Let’s Play the Shame Game

For those of you who don’t follow politics, the Labour party won by a 35k+ landslide last Saturday. If you’re like me, you took the result with a pinch of salt, and were too focused on studying for an imminent Criminal Law exam the following Monday (the memes were great, though).

Now, I’m not here to discuss the outcome. I’m actually going to take a different approach to the norm and criticise behaviour.  Here are five quotes I’ve seen and heard following the announcement of the election result.

 

 

1. “Today, I’m ashamed to be Maltese” 

This is aimed at those who have solemnly sworn that they are “ashamed to be Maltese” and the high-and-mighty elitists who continue to think that a vote towards a particular party was the morally justifiable thing to do. (I think the statistics, at this point beg to differ on that.) Notwithstanding, I don’t care about your political views or affiliations, as everyone has a right to believe what they want.

This symptom has unfortunately been prevalent in other instances – remember the Hunting referendum? There seems to be a major flaw in my generation or anyone generally holding a different belief to that which was voted in – as soon as things start to go opposite the way we want them to, irrespective of what the majority wants, we throw a tantrum.

There is also no reason one should be ashamed to be Maltese. Refer to my next point.

 

2. “Democracy doesn’t work”

May I remind everyone that Malta is not a dictatorial state? (Refer to points 4 & 5).

We enjoy equal grounds of democracy and a singular vote each – a vote which doesn’t discriminate. Democracy doesn’t discriminate. It’s not morally right to isolate those less fortunate in society because of their sex, race, orientation and social class. If you think it is, well, again – up to you – each to his own.

One of the funniest things I’ve heard so far is comments like “the uneducated shouldn’t vote”. This, in my opinion, is blatant disrespect and sheer snobbery – but I’ll get to that soon. If this were to be the case, why not revert to the system of government we had in place in the 1920s? That worked out well. Heard about North Korea? I’d love for Malta to have their impeccable system of governance.

 

 

 3. “The un-educated shouldn’t vote” 

I’ll agree to disagree.

Although the government tries to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to education, socio-economic dynamics are often a setback. It is not always easy to juggle school and life at home. There are people who very well manage, and are well-adjusted financially, and then there are people who simply cannot juggle school and life. I used to believe that refusal to educate yourself, despite all these opportunities at hand, was sheer stubbornness. After all, we have benefits, don’t we?

It was only until a friend of mine sat me down and told me how poverty and family situation can have a grave and insoluble impact – imagine a twenty-something man working as a manager in a fast food industry, barely making ends-meet, raising his two siblings on his own alongside his dying grandmother. You might tell me that he can take up a course at MCAST or university to get a better job opportunity – but he barely has any O levels. Nevertheless, ask yourself this; can his grandmother really raise two young children on her own, given her age? You now might argue that this is an exception to the rule or a exception borne entirely out of fiction. But this is a true story – as true as the fact that cases like this are often invisible to society. Benefits are often not enough to sustain an entire family.

The harsh truth is this – not everyone, socially, is born an equal or, even, has the opportunity to become an equal; and this is one of the fundamental reason democracy exists.

The relevance this story has to my argument is this; education should not be the standard on which a single democratic vote is judged upon. It is the ability to vote which gives each the opportunity to become an equal in society.

 

 

4. “You just voted corruption in – kemm intom injoranti!”

The public has spoken. Whether you agree with the outcome or not, is, again, up to you. You might argue that “what is popular isn’t always right”, but there is nothing much we can do apart from hope that the newly elected government will provide for its people and not for itself. It’s easier to bash the majority for going against the minority’s wants, than adapting and working to make conditions favourable to both parties.

Let’s not forget that Malta has an ageing population.  Although our elders might vote towards something that would not be beneficial for us, who are undeniably the future of the country, we still have to respect the majority’s decision either way. This being said, older generations remember a different Malta, and perceive the political parties different to us – personally, I prefer objectivity to subjectivity – but memory is often harsher on the brain than reason.

 

 

5. “This is such a dictatorship” 

Shall I remind everyone that the PL has only been in government for 4 years? There’s another 5-year-term (more or less, but typically less) to go, sure, but before this, we enjoyed twenty-five years under one party (excluding Sant’s short reign from 1996 to 1998). PL’s re-election should be the least of our worries at this point. Running a campaign pretty much solely on unsolved allegations and negativity was not ‘modern’ and or the least bit ‘innovative’.

I’m sure if politics, in general, distances itself from negative-campainging and stereotypes, and actually focuses on working on tangible proposals aimed towards all sectors of our little society, Malta would enjoy a diversification of political ideologies from time to time. We wouldn’t feel the need to divide ourselves under terms such as “Nazzjonalisti” or “Laburisti” – AND exercise bigotry over one another. We wouldn’t have a systematic similar to that of a ‘reign’.

For this to happen, we must abandon all the unfavourable aspects that old traditions bring with them, and move forward towards modernisation. Dare I hope that Malta will no longer enjoy innovations 10 years after their creation or be so economically, financially and socially behind in comparison to first-world countries?

With all this being said, let’s keep in mind that the Maltese will complain about anything or anyone (use this rant as proof).

Emma Sammut

Emma Sammut

Secretary General at The Yuppie Malta
My friends describe me as “ambitious”, “relaxed yet dedicated”, “salty” and “borderline-aggressive”. I’m often susceptible to coffee-induced musings at the height of night. And as a law student, I need the caffeine. My know-how lies within International political dynamics, especially those within the European Union.
Emma Sammut

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