Like many others, a young Fatah activist wished yesterday he could go back in time and replay the Palestinian elections all over again.
“I voted Hamas so that my own Fatah Party would be shocked and change its ways,” he said, giving his name only as Mohamed, in the Palmeira cafe in Gaza City. “I thought Hamas would come second.
“But this is a game that went too far. Nobody thought Hamas would win – even them. I know lots of people who voted Hamas, who regret it now. If I could vote again, I would vote for Fatah.”
I wonder how large a group he represents.
It’s always a bad idea to treat a vote as a game or a protest. Or, rather, it’s not so terrible if only a few individuals do it. But each person has no idea whether he/she represents an isolated case or is part of a vast trend. If a large bloc of voters happens to decide to play the same game at the same time, the results could well be catastrophic.
I’ve always been amazed at people in this country who fail to vote through apathy, or who vote for third-party candidates without a chance of winning because “there’s really no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.”
There may not have seemed to have been all that much difference between Fatah and Hamas, either, except a matter of emphasis: corruption and violence vs. violence and corruption. But voting for one when you would prefer the other is a stupid and dangerous game.