I was reminded recently by someone who is not registered to vote and refuses to, of the school of thought around ‘conscientious objection’ and choosing not to engage in the ‘democratic process’. The crux of the argument is that the system is completely flawed and there is no point in working in or engaging with it.
I don’t subscribe to it, but I understand the argument.
And as completely disillusioned as I am with the political process – I still believe participating in the process is more effective than not. Movements like GetUp! prove that’s the case.
Politicians and governments – whether we like them or not – still run our country. The people who run our country only listen (if they listen at all) to people who vote. That’s why young people have so little power in the political process. It’s why the current Federal Government is trying to change the legislation so that as soon as the election is called people who aren’t enrolled to vote, can’t enrol. They want to exclude people from the system. People who have fresh ideas, fresh perspectives and who quite possibly disagree with the policies of the incumbent Government.
Participation and access is power.
If you consider the current situation in Indigenous communities and the Northern Territory, the equation is simple. No participation and no access = no power.
GetUp! by sheer volume of voters taking a stand has, on occasion, caused the Government to reconsider it’s position on a number of issues. If GetUp was representative of non-voters they wouldn’t even get a look in.
Unless conscientious objector’s (non-voters) agree to completely remove themselves from the political process (read, society) and the benefits it provides – schools, roads, hospitals etc., then i reckon they are kidding themselves…
You can’t ignore politicians – these people are the lawmaker’s and choosing not to have a say in who they are doesn’t empower anyone but the politician.
Somehow choosing not to have a voice is having a voice? This seems contradictory to me.
I say vote. Bring about change within the system, not by removing yourself from it. But, that’s just my point of view.