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Voting: An opinion based on Catholic Social Teaching (see Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, sections 189-91)
Categories: Why bother?

by Tim Duffy, Research and Development, Justice & Peace Scotland

The prevailing mood of distrust of politicians is fairly high these days. And where people feel marginalised – economically, socially and culturally, there is little incentive to get involved. There is a correlation between deprivation and non voting. Yet for all its restrictions, voting is the only real chance we are allowed to express an opinion.

If democracy is not participative, it is weakened. Of course taking part is only one aspect of democratic participation. A person’s voting choice should be informed; and not just by self interest. To the best of our ability, we should be voting for the common good of our society above any sectional or partisan interest.

We approach an election somewhere between ‘what’s in it for me’ and the despair of cynical rejection. People power is real and it may come as a surprise to find how many people share our concerns and our responses to the challenges society brings. It affirms our own dignity and that of others. It gives a sense that there is a common good worth striving for, an idea which has a long Scottish history. And it is, in however small a way empowering.

Churchill said that ‘democ­racy is the worst form of Gov­ern­ment except for all those other forms that have been tried’. On the other hand, if we don’t vote, we can’t complain about what is done in our name.

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