I had a fun weekend watching the shenanigans of the latest Australian federal election. Another hung parliament, still no prime minister and no ruling party determined. It’s been very entertaining.
I haven’t been registered to vote for several years now, what with being out of the country indefinitely. As annoying as going to the embassy is and as eyeroll-inducing as much of Australian politics is, I still liked trying to get the leaders I approve of most into government with my one little voice and I kind of miss voting now. My family lives in a very safe Liberal seat (right-wing – the capital L makes quite a difference) and I tended to vote for the left-wing parties, so it didn’t seem like I made much of a difference, but the effort was there, at least.
In Australia, it’s compulsory to vote once you’ve turned 18. It’s a pain even when you can vote in relatively close proximity to your home, and maybe not much will change, but to not do so just seems irresponsible. You have to vote. It’s just one of those things you do. I guess that’s why it’s always a bit shocking when people in other countries who are fully entitled and capable of doing so choose not to do so. How is anything ever going to change if you don’t even exercise your most basic right to try to get what you want?
That being said, I do understand feeling disillusioned enough to just not bother. You don’t need to look far to be given cause to question the efficacy of the system. Look at the rise of Trump, and Brexit. My home country is headed for their fifth prime minister, one way or another, in three years, and Japan underwent a similar series of prime ministers a few years back.
I saw articles strongly countering people’s claims that democracy isn’t working all that well over the weekend, yet the tones of the articles and the headlines themselves were nasty and/or patronising enough that the core message got drowned out, and that’s a pity. Telling people that they’re too stupid or making them feel that way seems to be a huge part of the problematic state we’re in.
So yes, maybe the current system is broken. Maybe an overhaul that I can’t even really imagine is called for. But for now, this is the best we’ve managed in regards to letting people have a say, ever. It might not be much of a say, it might always seem to be the pick of a bad bunch, but it’s better than nothing.
And if nothing else, it’s amusing.
No, really. Worrying, yes, but entertaining!