So get this: It isn’t, not by any stretch of even the most fertile imagination, alright to affect apathy about the state of your country. It’s even less alright to kid yourself by thinking you can’t make a difference because you’re up against (this much-mythicised beast) ‘the system’, and that one vote can’t alter the course of history. This isn’t completely untrue. You’re right, for the most part. But if everyone, ever, thought this way, we’d probably still be living in caves, swinging off trees and fending big lizards off with sticks. While this idyllic existence isn’t exactly to be knocked – it sounds like fun! – I, for one, can’t live without my iPod, so thank you very much, I don’t want to be a Luddite today if it’s all the same to you.
If I sound flippant, it’s on purpose. Let not the style, however, distract you from the high-seriousness of the content. We’re getting to that time of year/life/world again when we play out pre-assigned ‘roles’ in the dance-drama of democracy, the ultimate performance piece we call ‘elections’. Ostensibly, the people we’re meant to vote for come ‘from’ us (kind of like in the Theatre of the Oppressed, come to think of it), but increasingly, there seems to be a disconnect between ‘real’ people and ‘politicians’, the third gender; the fifth species, seventh element; whatever you want to call them.
It’s a vicious cycle – if you look at the candidates most parties field, and think of them as an aggregate ‘mean’ symbolising or standing in for a nation, a sort of microcosm of all the humanity this great subcontinent is home to, the results are shocking. Is this who we are? Are these the leaders we choose to ‘represent’ us? One of the most standard arguments I’ve heard raised against the idea of voting is that people feel the parties let them down by not giving them people “worth voting for”. The point is that you won’t get them – not until the message that fielding just anyone won’t do goes out to the powers that be, very loudly and clearly. Even so, to do this requires you to vote. Vote for the least of the evils, vote for a pretty symbol – do what you will to make peace with yourself, but vote!