Dedicated to my extended family who want change,
Today, in my home province of Alberta, it was provincial election day, and as I am sure most of you know, there are elections in the UK this week, and of course the looming US elections. I went to vote today, but I had to give it some thought, and I want to share what I came up with.
Elections get plenty of media attention, and equal amounts of scorn from activists and rebels. I fall firmly with the activists, and share the belief that elections in developed nations are as much a show as they are in dictatorships. I share the belief that no matter who wins, be it the PC party here, Tory or Labour in the UK or Democrats or Republicans in the US, the governments will continue their trajectory unabated. Many of my friends and AnonFamily choose not to vote for this reason, and for many years, I did not vote also.
I cannot dispute these arguments, nor do I wish to. But having had many stimulating discussions about society and governments and people with people who are intelligent and care about these things has changed my mind about voting. I still believe the system is corrupt and needs a complete overhall, if not scrapping outright. But in honestly advocating for change, we have to think about things more deeply than “lets just rebe”l. I now think the voting process is about us, the people, not the system, which is why I decided to vote, and advocate for voting in what I believe to be a broken system.
As any activist for change can tell you, getting people to notice and be engaged is a prime problem. In fighting MSM and government propaganda, one of the main goals is to wake people up and to get them to be engaged in the system. Activism should make more people want change, want to be involved and civic minded, want to care about the world around them. The fact that we want to change the system does not mean we want people not to be engaged; quite the opposite, any freedom activist should want as many citizens involved and watching their government as possible. Declining voter turn out makes us easier to control by making the vote more predictable and catering to base voter’s interests.
Politicians constantly bemoan falling participation, but they actually love it and benefit. If you don’t vote, they don’t have to care what you think, or make appeals or concessions to you. In the US, they pass laws to make it harder for certain minorities to vote. We should all be advocating for more civic engagement, to get people involved and believe that their actions can have an effect. This is the very basis of democracy, and until we replace it, we should be trying to make the best of it. If we want informed and moral citizens, that should by definition mean we want them to take part in their governance, not to be passive consumers, having government inflicted upon them.
That is the main reason I chose to vote. Not for the sake of taking part in this corrupt system, or in the naive notion my vote will make a difference (and if you know Alberta politics, you know it won’t), but because I want to build a better system, one in which I want everyone to participate in. If we do actually manage to overthrow the status quo, and toss out the elites who run the current system, it will have to be replaced by a new one, in some way, shape or form. If we care about building something better, we do not just want to install ourselves in our previous oppressors seats and perpetuate the problem. We will want to make a new one that enables and encourages participation in governance. If we believe in transparency, we need people to be watching, and take action when things go wrong, lest what we build falls victim to the same issues.
In the end, this comes down to the kids for me. We want to get kids involved in their communities and politics, in whatever form that takes. Telling them not to get involved now, because the system is corrupt, is self-defeating in the long run. I am not advocating an Anon #OpRockTheVote or anything lame like that, or trying to change the individual behaviors of fellow outsiders. But as catalysts for change, we have to consider what we are changing into, what societal behaviors we are trying to alter and how. If we end up with a population that merely accepts what we tell them instead of the current regime, we will have failed in achieving real change. We should encourage as much awareness and participation as we can, in hopes of building towards a better system. We fight apathy as much as we fight oppression.