I think and I vote

I think and I vote.  This was a bumper sticker idea I joked about with someone yesterday.  This was after going through the belowtheline.org.au voting options.  Yep - 97 candidates to number in the hope of having my vote stand for my voice.  And parties about smokers, shooters, fishers, motoring enthusiasts, run by mining magnates or churches or racists just don't have a place in my world.  But what makes me despair is that they might for someone else.

I've wondered how we got here.  How did we become a country filled with people only worried about themselves?  When I watch the news and see war-torn countries with massive civil unrest, or the fallout of the global financial crisis crippling people to the point of breaking, that's when I see how incredibly lucky we are.  I promise I'm not going to start this with 'Back in my day'....but really, somehow we seem to have gotten lost.  We've been sold a lifestyle magazine view of how the world should be, filled with 4WD cars, plasma screens, parents retreats and children's wings to our homes.  Does anyone save up for things anymore?  Are we so aspirational that we would deprive someone else food, shelter or safety to achieve this?

I know this is painting the world in black and white, and in reality there are many more shades of grey. However, the two main political parties seem to stand for 50 Shades of Brown!  I honestly feel sick to the pit of my stomach that people will still choose one of the two main parties no matter how crap they think they are.  I really hope that this election builds on the rise of independents and minor parties.  Most people I speak to or follow on social media are all thinking the same way.  There seems to be a surge of disappointment, discontentment and real anger.  I have heard so many people say they will not let their political voice be decided by preference voting deals.  Instead, we are all filling out every box on our ballot paper.  Go us!

This gives me hope.  Hope that maybe there won't be absolute power in the hands of the absolutely corrupted.  That there will be voices in parliament that talk about diversity and equality.  Voices that put forward issues that I think are important.  Voices that represent the marginalised and underrepresented.  I think many politicians have forgotten the idea that they are in government to represent us.  And at many times when I watch the state of Australian politics I feel like a foreigner - as I don't know who they are trying to appeal to.  How did we end up with a battle to the bottom?

I'm not sure what will happen today as the votes are counted.  I know what I fear and I know what I hope.  But right now I'm hours away from finding out.  I hope people think before they vote.  Don't look at the parties in their old traditional roles.  Write down what is important for you.  For future generations, be selfless and look at how decisions will affect Australia in the long term.  Look beyond the political catchphrases and single issue media has focussed on.  Don't look back in years to come and wish you'd done something different.  Be brave.  Be daring.  Vote for the person who speaks for you.

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