Opinion & Commentary, Politics & Current Affairs

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Fierce Battle in Dutch Politics Continues.

Do people still believe the political system in there country?
Antonius "Ton" Bakker, born May 23, 1961, in the Netherlands, is a writer, speaker, and coach/trainer. With a passion for personal development, he has inspired audiences worldwide.
Antonius Bakker

Politics often feels out of reach for voters, raising questions about real influence. Coalition politics can dilute party promises, and media, especially social media, complicates informed decision-making. Despite these challenges, voting remains crucial to ensure diverse voices are heard and represented, offering hope that desired changes will eventually be realized in a democratic system.

Picture: Rollingstone UK

Will My Desired Changes Come About?

First and foremost, I hope you live in a free and democratic country where you, as a resident, can influence government policy. But how much influence can you have in such a democracy? Indeed, you can go to the polls several times a year on various topics. These meetings are often announced with great fanfare on television and radio, and newspapers are full of them. Parties shout slogans they believe will impress us as voters. Depending on their position on the political spectrum, they highlight issues they think will garner support.

Is the Message Reaching Me the Right Way?

Political messages that were spread by word of mouth in the past now reach us through diverse media. A notable example is the American elections in which Barack Obama participated. For the first time, social media was used extensively, giving Obama a significant advantage. He felt closer to the people, and many more received his message with minimal effort. Just before the election deadline, "last call" messages were sent to ensure no one forgot to vote.

Is Politics Still Worth It?

From my previous stories about human influence, you know how our subconscious affects our choices for products or services. This process also applies to politics. During election campaigns, "key words" that influence our perception are used extensively. We are manipulated wholeheartedly. Why? Every political party wants to be the biggest, or at least big enough to govern. They hope their message reaches as many people as possible, making us think it’s meant just for us, promising benefits in one way or another.

Does Politics Give Us the Power We Aspire To?

Too few people spend enough time studying the political programs of various parties. Many don’t have the time due to their busy lives and would rather do something fun. So, they often rely on the "political truths" they hear from others. When the message is repeated ten times, it seems more credible. Political parties aim to be the biggest but almost always have to form a coalition after elections. During coalition formation, what happens to the messages shouted before and during elections? Can parties live up to their promises under pressure from coalition partners? Where is their promise to the electorate?

Will Your Utmost Effort Still Be Rewarded?

Before elections, you listen to all the manifestos. You view, listen to, and read them across various media. You know exactly which party you support! You set aside time to vote, maybe taking time off work and arranging a babysitter. You stand in the voting booth and make your choice. Then, you follow the election results. Your party gets the votes needed to negotiate for a new cabinet. They have a say, and a political agreement is reached on the "broad outlines." Unfortunately, this agreement doesn’t mention the points that motivated your vote. Despite your efforts, you feel deceived. But then you think, "In four years, I can vote again, and it will work out better." Many believe democracy has triumphed again, but have you truly been represented?

The Role of Media in Modern Politics

In today’s world, the media, especially social media, plays a crucial role in shaping political opinions and outcomes. The Obama campaign's success in leveraging social media highlights how political messages can reach a vast audience quickly and effectively. This method allows politicians to engage directly with voters, bypassing traditional media filters. However, it also raises concerns about the accuracy and integrity of the information being disseminated. The rise of "fake news" and misinformation can mislead voters, making it more challenging to make informed decisions.

The Importance of Being an Informed Voter

Given the complexity of modern politics, it is more important than ever to be an informed voter. This means not only listening to the slogans and promises during election campaigns but also critically evaluating the political programs of various parties. It involves understanding the nuances of policy proposals and the potential impact they could have on your life and society at large. While this requires time and effort, it is crucial for ensuring that your vote truly reflects your values and interests.

Conclusion

In a democratic system, the influence of individual voters on policy can feel minimal, especially when coalition politics dilute party promises. The widespread use of media, including social media, has transformed political campaigning, bringing messages directly to voters but also raising questions about manipulation and the true efficacy of voting. While it may seem discouraging when the issues you care about aren’t prioritized, the act of voting remains a crucial part of democratic participation. It ensures that the diverse voices and concerns of the population are at least part of the conversation, even if not always the dominant part. Despite the imperfections, participating in elections is a way to hold on to the hope that, eventually, your desired changes will come about.

Antonius "Ton" Bakker, born May 23, 1961, in the Netherlands, is a writer, speaker, and coach/trainer. With a passion for personal development, he has inspired audiences worldwide.

Antonius Bakker

Antonius "Ton" Bakker, born May 23, 1961, in the Netherlands, is a writer, speaker, and coach/trainer. With a passion for personal development, he has inspired audiences worldwide.
View all posts by Antonius Bakker

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