The other night I had a dream. Like most of my dreams, most of the specifics and substance fled instantly from my memory. I was somewhere – was I living there? Possibly. Possibly I was hosting an event of some kind. What I do remember is that Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg were all present. Whatever else, I remember that. Obviously, the upcoming election has gone to my head.
I want to make a difference. I want to use my voice (and my vote). I’m trying to gather all the information I can, work out what’s important, see through the clutter of competition and know what I think. So I’m reading all the election supplements and relevant newspaper articles. I want to know what to do. I want to know who to vote for. I want to choose wisely.
It will be interesting watching the debate tonight. It feels faintly presidential, which doesn’t seem to fit with our voting system, but I’m keen to see them, all the same.
Of course, it’s not very straightforward. Do you vote for the person or the party? And frankly, which person: Prime Minister or local MP? Is it about what they stand for politically? Or who they are? And what about safe seats, two party races, swing voters and tactical voters? It’s not just a case of saying what (or who) you want. It’s about understanding the choice you have in the first place, and what to do about it. In my head the local and the national don’t sit easily together (because of the parliamentary system, I suppose), so focussing on these elements separately, can lead to two different outcomes. It’s a trifle mind boggling. It seems to me, the only way to get the passion of the voting public back into politics is to reform the whole system. But it’s not going to happen in the next month.
I know some will choose, in the face of this, simply not to vote. I can’t make a difference, they say. But I am going to vote. I’ll do the best I can at deciding it, pray for guidance, try to be well informed. But my vote, I’ve decided, is going to mean more than that.
I’m voting to get involved.
Whoever is running the country in a month’s time, I need to act. I need to stand up for the things I am passionate about, be a voice for the voiceless, call for justice for the powerless. I want to motivate myself to write letters to my government and my MP, participate in petitions, and, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, raise awareness of the things that matter. The things that are unacceptable in our world today.
Yes, I still want to change the world.
We stand back and say ‘I won’t make any difference’. Well, you know what I think about that. We can all change the world a little. Just because we can’t do a lot, does it mean we shouldn’t do something? But I would also say that I would rather try and fail than never try at all. Will I walk away? Will I refuse to do anything?
I would rather know that I’ve tried.
I’m voting to get involved. Hold me to it. Being flawed and human I’ll get distracted, tired, forgetful, apathetic. But I don’t want to be. I want to be passionate about the things I care about and I want to carry that passion into all areas of my life.
I’m voting to get involved.