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the shirt

elections will be rolling out soon and, in preparation for this, i went and got a shirt with the words don't vote made up.

as t-shirts go, it's quite the conversation starter, and i expect it to continue to be so. the guy who printed it spent ten minutes explaining to me what was wrong with the current political system, and how ex-prime ministers continue to get paid long after being voted out, and yet still earn hefty pay checks in consulting work. i knew all this, but i felt, momentarily, that i should correct him and say that, really, we don't have the power to vote out our prime minister, nor even select who leads the parties, but he was on quite the roll and, you know, the shirt wasn't made yet. once he finished, however, his wife proceeded to tell me how, in her mind, not one politician had ever gotten into the business for anything other than money.

now, honestly, i don't side with those opinions. politicians are a many varied beast, and they get involved for many reasons, and prime ministers should be kept from the gutter...

but either way, i still don't vote.

voting is mandatory in australia, but i haven't voted in years. this is not due to laziness or apathy, though i'm sure many will think so. but i work hard at not voting and, socially speaking, it's easier to enroll and give a blank vote than it is to not vote, and then say to people, 'i don't vote'. indeed, i suspect that i will receive a bunch of comments about how i should vote because, after all, people in less fortunate countries don't have the right, and how could i be so selfish?

well, before you say that, i think the people who can't vote should be able to vote. put me in their country and i'll wear a shirt that says it, just to be fair. but. i do not live in one of those countries--i live in australia, where the political climate is quite different, and everyone must vote.

simply put, i live in a country that faces the problems that come after ensuring everyone has the ability to vote. i live in the country that says it's a democracy, but which has a political system that ensures that, at the end of the day, only one of two parties will be in power, and that those parties look as if they were spawned from the same white, middle class, conservative gene pool.

and now, as all political statements must, i have a t-shirt proclaiming mine. still, it could be worse: i could have a shirt with che guevara's head on it.

Comments

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nihilistic_kid
Mar. 20th, 2004 07:10 am (UTC)
I also don't vote (for slightly different reasons; I'm a Marxist and both political parties here are the Capitalist Party) and one thing that is often brought up by the mind-slave...uh, voters who get upset with me is that the Dems and Reps get away with it because so many people in the US don't vote. "If only everyone voted, think of the power..." they say to me.

And I say "What about Australia or Greece, where voting is mandatory? They end up with more or less the same turkeys we do."
benpeek
Mar. 20th, 2004 07:01 pm (UTC)
actually, i would say that mandatory voting, especially in australia, ensures that nothing changes--and that it'll becomes harder and harder to change the current political outlook because of it. after all, when you want to register your dislike for the current political climate, voting for the greens or democrats or an independent only results in the support of the two main parties anyway...



ironed_orchid
Mar. 20th, 2004 05:43 pm (UTC)
My boyfriend doesn't vote either. He thinks he has more of a political voice by organizing and attending protest rallies.
benpeek
Mar. 20th, 2004 07:03 pm (UTC)
he should get a t-shirt made :)
i_ate_my_crusts
Mar. 22nd, 2004 08:54 pm (UTC)
vote informal
When I was at Flinders Uni, back in the mists of time, the editors of the university rag were very risque by printing a whole page that said "Vote Informal". It's apparently illegal to tell people to vote informal in Australia. They were hoping to get the magazine banned, which would have made two issues of Empire Times banned in one year(They described how to give head in a previous issue, which they had to pulp every copy of).

A teeshirt that says "Don't Vote". I like that it might be both subversive and illegal. I also like the "Don't Panic" aspect. Will you be making fridge magnets?

I don't vote, but that's because I'm (whispered) too lazy to become a citizen.
benpeek
Mar. 23rd, 2004 03:14 am (UTC)
Re: vote informal
telling people to vote informal is illegal? how weird. all kind of weird things around--though i guess since they didn't have to pulp it, it didn't much matter in the end.

there will be no frigde magnets, mainly because i don't know where to get them made or how, and because, you know, what good is a fridge magnet when you can have a t-shirt.

make a t-shirt, zara. give it to your friends. spread the words around.
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