Don’t Vote

Student demonstrators of the May 4th Movement ...

Tiananmen Square in May 1919. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t Vote, It Only Encourages The Bastards

When I first saw that bumper sticker message I thought it was funny. Now it seems a fair comment on Australia’s elected politicians.

In Australia the law obliges me to vote; in most other places voting is optional. The alternative to voting is to take the chance that others will do so and they’ll elect the wrong bastard. If a relatively small number of passive non-electors had gone to the polls in Florida eight years ago, this planet might now, under outgoing President Gore, be on the road to salvation.

This coming week voters in the elections that really matter will or won’t encourage the bastards. An act of God, Hurricane Sandy, has done what a thousand PR people couldn’t do: it has made Obama look like a president. Looking like is the thing in western elections, is more influential than being president.

The elections in the USA are as important to the American people as Melbourne Cup Day is to Australians.  It is the day that stops a nation.

A huge proportion of voters will not get around to voting. These stay at homes will determine the flavor and much of the content of our lives in Australia in the coming decade or two.

Those Americans who do not vote, like those who do, are exercising choice. They are electing whether or  not to vote.

Two days after the presidential election in the USA, voting will take place in the People’s Republic of China for the leadership of that country. There are a lot of citizens in China but only 2,270 voters. These are the delegates, chosen in secret, to the Communist Party Congress, the first in ten years.

In Australia our elections are always held on a  Saturday, usually late in the year.  When I was a child my parents would wait for three stars to appear in the sky, signifying the conclusion of the Sabbath, then they’d rush off to the local primary school – my school – to vote. It seemed exciting. On their return I’d ask which party they voted for. Mum would never say. Instead she made one of her Declarations of Faith: in Australia we are fortunate; everyone is entitled to vote; no-one can force you to tell whom you chose. I remember how Mum seemed to glow with the pride of being a voter in Australia.

The Chinese Communist Congress will be held in the Great Hall of the People, next door to Tiananmen Square. The results of these elections have been known for months, ever since Bo Xilai, a man of ambition and powerful enemies, was expelled from the Politburo for serial adultery, corruption and implication in a murder case involving his wife.

Chinese would-be democrats won’t be thronging to learn the outcome, singing Are You Going to Tiananmen Square?  They’ve been there, done that, seen the tanks.

We in Australia will not have a vote, while masses of Americans and selected Chinese choose the bastards who will determine our future.


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