Australian Politics & Current Affairs
By Nick Kenny
“Democracy is the worst form of government imaginable – except for all the others that have been tried so far” – Winston Churchill
Australia is the only developed country on the planet that forces its citizens to attend the polling booths on election day (Luxembourg’s regional elections don’t count). Being also the most lazy and politically apathetic country on the planet, this pisses a lot of people off.
For example, an article hit the news recently, whose author despairs “but I don’t want to vote for Abbott or Rudd”*. She shares her deep agony with us, her “dormant inner conflict” over choosing between the two (as though either party is substantially different from the other).
She goes on, “And even more than that? I don’t particularly like any of them either”. I’ve got news for you, sweetheart. Parliament is not some mindless Facebook status where you decide to “like” someone or not. It is not even about voting for the best candidate. It is no more, and no less, than the best mechanism ever devised to keep the worst out.
In recent years, Canberra seems to have coughed up the worst bile since Billy McMahon spat his name onto Robert Menzies’ footnotes. It really doesn’t seem like we’ve done a good job at keeping the worst out. But take the horse flaps off for a minute. Look past our own shores. Most of the world is in the gutter right now. And most of the problems are either caused or inflated by the governmental sewage that exists in those places. Vile and infectious sewage, contaminating the lives of decent people, who’ve done nothing to deserve it. People no different from you and me. These terminally ill countries are run by some of the most corrupt, power-hungry, sadistic, greedy, fanatical, and violent people imaginable, choking the life out of anything and everything for one sick reason or another. By comparison, our parliament looks like a pack of children bickering over who gets to “play boss” for the next couple of years.
Our mob are anything but inspirational. This much is true. But we still live in a privileged land – a land where we have both the right and the duty to hold our government accountable every three years. However pathetic our elected officials’ performance may seem, they are answerable to us. And not, as much of the world must endure, the other way around. There is a damn good reason why tens of thousands of refugees are, quite literally, dying to get here.
You do not “have to vote” – you get to vote*. This Saturday, you have two options. Firstly, you can bitch and moan about how “pointless” it all is, and refuse to show up. Please do everyone a favour and just pay the fine instead – your $55 in the federal coffers is much safer than your two cents in the ballot box.
Or you can pause for a second, reflect on how much worse it could easily be, and count your blessings. Consider the billions of other people, right at this very moment, who would give their right eye to have the freedom to choose between a circus run by a clown and a circus run by a joker. Think of the blood spilled and lives lost throughout the ages, by people with far more ticker than you or I will ever have, for basic human rights, democracy, and an undying belief in freedom over tyranny. Then take your enlightened arse down to the local polling booth, where cake stalls and jumping castles sit in place of paramilitary guards and secret police, and vote for the most lacklustre, mediocre, dishonest sons-of-bitches democracy can buy.
* Australian Elections 101 – The only people who can vote for either Abbott or Rudd are those who live in their electorates. Secondly, no one is forced to actually vote for any particular candidate – you are required only to attend the polls and have your name marked off. Anyone so blatantly ignorant of our political system should refrain from publishing articles about it.