We are so screwed: so many options at the polls, but none at all

Ideas

We are so screwed: so many options at the polls, but none at all

Hlaudi, Cyril, Julius, Mangosuthu, Patricia, Mmusi and Pieter. Fuck it. This year's election is hard

News editor


In the utterly brilliant “S-town”, producer and narrator Brian Reed talks about something he encountered in Woodstock, Alabama, while working on the seven-part murder-mystery podcast: the “fuck-it” attitude.
This, he narrates, is the idea that no matter what you do, life will be unfair to you and you’ll ultimately lose out in the end. So … fuck it, and do the thing anyway.
I don’t have that attitude. Far from it. I can’t just fuck it and make a decision. Making decisions is hard for me.
I could never be a professional cricketer. Not only am I average at best in every aspect of the game, have meh quality reflexes, below average eyesight, and am built more to be a fourth-team prop than a swashbuckling batsman, but I would be completely incapable of deciding on what to call at the coin toss – or even what to do should I win that toss.
Perhaps it’s because I have a fear of regretting the one I’ve chosen. Or, maybe, it’s because – and I think this is most likely – I worry if the option I didn’t choose was the one I should have. This is true for that cricket analogy and outside of it.
In true millennial style, I have FOMO, and this feeds into my decision-making flimsiness.
Why am I telling you this? Because I – and you – have a big decision to make later this year.
Come May (probably, although El Presidente Ramaphosa hasn’t yet announced the date), we’ll have to vote for the people we want to run our provinces and our country. And, according to the electoral commission, we’ll have at least 285 parties to choose from – possibly as many as 322, if all pending 37 applications to contest the polls are approved. Even the Dagga Party is an option, if they can raise the high cost (sorry, I had to) of R200,000 they need to register.
Damn. I can’t choose between heads and tails, and now I’ve got 300-plus choices. My head hurts.
And it’s not like the choice is obvious, is it?
The established players aren’t doing themselves any favours, the mid-size parties are a mess and the small dudes aren’t even worth a mention.
The ANC is a shell of its liberation self, the EFF has become increasingly racial in its radicalism, the DA has stumbled from one crisis to the next, and the FF+ isn’t even an option, really, unless you’re very right-wing and, um, a white Afrikaner (you probably also refer to apartheid as the “good old days”, but that’s beside the point).
I have no idea who’ll take over the IFP once founder-and-apparent-president-for-life Mangosuthu Buthelezi goes, the UDM is vocal but won’t make a real difference, COPE is one man and a fax machine (a broken one at that), the AIC only gets parliament seats because people vote for it thinking it’s the ANC, and Patricia de Lille’s GOOD party seems a bad idea born out of bad blood. Hlaudi “Talks-About-Hlaudi-In-The-Third-Person” Motsoeneng would, without doubt, implement some 80:20 rule that would be utterly disastrous, and Mzwanele Manyi’s going to make no bank from his ATM party.
SA, we’ve got so many options, but none at the same time. May is going to be hard.
Maybe we should do the Woodstock, Alabama, thing. Fuck it. We’re probably screwed, anyway.

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