Wednesday, November 12, 2008

democracy - must it apply to everyone?

This evening I went to a public participation hearing for a new City by-law. In theory I love the democratic concept of being allowed a forum in which to express one's opinion and comment on City policy and legislation.
I just wish we could curtail who exactly gets to exercise this democratic right. Some animals may not be more equal than others, but some people definitely are more full of shit!

The hearing was in the Civic Centre, a monstrous monolith of mighty eyesore-ness and impracticality in the city. During office hours it's inhospitable enough with no parking, no signage and absolutely no visual appeal, but on an unseasonably cold and stormy evening it's gloomy, deserted and filled with eerie noises from the howling wind. Like the complaints of all the frustrated tax-payers and the exhausted humdrum of the underpaid city workers take voice after everyone has left, and moan and sigh around the deserted halls.

That said, the hearing was well run, and the by-law we were examining very relevant to the city, and progressive and necessary for Cape Town as an internationally acclaimed destination for events and tourism, especially in the lead-up to 2010.

However, a contingent of the participants were from the dreaded Ratepayer's Associations and Civic Organisations and other community bodies which I'm afraid, in my experience, do very little but moan and complain. And as another Concerned Citizen used the opportunity to spout forth his incredibly boring personal campaign against Anyone, Anywhere, Ever Having a Good Time Ever, the only way I could stop myself from ramming my pen into my eyeball was to doodle this list:
mother grundy

His barely-veiled prejudice against the Other was just frightening, his fear of his suburb being over-run by "these people" (who? soccer hooligans? cheerleaders? candy-floss toting Nigerians?), his whiny self-righteous sanctimonious nasal tone, his pursed lips sense of entitlement - urgghhhhhh! I mean who, who, thinks it's still okay (or even relevant) to say, in public, things like "15 years ago this would never have happened..."??
Dude, 15 years ago we wouldn't have been sitting in this room with black people! WAKE UP YOU WANKER!

Or please, please, immigrate to somewhere small and cold and very, very dull.


julochka said...

i could recommend denmark--it's small, cold and a bit dull. and there are hardly any black people ha! :-)

great post, by the way! i love a good rant. your doodle list really made me laugh and took me back to the parents' meeting i attended a couple of months ago.

Extranjera said...

Please move to Johannesburg or let us move into your garden shed (If you have one, we can also buy a tent and just camp out).
You are the kind of South African I want to associate with as opposed to the people you just described, and unfortunately I am forced to live in very close proximity of.
I know its been eons since you wrote this, but... I feel you sistah!

Unknown said...

You tell them, girl! I find it unbelivable how some people are so afraid of 'the unknown" and have such small minds! Grrh!