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Election Day

Around the blogs I read, and in the people I know, it's election day, and it's a chance to remove the party that has lied, they say.

I don't vote. For some, where voting is something you can make a choice on, that won't mean much. For people who don't have the right to vote, it'll mean something else, and I hope one day you have the choice, but I don't live in such a culture, and my issues are different to yours, and sadly, getting the chance to vote just gives you different issues. For the people in Australia, it'll mean I'm breaking the law, again, because voting is mandatory. It's the law. Everyone must vote for the status quo to be maintained. My choice not to vote is fueled by a number of things, one of them being of course that in a democracy the ability to vote also means that you have the ability to not vote and it seems a deep flaw to make it so that people cannot make a choice. But primarily, I don't vote because voting in this country results in no real change. Pick the Coalition, pick the Labor Party. Pick the fuck who lied to you for eleven years, or the fuck who will lie to you for the next four. Pick the economic conservative, the social conservative, the white man surrounded by minders and advisers who will better play the middle line, who will ensure that white Australia is looked after. Pick for the cosmetic changes, because ultimately, nothing is going to change. I honestly believe that. I look at every change that the Howard Coalition bought in, and very few of them can I say Labor wouldn't have done; and the things that they wouldn't have, I am convinced there would have been a mirrored piece of change that would have taken this country to where it is now. I say this because I am so disillusioned with capitalist democracy that I do not believe that there is any point in taking part in it. I do not believe that any politician in this century will give a honest, god to fuck care about any of us. I do not believe they will think outside their four years in power. I do not believe they will think about the planet, about the people, about any kind of simple humanity that will ensure a better place on this planet, and look past colour, religion, sexuality, economics, and all the other ways we are divided and cut to realise that we are one kind of people on this planet, and that the only way to exist is to respect our differences, remove our poverty, and teach that in variety is compassion and tolerance, and I do not believe any of that will come, no matter who you pick today. Politics is not about that. It's about economics, about middle lines, about ensuring that some people never rise about the conditions they are born into, that others stay in their positions, and that fear of losing things holds you in place.

But worse, voting nowadays is about a compromise that is so deeply ingrained into the voter's psyche that he or she knows that they cannot get what they want, that they--that we--cannot all of us have what we want and exist in a multiplicity of ways and in wild contradiction against each other. It's about knowing that we must therefor make sacrifices of our beliefs and support the pale shadow of something that may have once resembled what we want.

It's about believing the lie about democracy, and then ensuring that we get behind it, again and again.

Comments

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catsparx
Nov. 24th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC)
Dude, this all reads to me like "I don't like the way the real world works so i'm not gonna participate. Nya". Mostly its a big bunch of nya. Life is all about compromise don't you think?
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 04:57 am (UTC)
no, i don't think that. i don't think life is about compromise at all, or that it's one of the core little understandings of life that you need to get through it. i think like is about acceptance and diversity. to me, compromise is on the kind of opposite of that.
catsparx
Nov. 24th, 2007 05:05 am (UTC)
so you never compromise? You either accept stuff or you don't? You wouldn't, say, take a job you didn't like in order to earn money? I think living alongside other people necessitates a lot of compromise in order for diversity to be accomodated.
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
sure. i accept it, live with it, or i don't accept it, i don't live with it.

the job thing isn't the right comparison, since you can take the money with the understanding that you're going to get out of it, and do something different, but it's just part of getting to where you want. so you're not compromising by doing it, at least i don't think.

as for compromise with people... i don't think you need to, but that's just me. other people do what other people got to do.
catsparx
Nov. 24th, 2007 05:37 am (UTC)
since you can take the money with the understanding that you're going to get out of it, and do something different, but it's just part of getting to where you want.

and you don't think democratic voting could be viewed as another version of this?

I don't actually care whether you vote or not. That is your business. But I hate the way you're suggesting that those of us who do are just sheep toeing the line. There is much wrong with democracy as it is practised in this country, but I have yet to see a convincing preferable mode of governance. Got any suggestions?

