocheniReport on Twitter