One of the things I find very symbolic of my people can be found often on multiple-choice surveys. In them, we usually give a middle-ground choice like “neither” or “undecided.” It is quite surprising to me that this choice exists on questionnaires that ask for people’s opinions, because to me, it sounds more like “cannot choose” or “do not care.”
Now, to be fair, psychology studies say that this choice for ambivalence is not always bad, for it can be used to reveal exactly how people “cannot choose” or “do not care” on certain subjects. But when the population in question is generally timid to voice their feelings and thoughts, would this choice not be a bail-out, giving them the wrong impression that they do not have to speak up and choose a stance to take?
Maybe I think this way because I grew up in Western society that encourages you to have your own opinions and promotes being able to make your own choices based on them.
So, maybe I have a tough time understanding how my people tend to value ambiguity, preferring to build consensus and make choices as a group.
Today is Constitution Day in my country of origin. There have been talks for some time now on whether or not the Constitution has become outdated and requires revisions. The revision procedure will involve a referendum, meaning we will all have to make a choice of our own. But it worries me that, even when that time comes, a noticeable portion of my people will remain ambivalent and decide not to cast a vote.
What concerns me more is that we now have a new group of younger minds with the right to vote but without the decision-making skills necessary to make choices on difficult subjects in a field called politics which is unfamiliar to them. I fear that if they are not taught to form opinions of their own, they will find no need to make choices and thus, will not exercise their right to vote. They will become people who “cannot choose” and therefore “do not care.”
Maybe I am being too harsh on my people… I don’t know, really. But I think that, opening up the forum to more people to express themselves freely will only have an impact if we have more people who’s got something to say. So I gotta say, what have we got to say about our effectiveness in bringing up our younger minds so that they’ve got something to say?
I think today is a good day for my people to think about this question. And I hope everyone will have something to say – we should all be able to choose a stance to take and care enough about this issue to figure out what we can and must do to raise our young minds to have things to say and willing to voice them when asked.