I reckon you make compromises every day, same as everybody else. When you queue to get on a bus rather than punching your way to the front, that's a compromise. When you accept that you're not going to be able to have sex with the pretty girl you're sitting next to on the bus, so you read your novel instead, that's a compromise. Civilisation is built on the concept of compromise.
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:09 am (UTC)
and you don't think democratic voting could be viewed as another version of this?

if you view it that way, it's cool. i don't. comparing a job and the reasons you vote, you can't compare them, really.

as for the sheep thing, what can i say? that's it for me, but it's just an opinion. and yeah, i do have suggestions, actually, but since they'll never be put into power, and i will never be in a position to put them there, dif do they make? my way of protesting that is not to vote. enough people do that, and we might be able to remove preference systems, might be able to change the way we do elections for country leaders, and so forth. or maybe not. but just going along with it isn't going to change it, is it?

as for civilization being built on compromise... well, i guess i'll just have to disagree with that.
catsparx
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:16 am (UTC)
Has any political system ever been changed by people doing nothing?
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:18 am (UTC)
who said not voting was doing nothing?
catsparx
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:20 am (UTC)
me
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
heh.

well, that's a limited way of looking at it. ain't nothing going to change tomorrow cause i don't vote, and maybe nothing will, but i don't vote, and i don't hide it, and maybe there'll be enough people like that one day that it'll mean something. but you shouldn't think of it as doing nothing, i don't reckon.
catsparx
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
you're right about that - nothing will change tomorrow because you don't vote. But I am so hoping a bunch of things do change tomorrow because a bunch of other people did.
strangedave
Nov. 24th, 2007 04:57 am (UTC)
Yep, just dressing apathy up in cynicism in the hopes it looks less pathetic.

Make an effort to be involved in politics for a whole 10 minutes every 4 years, and then complain that it hasn't fixed everything?


benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 05:01 am (UTC)
that's why i love you voting people.
random_alex
Nov. 24th, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
So do you not turn up and cop the fine? Are you not enrolled and therefore never going to get called for jury service either? Or do you turn up and get your name marked off and then just not vote?

Gotta say, though, I think not voting is pretty daft. Just my votin' 2c worth.
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 05:30 am (UTC)
i'm not enrolled. i never have been--i've always had a problem with voting.

it gets people fairly angry, or disgusted, or whatever with me, but it's my thing and i run it. oddly enough, i never tell people they shouldn't vote. funny how folk don't give the same cred to me.
catsparx
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:19 am (UTC)
its the fact that you expect cred for it that shits me.
its all about the stunt
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:21 am (UTC)
i don't expect cred for it, but i don't expect to be told i'm a moron, either, y'know. (cred was probably the wrong word to use there.)

and it's not about the stunt--it never is, despite what you think.
catsparx
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
I know you're not a moron. That's why I'm questioning your choices here.
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:25 am (UTC)
that's cool. but i'm real content with my choices in this.
random_alex
Nov. 25th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
I'm fascinated that you've got to whatever age not being enrolled, on an intellectual level - never telling my students that! =]

In one way, my reaction to your not voting is the same as towards people who break other laws: I have a friend who refuses to wear a seatbelt because he doesn't think the govt gets to tell him what to do. I think he's daft for a number of reasons, one of which is that it's illegal, and laws are there to protect people, whatever you think of them. And I don't think that not voting counts as conscientious objection in Australia, since no one is telling you who to vote for and there is a huge range of people you can choose from.

Anyway... clearly neither (and none) of us is going to change our point of view!
ex_benpayne119
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:40 am (UTC)
See you're not gonna be surprised to hear that I don't get it either :-)

I don't think it's just about choosing the lesser of two evils... you can vote for other parties... you can vote for independents... that's the good thing about the preferential system!

They might not get in, but surely it's just as positive a protest as not voting is...?

And anyway, even if it *was* just a choice between the lesser of two evils... why wouldn't you choose the lesser of two evils?!!!!

Dude, it's less evil!!
benpeek
Nov. 24th, 2007 11:13 am (UTC)
yeah, but what kinda world is it really when the lesser evil is your choice?

though it appears the lesser evil it is.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 26th, 2007 07:57 am (UTC)
I think people should do what they want to do. Vote. Don't vote. Vote for the guy who will never win. Vote for who your party tells you to vote for.

Everyone rails on and on about how great democracy is and then get annoyed when someone doesn't vote. That is part of free choice also, isn't it?

The truth is, anyhow, that these days governments are run almost solely by corporate interests. So yes, you can vote, but in the end the parties are all pretty similar.

Democracy? Ha ha.
benpeek
Nov. 26th, 2007 11:24 am (UTC)
yeah, i don't figure much different bout corporate interests, either.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 26th, 2007 08:00 am (UTC)
The above comment, was by me, Brendan C.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 26th, 2007 11:04 am (UTC)
I totally agree and somehow felt good for not being eligible to vote. I would struggle in choosing right person since non of the candidates is qualifid for running the country.

Zohreh
benpeek
Nov. 26th, 2007 11:25 am (UTC)
yeah.

blah. two choice politics.
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