I’m having an internal struggle right now. I’m wondering whether or not to write one of those “People of the capital, go vote!” pleas for the general population to suddenly embrace the concept of civic duty and vote in the municipal election on Nov. 19.
This is a new conflict for me. In 2008, I wrote a letter to Monday conveying the above message, and in the 2010 by-election I wrote of voting: “It takes half an hour, and if you don’t do it everything will stay exactly how it is right now, nothing will change, and we’ll all just go on wondering why life slowly gets weirder and harder in our beautiful, sleepy little Victoria.”
And I wasn’t the only one, oh no. Every politician in the known universe begged you, the voter, to exercise your rights, do your duty, change the world, make a difference in your community, get involved, get excited, get out and vote!
Clearly, none of that worked.
The 2008 voter turnout in Victoria went up by about 0.57 per cent over 2005 — hardly a sudden groundswell of democratic fervor, especially considering that same number had dropped by almost five per cent between 2002 and 2005.
The recent by-election saw another drop of 1.05 per cent, and even then 1,176 of those people forgot to vote for a politician. Despite the best efforts of the good civic-minded folks here in the capital, You (You know who You are) aren’t voting.
So I’ve decided I’m not going to tell you what to do. If you don’t want to vote, then don’t.
If you enjoy paying $1,200/month for your bachelor apartment, don’t vote.
If you’re cool with stepping over people on Douglas Street because they have nowhere else to go, don’t vote.
If you think Occupy Victoria is populated by useless dope fiends just looking for somewhere to shoot up on the government’s dime, don’t vote. If you prefer suburbs over farms, don’t vote. If you don’t like pools or sewers or having a job within 100 kilometers of your house, don’t vote.
If you’re that person, save the walk to a polling station on the 19th. Instead, you can sit at home, read a book and take comfort in the knowledge that absolutely nothing will ever change here in quiet, sleepy little Victoria. M