Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

The Election, Not Voting, and Joseph Stalin

Australia had an election, and here is Hitler's reaction to it.

It's a surprisingly accurate portrayal of the election, really, though it does neglect to mention that the outcome of it has been quite interesting, mostly due to the impression that three country independents are making during their interviews.

Now, up front, I should mention that I did not vote in this election. It gets people all riled up to hear that. Some of you are about ready to tell me that I can't have an opinion on politics now, another bunch are about ready to tell me about the poor people who are dying because they can't vote, or live in countries where violence forces them to vote one way or another. The last is an interesting statement, since it suggests that just being able to vote is something I should be grateful for--and while I do, indeed, believe that the people living under tyrannical governments should have the right to vote, I also believe that that neither solves their problems, nor makes it somehow easier to live in poor countries. But they should have the right. What the statement does overlook, however, is that I live in a country that does not have those issues, thankfully, but has other issues. The choice not to vote is done in mind of where I live, and the issues I see myself in my home, and is not done to spite people, and not because Mark Latham, the ex-Labor leader, suggests that people vote informally. That was always a statement forever doomed to sound bitter, regardless of his intent. It also hurt any real debate the country could have had about not voting.

These issues of democracy in Australia begin with the very simple belief that the choice to vote also involves the choice not to vote. Democracy cuts both ways, a concept that many people fail to recognise and respect, I find. It is in fact a terrible thing to force people who have different political ideals and beliefs to interact with yours, but we do it here, and tell them that they ought to be grateful for the chance. My problems with the Australian democracy then continue on through to the preference system and to our lack of choice over who is actually our Prime Minister (a choice that is always made in back room promises and deals). It continues on, but it's not my intent to list it all because, to be honest, I am content in my choice, and my decision not to vote has been a long standing one. Every election that arrives sees, in fact, my decision reinforced, as endless campaign ads offer nothing in information, and instead spend millions abusing the other party; as racism and homophobia run rampant; as I watch non-white politicians and openly gay politicians agree with their insulting party lines, thus sacrificing their own beliefs; and as easily identifiable broken promises are made, with everyone fully understanding that the motion would never get through the senate, but which are discussed like it could happen. Perhaps the most obvious in this campaign was the one Labor made about censoring the internet.

But something interesting has happened in this election, a event that has actually made me feel a slight twinge of regret for not voting, though admittedly, it hasn't been much. That moment has come, however, from the spotlight shone onto the three country independents, who either the Coalition or Labor are going to need should they wish to form a government. Those three, if you don't know them, are Tony Windosor, Bob Katter and Rob Oakeshott. Like me, you probably don't know much about them, but I have liked how they've presented themselves in the interviews, and more importantly, I've liked how they have spoken about the stability of the country. Now, I'm not saying I agree with their politics--most likely, I won't. Bob Katter appears to be anti-gay and racist, but that's just a lift out of the links I've provided, and I'm sure a lot of what concerns him in rural Australia isn't what concerns me. But there's no denying that they have appeared in the media as down to earth, passionate men who present themselves much differently those in the larger parties, and who have stated quite simply the importance of stable government and the impression they hope to leave for independent politics. No matter what their beliefs, or what happens, the three appear to recognise the chance they have been given, and are going about it in a fashion that may result in a changed political landscape.

Of course, should I get too caught up with rainbows, I only need to remind myself of the past political ties of the men. Though there is, regardless of who you are, some amusement to be taken from Tony Windsor calling Barnaby Joyce a fool within five minutes of being put on the television.

At any rate, it's interesting stuff.

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