“Treasure, that is what you are,
Honey, you’re my golden star,
You know you can make my wish come true
If you let me treasure you.”
– B. Mars, ‘Treasure’.
For those who do not live in Australia or who do but, by some miracle, have managed to avoid all mainstream media over the past few months, we have a federal election tomorrow!
I am not actually that excited about it. I mean, I’m certainly thankful for our political system and our democracy, but I have become so disillusioned and disheartened by our politicians in recent years that I am very tempted to throw my hands up in the air and not give a damn anymore.
The Australian Electoral Commission ran a series of ads in 2007 titled “Your vote is a valuable thing” (which you can check out here) encouraging people to enrol to vote and to see their vote as an important thing. In the ads people who were rummaging around in their houses stumbled across a previously hidden light source which illuminated their lives with its warm glow (metaphors! similes!) accompanied by a sombre, yet hopeful xylophone melody. And whilst despite being a bit cheesy, I must admit that I agree with the sentiment.
Personally, I live in a very, very safe electorate. So safe that it may as well be Tony Abbott’s hometown. Except, I’m not particularly enamoured with the party who has a stronghold over this seat, but seeing as it is really safe I feel that my vote isn’t going to count. It feels so helpless that I’m tempted to do a donkey or blank vote.
Except, if I do that I know I’ll be letting myself and others down. As we all know, women’s right to vote is something which many people have fought tirelessly for over many, many years.. and for which people are still fighting for in Saudi Arabia. So, to throw my hands up in the air and do a blank or donkey vote feels like I’m just giving all of the people before me the finger to everything they did for women today.
So, in summary: I’m jolly lucky to live in a prosperous, peaceful, democratic country in which I can vote and where anyone can put themselves forward to stand as a candidate.
But whom should I vote for tomorrow?
Well, I have decided to put my cynicism in a box for the next 24 hours at least (in you go, sweetheart) and I’m going to vote for the party whose policies I agree with the most, despite the fact that they have close to no chance of winning this seat.
My logic is that I can’t be the only one who feels like this (right?), but if everyone who is in the same boat as me just says “F&*# it!” then what difference will that make apart from to ensure that the parties whom we don’t support stay in power? Instead, perhaps if everyone who feels this way spends two minutes voting for the party whom they actually believe will represent and lead them best over the next three years then, over time, that may make an impact. Perhaps we’ll gain some momentum and then, in the future, the safety of such seats may gradually diminish to the point where one little vote no longer feels so meaningless.
See, this is what happens when my twenty-something cynicism gets put on mute: we have an abundance of youthful naivety. Darryl Kerrigan might tell me I’m dreaming, but what would life look like if we didn’t dream? And if you have no idea who Darryl Kerrigan is, please, for your own sake, rectify this issue immediately. You can thank me later, you rascal.
Although it’s 10 minutes out of our Saturday and the ballot papers can be a bit confusing (Above the line? Below the line? Numbers? Wikileaks? Palmer United?) and it can feel pretty meaningless, I think that Gollum was on to something..
Happy voting, amigos.