Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Democracy is our privilege


This post will be a little off-topic to what I’m normally writing but I need to take this off my chest.

Yesterday my country of Poland was choosing a new president in standard country-wide elections. A little more than 55% of us (eligible to vote) went to the voting booths and we chose our president. It’s good that we chose one but it’s sad that only a little more than half of us went to vote. It’s very sad that half of my country is not ceasing the privilege of democracy. A privilege we fought so long for.

Democracy is our privilege

1. Democracy means we are in charge.

Democracy comes from greek demos “people” and cratos “power” - means simply the power of the people. Yet many people don’t understand the power they have. We choose our governments, we choose people that rule our countries and yet we refuse to go to actually make that choice.

We are in charge. We choose. If you don’t go to vote, you are not allowed to comment on the government of your country. You didn’t participate.

2. Democracy means we create choice or choose from what we have

Whenever there are elections I hear pseudo-itelectual arguments like: “I don’t like the choice” or “none of the parties/candidates represent me”. Well, again, it means you don’t understand the democracy. We have a power to create choice or to choose, so if you don’t like what’s being offered to you, start your own party, become a candidate yourself, change the world and inspire the masses.

If you can’t or don’t want to go into politics, tough luck, you need to choose from the menu that someone else created for you. Casting an invalid vote doesn’t count either.

3. Democracy is about respecting people who fought for it

We have a very tough and violent past. 100 years ago Poland wasn’t even on the maps of Europe after being re-parted between Russians, Germans and Austrians. Then we had 1st World War, then 2nd World War, then almost 50 years of Communist regime. Our grandparents and parents fought for our freedom to choose. They actually went to prison, were tortured and sometimes killed because they fought for something we take for granted today.

Not going to elections and not exercising our right to choose is like spiting in their face and saying all their sacrifice was for nothing.

Next time just shut up and vote

I’m not happy with 55% people voting. I’d love to see numbers around 90%. I don’t know if it’s ever going to happen in my country but I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping we’ll grow up and take action to choose the future we want for our country. We need to take responsibility for it. It’s our democratic right.

What’s the shape of democracy in your country?

Monday, July 5, 2010 /democracy-is-our-privilege/