Today’s brilliant contribution to this series comes from Rebecca Caution. This is rousing, entertaining, and ALL TRUE. 3 reasons you might be thinking of not voting and why you must anyway…
Ok, everything is shit right now, I know.
Half the world seems to be on fire; the oceans are full of plastic; melting ice caps; food crops are all full of chemicals we’ve been consuming liberally for circa 20 years; cancer rates shooting up; the poor are getting poorer; the rich are getting richer; white supremacy; paedophile rings at the highest echelons of society which seemingly aren’t even deemed worthy of investigation; Trump; Brexit; rise of nationalism all over Europe; governments in the pockets of big corporations; the list is endless.
It’s way too easy to feel powerless, depressed and sickened every day. I feel this way pretty much constantly and avoiding the news as much as possible is a necessity for me staying vaguely of sound mind. What can we possibly do?! Well, for a start, we can (and must) vote.
I totally get why people might feel the desire to avoid voting – especially when this is the fourth UK vote in four years – but, but, BUT, here are the thoughts and rebuttals from my internal dialogue presented as an interview with myself.
“It’s only a two horse race and neither of them are horses I fancy.”
Let’s start with Jeremy Corbyn.
JC has been accused of being somewhat soft on anti-semites within his party. He also does not appear to be a massive fan of employing women. Also, allegedly sympathetic towards terrorists (mind you, Jesus probably would’ve been too, you know – he was a very compassionate man by all accounts. Big on forgiveness, peace, love and understanding.)
Next up, Boris Johnson; a well-established liar who’s been ousted by his own party multiple times and is – I think we can all agree – an absolute bellend.
So yes, I get it might feel a difficult choice to make, but here’s the thing: you’re not voting for either of those individuals at the ballot box, you’re voting for your local MP. Ultimately, the voting system may work a lot better if everyone voted for who they actually wanted to win locally. Instead we place votes thinking we’re voting for the leader of each party. We’re not. We can’t do that because – as we’ve seen a few times during recent years – they can go at anytime.
Yeeeeessss, we need to ditch the first-past-the-post system pronto, so that voting for anyone outside of the two main parties has more potential impact. Noooooo, I don’t know why that stupid bloody alternative vote in 2011 was for yet another over-complicated voting system, rather than for simple and sensible proportional representation; preferred system of many countries the world over, like Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, New Zealand and many, many more.
Yesssss, we need more diversity in the Houses of Parliament: women, young people, POC, mothers, people who weren’t privately educated, etc. Yessssss, we need MPs to be paid more and expenses to be ditched, so people who are smart, yet aren’t from a wealthy background might actually be attracted to the job, but I’m digressing.
“I’ve bloody had it up to here with voting for stuff. It makes no shitting difference who gets in. They’re all a bunch of self-serving, ill-informed, short-term focused, lying thundercunts.”
All valid points and well made.
Brexit fiasco; tuition fees; “Things Can Only Get Better”; losing school milk. Every UK government has committed its heinous crimes and left us feeling – at best – depleted and – at worst – apoplectic with righteous rage. Or using food banks to get by because a nursing wage doesn’t cover basic human necessities like food or having employment support allowance taken away even though we’re so incapable of work we’re literally about to drop dead. Really, these are not reasons to remove yourself from proceedings altogether. Quite the opposite, in fact.
I know you already know that people died for your right to vote, but I’ll shout it again anyway: PEOPLE DIED FOR YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE. The least you can do is get your arse to a polling station and tick a box. You can’t get it wrong. Just go with your gut. It’s all you can do. If you’re stumped, choose one or two of the most important issues for you personally and base your choice on those. Again, remembering you’re voting locally. For your local MP representing whichever party. Not for one person at the national level.
“I’m waiting for the youth to rise up, do a Guy Fawkes and take over the running of the country”
You and me both, my friend. You and me both. I have a dream….
I think my five year old son would do a better job at running the country right now, particularly with regard to Brexit. That boy is mad good at negotiation. Also – like most kids – his mind is not distracted by such trifling concerns as what is “possible” or “reasonable”; the type of thinking which holds us all back.
Honestly, I think kids’ minds are the kinds of minds we need running the show. Minds that have no idea how, yet very clear ideas on what and then get to work; trying stuff out with no expectations of perfection; no worry about having to admit they’re wrong and change direction; with no fear, just open-minded curiosity and well-meaning good intentions that come from a place of love for all beings✌️
Unfortunately for us guys, the politicians – some of them anyway (looking at you, blue) – seem a little reticent to hear the voices of the young folk and the Houses of Parliament are quite heavily guarded these days, so my dream remains just that. But everything changes with time. The young are gonna get older and I remain optimistic that change will eventually, inevitably come.
“WTAF? Is that all you’ve got for me?! I can’t bloody sit around waiting, doing nothing whilst the world burns all around me!”
Yes, good. What can we do in the meantime? I’m glad you asked.
In my view, the question is not just what can we do, but what should we and must we do? Well, for a start, there is no apathy allowed, friends. We have a moral obligation to stand in our values, whatever those are. For some of us – me included – this means attempting to step towards all or any of the following:
- Saying a big fat NO to the trap of capitalism (staying in your soul-destroying 9 to 5 to buy more stuff you don’t need because you’re depressed at being indebted to your mortgage provider for the best part of your adult life)
- Saying NO to societal expectations and outdated and arbitrary gender rules that keep us all trapped (hello toxic masculinity and madonna/whore dichotomy)
- Saying NO to spending money with big corporations and instead directing your spending power towards ethical independent businesses
Look, here’s the thing – whatever your political affiliations are – you must vote and encourage everyone you come into contact with to do the same.
But that’s not enough.
Don’t just vote with your ballot paper, don’t wait till election time, vote with action and how you choose to live your life, vote with your money and where you choose to spend it. You sacking off the big guns this Christmas and shopping independent? I hope so. Why not do that all year round? Even better, sack off buying presents altogether. No, not for you? Maybe next year. The point is you don’t have to do it the way it’s always been done, just because the bloody adverts tell you that’s how it’s got to be. This goes not just for Christmas, but for your whole life.
In the meantime, you have a voice. Use it. Write. Speak. Teach your kids the values that mean something to you. Challenge people you disagree with in day-to-day life. With kindness and compassion. Do not just bury your head in the sand when your racist relatives start mouthing off. Engage them.
Get involved with local politics, write to your MP, email them, tweet them, meet with them, whatever… Just get them working for you all year long. Tell them what matters to you. Ask for what you want. This is literally what they are here for!
Don’t just moan about the process and the state of the world, take part and fucking change it. Those thundercunts count on your apathy and your fear, but we ARE NOT powerless, we are powerFULL and – if we want to be able to look our children in the eyes – we must stand up and be counted in as many ways as we possibly can.