I’ve wanted to write this for days, but it felt a little improper to do so before polling stations closed and results were read out.
Pre-election and even on the day, my social media feeds have been full of mockery of political parties, jokes about delayed election days for certain voters and a number of other equally silly things. I’m sorry, call me a killjoy but I don’t get the joke.
I like democracy; sure, I think my opinion makes the most sense (otherwise why would I hold it) but I like that democracy is ultimately about the masses deciding. The right of a political party to exist, no matter how much I agree or disagree with their policies, is part of what makes this a great system. But a philosopher once told me that you argue against something’s strongest points not its weakest. It’s why I’ve always been against no platform policies and more recently why I’ve been annoyed at these Facebook statuses and tweets – and I love sarcasm. Sure, mocking something is kind of arguing against it; but is it really an effective way to changing people’s minds – are you even reaching those people who are genuinely planning on voting for those parties you vehemently dislike so much? Maybe the question should really be were you even trying to reach them via social media? Because to me, at least, it just looked like a group of smug self-congratulating updates which spectacularly failed to do anything useful – and the results seem to agree with me.
So here’s my plea – and you may call me idealistic for it. Next year it’s a general election and if you care so much about whom people vote for, get off your bums and do something useful. If you’re passionate about a political party then join them and hand out flyers and speak to people to convince them to your party is best. If you’re passionate about not voting for a certain political party then effectively debate with people who might be tempted to vote that way about why that party’s policies are incorrect and what the alternatives are. Point out flaws in an argument in a way that will actually engage with people. Talk to people who feel disengaged, tell them to register their dislike of all the parties by spoiling their ballot so their voice is counted. Stand for election. Hell, start your own party if you like.
But above all, do something that might actually count.