Thursday, May 05, 2005

high on democracy

been to vote first thing this morning. i like the fact that we get to vote twice (actually 3 times cos you get 2 votes in the local elections). it meant i was able to mix and match my vote. so in the parliamentary vote i voted Lib Dems (they were always going to win in our constituency but i would have voted for them anyway cos don't we all believe that tactical voting is of the devil?) and voted for 1 Lib Dem and 1 Green councillor in the local vote. i know that traditionally in this country you're not supposed to tell anyone who you vote for but i think that's nonsense so i'm telling you.
it is a wierd feeling - voting. wierd in a good way. you really do feel like you are empowered and have a say...even though your contribution is minimal and i do question how much power there is even in democracy to actually make a difference.
My friend Chris makes this point well when he writes:

"So I say, in the end, vote for whoever you want, because they probably
aren't going to run the country radically differently than the other 2
parties any how. But make sure to make a difference in what you the life that God has called us to live: seeking justice,
defending the poor, offering the good news, etc. That's the stuff
that really matters, and that's what's gonna make a difference...if we
all focussed on what more we could do as individuals rather than what
the rich white boys are doing in London, I think we'd start to see
real change. Practically speaking, things like racism and greed and
shallow consumerism aren't going to be changed by policies imposed
from the top-down, they're going to change based on individual efforts
of folks like us. I guess at heart I'm really an anarchist!"

This makes me ask questions about the almost religious zeal of people like President Bush who seems to be making something of a a personal crusade out of bringing democracy to the whole world. (perhaps he should have started with Florida!). i still think it's probably the best system we have available but perhaps we are over optimistic about it sometimes.

i started this post feeling really positive about the democratic process and by the end of it the shine has already worn off somewhat!

1 comment:

Chris said...

Just to play devil's advocate to my own comments, I was having this discussion with a friend at work, and she pointed out that it could actually be considered a rather good thing that no party can really be too radical at the national level because that means that the UK as a nation is rather centrist, and wouldn't stand for any loonies taking over (all Blair jokes aside...)

This is a much better position to be in than somewhere like the States, where the country is so divided and the government is only going to be one extreme or the other. And even with this in mind, a Conservative government here would probably be more to the left than a Democrat government in the US!