I’m going to vote tomorrow


The title might be a completely overused, almost a cultist chant that gets reiterated by patriotic assholes or sometimes even by people who genuinely want their community to participate in shaping the climate of their society (regardless of how misguided they might be in their application of that philosophy). However, since my 18th birthday four years ago, tomorrow will be the first time I cast a vote (hopefully…if I wake up early enough…or else the whole value of this rant will be compromised).

In the past little while, I have seen everything from sarcastic articles mocking people who don’t vote to claims that only people who vote have the right to complain/criticize their government, all of which are obnoxious, lack imagination, and contradict democracy. I belong to the school of thought that questions how voting will be useful when the structure which we choose our representatives to enhance and use optimally is in itself flawed. This is not to say that politicians are corrupt or inept but that the system within which they function is too restrictive to bring about any real change. Does this make me a terrible citizen? What if I don’t even identify as a “citizen” of any nation, but need a place to reside in order to survive because all the resources have been divided or privatized?

“Stop India from becoming the grazing ground of Imperialism. The Central Government has no right to ask for our votes. Do not vote for those millionaires who are getting rich by selling off our wealth. Fight for self-reliant, revolutionary development. Boycott the Lok Sabha elections.” – Maoist Banner in the Dandakaranya Forest photographed in Walking with the Comrades

I have purposely never cast a vote so that I can be accounted for in the hopeless part of the population who have given up on the system. Can they still call it a majority government when less than 50% of the total population votes?  I had always dreamt of the day that everybody refused to vote, just to demonstrate the extent to which democracy has failed. The sort of revolution I seek to witness in society cannot come about from electing my favorite politician–that much I know. But worse yet, this process urges you to invest all your energy into one individual who will revolutionize society. So when this individual naturally and inevitably fails, it isolates him/her as blame-worthy for the shortcomings of the system/downfall of society (and only God knows how much I fucking hate Harper), but are they really? The impact of the individual on the structure tends to be much less than the impact of the structure on the individual. I have seen the greatest politicians succumb to the pressure of the situation and give faulty accounts of history in order to appease their crowds and adhere to political correctness. In an event commemorating the Komagata Maru incident at a local art gallery, one of my more preferred politicians stated, “we have to thank Aboriginal people for welcoming us onto their land”, followed by some mumbo jumbo about how we have the same responsibility towards other people who seek refuge in the country. His main conclusion might be valuable but my God, what a gross misrepresentation that is–to speak of a stolen land as if it were gifted. Not only does this misrepresent history, but also undermines the constant struggle that the Aboriginal community faces to address the unpunished and many times unacknowledged atrocities that were inflicted upon them. But there is no room in the structure for a revolution of that sort. Moreover, if power and resources were redistributed so drastically, the system wouldn’t have all the power that it does and contradict itself. The entire political structure is derived from a colonial and European tradition, and in the perspective of many previously colonized and enslaved populations, ensuring it reinforces itself as much as it reforms. Although doesn’t revolution embody the true spirit of democracy? Wouldn’t true democracy allow for its own annhilation?

Now, I have personally never felt the difference between residing in a liberal-run vs. a conservative-run country. Sure, I’m aware through my education, that even though liberals were not the most deliberately progressive party and lost power due to their involvement in fraduelent transactions, they still weren’t able to run the country into the sort of regression that the PCs did. I feel that when I vote, I’m validating the idealist vision of political parties and their leaders having enough power and control to make positive impacts. When in reality, I see that certain parties are just able to interfere less with progression than others. My purpose to vote is to bring a party into power that lets the researchers do the actual work, implements the policies they suggest, and takes all the credit. Simple. Call me a pessimist but that’s as close as we can get to valuable politics, in my opinion. Not with this hocus pocus, we will change the world by electing party X, who along with person Y, are going to transform the planet. So yes, I voted, because PCs are really dumb and it was embarassing to live in a province that had consistently voted conservatives for something as ridiculous as 40 years.

Even though conservatives, liberals, and most likely also the NDP will end up producing fairly indistinguishable impacts in the life of the average “citizen”, some of them will cause less damage than others and maybe that’s a good enough reason to vote.


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