Saturday, 30 October 2010

Vote with your mind as well as feet

I have to admit that, only infrequently, have I been moved to vote. I refer not to phone-in-at-your-standard-network-rate couch participation in those popular television talent shows, rather the political process. Electing representatives. This stems not from apathy, but an increasing suspicion that such an act is more and more merely symbolic. Ostentation. People fought, they say - your relatives - in wars for your right to vote. Firstly, genetic science would suggest that those fighting against my recent ancestors were also, conversely, slightly distant-er relatives of their opponents, since we are all, in a very real sense, related by a handful of common ancestors. Secondly, is it churlish to point out that, by logical extension, they also fought for the right not to vote or, indeed, to be blissfully ignorant of any voting opportunity that may nominally be afforded to them in their eligibility to participate in absentia? Thirdly, does voting really represent the sum-total privilege and duty that engagement in democratic freedom requires? Necessitates? Isn't it also incumbent on our representatives, as well as ourselves, to ensure that the democratic process, as typified by the election, doesn't become a tool for maintaining the status quo? That it is not a merry-go-round for the self-interested profiteers and the adulation seeking ponce?

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