Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Politics of Dancing

My mother and I have vastly different political viewpoints.  I'm pretty sure I've discussed this before. She is a Liberal voter through and through. My father was too.  I never asked, but I'm fairly certain it's a generational thing - ie my grandparents voted Liberal also.

I've never asked my brother who he votes for, but I'd hazard a guess it's Liberal. Probably because "that's who mum and dad voted for and they must be right".  He doesn't think about politics too much, bless him.  As long as he has a roof over his head, three meals a day, his kids have what they need and he can play cricket each summer, he's not overly bothered with the rest of the world. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so invested in the world around me and could live a simple life like that.

Anyway.  When Brutha and I got to voting age, our parents never sat down and talked to us about how to decide who to vote for. We were never encouraged to investigate the policies of each party and decide which one most closely mirrored our own morals and viewpoints. In fact, the only thing I remember being told before I went to cast my first vote in a Federal election was something along the lines of "That Keating's a nasty bloke, don't vote for him". 

(My memory's a bit hazy, but I'm fairly sure I voted for the Democrats the first time I ever voted. I have a feeling it was because the mother of one of my school mates (and wife of one of our teachers) was the leader of the party and I really liked her stance on things.)

The Australian political system is in a bit of a mess right now.  You've seen the news, you read the internet - you know what's going on. I have many views on the whole thing and there's not enough time in the world to go into detail on all of them, so I'll just focus on one odd comment I received this evening via Facebook.

You see, the more investigation I do into which party I will vote for at the upcoming election, the more I am impressed by the clear, straightforward policies put forward by the Greens.  Right at this point in time, they're getting my vote and I doubt that will change. Education, climate change, affordable health care, equal rights, marriage equality, human rights/refugees - they have clear policies on all these topics and I agree with them all.

But then someone said to me: "Why would you bother voting for the Greens? They won't have enough to get into power... it's a wasted vote". 

It's not the first time I've heard this - indeed it's an argument my parents used on me when I first started voting.  That my choice should (preferably) be Liberal, but if not, it should be Labor, because voting Greens or Democrats or Independent would be a "wasted" vote.

My response to my parents, as it was again tonight is: "Why not?".

What if NO ONE voted for Labor or Liberal and instead EVERYBODY voted for the Greens? What would happen?  So many people are so deeply entrenched in this "it's either Labor or Liberal - there's no other choice" viewpoint that they just don't even bother to think outside the square.  It's entirely possible that if enough people voted for the Greens, they'd hold a lot more power and a lot more would be achieved in areas that so clearly need it.

What I'd really like to see, come September 14 (if that date stays - who knows with tonight's change of leadership), is for everyone to think outside the box and say "What if?". What if I give my vote to the most deserving party for their clear, rational policies, rather than the party I think is most likely to win anyway?".

But I fear, as a nation, we're not that evolved yet. Certainly we're not nearly evolved as we should be when it comes to equal rights.

But never forget..

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." 
~ Margaret Mead 

The great women (and men) of Texas sure as hell proved that today.  What an awesome moment in history.

The next few months sure are going to be interesting...

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