There’s milk in the fridge. The baby and the dog got fed. You get in the shower, do your teeth and hair, get dressed and get to work. Like millions of people doing the same thing over, every month, every year. None of that changes if you vote or if you don’t.
I mean, the world keeps turning. Trucks make deliveries, networks of electricity fire along, water systems pump, eftpos systems speed money and goods along. Baddies are caught by Police, ambulances speed in and out of hospitals, people go to church, temple, lawn bowls, parties on a Saturday night, a run the next morning, and do it all again next week. Societies and economies function.
Stand on any big hill overlooking your area and you may well ask: so why vote?
It doesn’t seem to change anything that needs changing.
Most people only notice elections when we turn on the radio or tv news, or when those billboards with people we’ve never heard before sprout like ads for poorly-presented real estate dealers. And we sigh with an internal eyroll-emoji.
That thing called an ‘election’ often doesn’t affect your daily life. Sometimes democracy just feels like a meaningless, jabbering bad mood. Politics is really just a descriptive term for a process that makes mildly interesting people turn ugly.
Way less than half of eligible people voted in the last local government elections.
I’m confident that more people don’t vote, and fewer people do vote, because they don’t see what elections affect.
At the most local level of politics, Council elections have an effect when you do something as simple as walk the dog in the morning. Council affects you because you are regulated to have them chipped, and vetted, and licensed, and on a lead. Council affects you because there are few places you can let them off. Council regulates you to stop them attacking. You’ll also notice if the park gets run down.
That’s just one tiny area of your life.
You can rehearse your day and recount how many times the Council affects your life. You brush your teeth and have a shower: water quality, water bills, water colour, water reliability.
You get in the car and drive: road potholes, everyone else’s bad driving, congestion, taking too long and getting fed up, no parking, wasted time and frustration.
Another area of your life.
Elections matter when you can see change happening in your life.
Forget the speeches, the media, the needless and endless tweets and swipes and posts, the great piles of angry words. Vote on what changes your life. Vote because it changes your life.
Then at the end of every year, after Christmas has died down, ask yourself: did that election make a difference in your life?
And prepare to vote accordingly, again.