"The Daily Telegraph carries the results of a poll which suggests that more young people have voted in reality TV shows than are likely to vote in the next election.
The paper says fewer than 42% of first time voters think they will vote for a political party, yet 46% have already voted for contestants in shows like Big Brother and Pop Idol."
Source BBC News.
That is disgusting. But I think you could make an easy comparison to the US and Canada both.
I am meaning to write something about how our electoral system isn't working. It's not that voting doesn't work. It's just that our candidates all have somethings in common, with few exceptions: They are either businesspeople or they are lawyers. They are all living well above the median. There is something wrong with that picture. First off: I trust a businessperson less than I trust a lawyer, unquestionably. Second off: most of the time businesspeople and lawyers have about the least "hard life experience" in that they are rarely from impoverished backgrounds, single mothers, visible minorities, etc. Thirdly: most businesspeople and corporate lawyers (social lawyers are sometimes actually quite wonderful people) have vested interests. Bias doesn't disappear because it's not right on the surface. Friendships don't end just because So and So doesn't work directly for the company anymore... Businesspeople are trained to have one thing prioritized: the bottom line, at all costs.
I think that if we ever want real results in our government, we need to start electing educated people who have lived among the majority of people (ie. low income bracket). I think that we also need to stop electing businesspeople, especially. I think getting real results in elected government would stimulate the interest in actually participating in the electoral process. I think it would also begin to stimulate positive change within our society - we have to start deciding what's more important: the fullness of people's lives or the fullness of our "GNP".
Speaking of which, there was a interesting segment on CBC's national about Bhutan wanting to remain under an absolute monarchy rather than move towards a democracy. I won't make much discussion about this... I really don't know much about Bhutan at all, but the latter part of the video talks about the king promoting "GNH" (Gross National Happiness) rather than GNP (Gross National Product). Now, of course, issues are always more complex than that, and much more complex than shown within the video. But the idea of promoting the happiness of the people rather than the average wealth (which isn't a very good way of calculating how well people are faring within any given country. Here is a link to the video, if you're interested. It's only about four minutes long, and it's definitely worth discussion and attention. And of course, if (I reiterate the "if", I know nothing about Bhutan, and that little video was suspiciously happy-go-lucky) the majority of people are happy with traditionalism, why modernize? I ask that question, because, as a modern state, we are constantly finding that people aren't very happy - that things like depression are more frequent, etc. Of course, that's hard to tell, and possibly lost within "are more people depressed, or a more people being treated for depression?". But that's a whole other discussion that will have to wait until some other day.