What Zizek meant when he said voting is just a ritual, not a substantial, pivotal-to-change necessity
I can no longer find the Youtube video where Zizek said voting as a political process, over time, will not be a substantial, albeit pivotal-to-change necessity but just a democratic ritual. He did not dwell much on it. Here, I will try to explain his standpoint and viewpoint there.
Of course, every government is structured. A lack or absence thereof results in a massive catastrophe. In every government, functions (that is duties, responsibilities, accountabilities) and so on and so on are distributed to government officials and staff. Power, fundamentally, is given and limited. Authority has its scope and delimitations.
Whoever occupies the office, the function of the office will not change unless otherwise provided by law. An excellent example is the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE is responsible for devising ways for the country to have electricity among other things. The efforts of the past cannot be replicated as if the same were fundamentally essential for the efforts of the department. For example, knowing that electricity lights up a bulb at night was theoretically perfected and put into practice through wires and so on. For quite a time, people thought of lightbulbs as luxury whereas over time electricity paved the way for other devices such as radios, televisions, and appliances such as electric fans, flat irons, washing machines, and so on. These were once viewed as luxury, but as time went by, people no longer have time to read newspapers so they listen to radios as listening may be done simultaneously with ironing clothes. Clothes, for instance, were no longer washed by hand but put into a washing machine so that after a couple of minutes, they are done.
Enough of this detour, what was once a luxury has now become an essential.
DOE must keep on conducting studies to conserve energy, where to find and generate energy, and so on and so on. And although in the Philippines DOE is an office headed by an appointed secretary, whoever occupies the office cannot make much influence since efforts must continue.
The same is true for Philippine senators. They are elected to office not just to put up but to further the laws and devise ways to improve the lifestyle of the citizens through laws.
Election is not something that is so crucial or pivotal for change as if we are positing that the fate of the people is in the hands of the few. While that is true for some reason, the case is not entirely for it. We are all slaves of Capitalism. When one thing is done, it opens doors for other things to be done. Such is science. One step after another. The efforts of one office unveils the next footstep once one is done. All that is needed is for the elected “leader” to respond to the foreseeable improvement and never keep a blind eye.
That is why Zizek said it is just a ritual. Public office is independent on its own. People do not steer the structure. The structure steers the people. That is Capitalism in one way. What needs to be done must be done for the improvement that awaits. And our failure to respond, or the failure of these “heads of state” to respond might lead to the failure or breakdown of the system.
Zizek further said that healthcare is important. It was once regarded as a luxury. But it is now a necessity. As time goes by, the human condition informs us that diseases are, if not prevented, inevitable. Imagine a country that lacks healthcare infrastructures. Imagine a country that lacks healthcare science. Imagine a country that lacks progressive laws. Healthcare infrastructures, the sciences in the medical field, the progressive laws and so on are essential. Otherwise, we will be reduced to our ancient status — the primitivity where we live in the forest and co-habit among the wild animals.
This truth is unassailable. In most neighborhoods in the Philippines, electricity shortage is rampant. Electricity providers should have predicted, or at least, studied, that over the years, the population will bloom which will result in greater human settlement and ownership of devices that require electricity. They should have understood that devising ways to generate electricity supply and the required infrastructure thereof is vital. Now, as a consequence, the country has to suffer an electricity power shortage.
We are all slaves of Capitalism, but it is not totally evil of sorts. We need Capitalism, because without it, how else can we all thrive under the sun? Shall we live in the forest, the human default?
In a nutshell, though politics is sketched to be a business for pure-hearted people to offer service to the masses, we ought to bear in mind that politics is anchored to government and government has its structure. Public office requires a brain — a good, excellent, and educated one. Heart comes after. Brain comes to the fore.