On the occasion of the forthcoming local and national elections that as a matter of course bring about the presentation of candidates for elective public offices, the registration of voters and other related matters, it might be not only right and proper but also quite relevant to have even given a little look at the Social Doctrine of the Church pointing out the inherent significance and consequences of the “Principle of Participation” in matters that have social relevance to the life and plight of the people.
Considering his human dignity and ingenuity, his social nature and disposition, his rights and obligations, his personal perception and vision, his ethical and/or moral convictions – among other human particulars – it becomes not only natural but even mandatory for man to participate in many and different, continuing or periodical social agenda for his own good and welfare. And the primary reason for such a “Participation” is precisely because man is not only a member of society but also directly or indirectly affected by decisions made for and about the society he is a member of.
Let it be duly observed however that one thing is when someone is by deceit and/or by force deprived of his rightful participatory intervention in socio-economic, cultural and political issues, directly or indirectly affecting his present life and/or future lot. And quite another thing is when certain individuals on their own and for whatever reason, refuse to participate in social issues as if society has nothing to do with them and so too, they have nothing to do with society – both of which stances are objectively wrong, considering that the “Principle of Participation” is both a right and an obligation. The truth of the matter is that the said “Principle” is in fact meant to safeguard and promote the rightful concerns and just interests of the participants themselves.
Thus it is that when someone dares to claim that he/she has nothing to do with society and society has nothing to do with him/her such that participating in questions and issues affecting society are irrelevant as far as he/she is concerned – this is not simply an expression of indifference but a confirmation of ignorance. The common saying that “No man is an island”, has its basic and concrete references to such an indifference – if not the actual scorn of social realities which directly or indirectly affect man precisely as a social being – something that is both a reality and a profundity.
Conclusion: The calls made by different groups of people to abstain from participating in the forthcoming elections for one reason or another , may be well-intentioned but contrary to the said “Principle”. In the event however that their “Participation” is in fact ignored or neutralized for one devious reason or another – such as due to cheating in the elections – this would call for another “Participation”, viz., moving for the ouster of the cheaters, the elected and all those involved in thus violating the “Principle”.