We live in interesting times, continuously witnessing historical decisions taken by popular vote. A country leaving the EU, an unconventional U.S. president, and a radical constitutional reform in Turkey are only some of the decisions that will influence the path of our societies for decades to come.
What really strike me is how – when called to vote on these historical decisions – people are almost equally split, and the final say seems to depend on a small, often minimal margin. Yesterday, the Turkish referendum was approved by 51.4%. The Trump presidency was won due to sometimes only a thousand votes in key states, out of a total of 130 million voters. The plebiscite on the FARC peace agreement in Columbia was rejected by a 0.4% rift. It seems like a tiny majority is shifting the world tide.
In my opinion, this tiny majority – which I refer to as “the 1%” – is pushing the world in a dangerous direction: a world of authoritarian leaders, emotionally and religiously driven policies, and surging military tensions. That 1% seems to be able to steer all of us toward a world of closed borders, closed minds, and closed hearts.
However, we are not powerless. I believe that it is time for us – the People who share the conviction that democracy, solidarity, and equality must be upheld no matter what – to act. We cannot delay any further, we cannot hope that someone else will do the job and lead us in the next electoral confrontation. We have to take up responsibility – this is our duty in a democracy.
All of us can help steer the world’s tide. We must convince our friends to go out and vote, bringing those poor turnout rates (58% in the US presidential election) to a record high, if necessary. We must engage in conversations with the other side in each matter, to bridge the gaps that are polarizing our society and to try to find a middle ground. We must become the voice of that silent majority that wishes for a better future, instead of hoping that “that guy will not really do what he promised”.
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