OPINION: Buckle up folks – we’re about to enter the final push of election season. Just when you thought political saturation couldn’t get any more rampant…
Telly, radio, the internet, billboards, car stickers, jazzed-up volunteers banging on your door – it’s all pervading and unrelenting.
I grew up in a political household. As children we were expected to participate in our democracy. Like Catholics, the raison d’etre for political party members to breed is to create future members. But like Catholicism, as soon as my parents granted me free will I gave the whole thing up and started a career as a snarky pessimist.
Now hyper-politicized people surround me. Most of my friends are vocally supportive of one party-or-other, announcing their positions on Facebook and standing back to bask in the glory of righteousness.
But I find myself in a peculiar position. I don’t like any of them. When I see the way politicians carry on with their lying and grandstanding and I see the sycophantic way party hacks view the world through political blinders, I worry that it’s just a case of choosing the best of a bad bunch.
Have you ever had the misfortune to watch politicians carry on in parliament?
It’s gross the way they shout and jeer at one another: the heckles, the partisan politics, the nastiness, the bullying. These are the mature adults in charge of us? Yuck.
But I’m a citizen of the world. I have strongly held beliefs about all sorts of issues. My problem lies in the fact that none of the political parties inspires me – it all just feels like power grabbing and a free lunch for the zealots who were on the train.
Perhaps it’s party politics that offends me. It seems to me that you pick your tribe and from that point you give up the ability to think independently. Instead you stand in a group and jeer at the other teams. Nothing the others say is right and everything your gang says is sacrosanct.
Would people have the same positions regarding benefit fraud had it been discovered that it had been committed by someone in a blue T-shirt instead of someone wearing a green one?
I suspect not. Because you pick your team and you have to support them no matter what. I thought MMP was supposed to give us options? It seems like more of the same to me.
I tried telling my friends I was going to abstain. Told them I was going to put a different sticker on my car: “Don’t vote, it only encourages them”.
That went down like a lead balloon.
“People died for your right to vote,” they said.
“What a typical white male position,” they said.
“Your parents must be ashamed of you,” they said.
So what next?
Well, there’s plenty of time until the election, time for someone to really make me care again.
An election cycle is a crazy old ride. So who knows? Maybe by Election Day I’ll be singing the praises of one party or other. I really hope so. Because I have been enthused by politics in the past.
I know I said I gave it up immediately upon being granted free will by my parents. But election fever has sporadically caught me over the years. I’ve door knocked and driven people to polling stations. I’ve installed billboards and really deeply cared about elections.
But for now I’m feeling like a silent minority who looks at the current options and thinks you’re all as gross as one other. Pigs at a bloody trough – snorting away and trying to get more food than the opposition pigs.
Somebody, anybody, please inspire me.