After reading Rachel's post a couple of weeks ago, my mind has been buzzing with questions: If you don’t vote, should you have less rights? Is it possible to be an active citizen and not care who runs the country? I know plenty of politically disillusioned social workers, for example, who make a significant contribution to their society. Surely, change and participation can be measured in a number of ways? Thus, can complacency be reduced to a mark on a ballot paper? To vote or not to vote, that is certainly the question.
Quite honestly, I'll be glad when this election is over. Standing by hopelessly, as the UK's Prime Minister hopefuls attempt to bewitch us with elaborate, alas empty promises of progressive reform and future prosperity, plagues me with a host of political anxieties. It's not so much that all three candidates, in my opinion, are grossly unworthy of leading our country. It's the clatter of boring policy, which the cynical amongst us might argue pimps out limited solutions to increasingly complex and over-sensationalised issues. Not to mention purposely complicating the political process to avoid accountability for failed policies three months down the line. Not me of course. I see it more like an esoteric power struggle within a masonic minority, show-cased by a geeky media. Trying to watch televised debates, or inform myself through the press plunges me into a state of comotosis, from which I emerge confused and frustrated. There simply is no substitute for ideology.
Perhaps this small discomfort is the least I can do as a responsible citizen? Surely, it is our duty to all those who sacrificed themselves to universalise the vote, to exercise it? But I can’t help but feel this perspective is a little short sighted. After all, the Suffrage movement, and others to which we are all so indebted fought for the vote to challenge non-representation and have a voice, nothing less. But can we honestly say that the vote holds the same value today?
Our apathy is not so much with the quality of candidacy, but with the government itself. After all, the vote is only a means to an end. And this particular end, as the multitude expense scandals, lies and unjustifiable wars demonstrate, is in dire need of change. From this perspective voting is arguably propping up an institution that is simultaneously self-serving, contemptuous and ultimately powerless to respond to the poverty, insecurity and fear crippling our world at the hands of insalubrious multinational companies in blind pursuit of profit.
So as E Day dawns upon us, I have to ask: Why should we vote?