I’ve written on a number of occasions about voting, if you’ve read any of my missives you’ll know it’s something about which I am fiercely passionate.
It matters not whether it’s local, state or federal government elections or a national plebiscite, I believe we have a responsibility to have our say when the time arrives.
And, of course it should go without saying that if you don’t vote, I don’t ever want to hear of a complaint or opinion about anything. EVER!
Perhaps I can now point a finger at the pollies who didn't vote yesterday in one of the biggest debates in our county's history.
Basically, I couldn’t say it any better than Steve Earle on his liner notes for the Copperhead Road album, if you don’t vote, don’t bitch.
You can imagine my horror then when recently a mate told me he attends neither the ballot box nor postal vote.
Let me tell you, this is a very intelligent man, arty, musical, brilliant in business, and, from a family background in the judiciary.
He counts among his family, lawyers and a former judge, and former armed service relatives.
My mate also sprinkles the names of former Prime Ministers and Ambassadors through a conversation, not for any sort of flash, these people may not be friends, they are however long standing associates who will answer his phone call.
One other point, if I am about number 8 on the eccentric scale, he could easily be considered about 15, and that might be generous someday.
We were deep into one of our wide ranging conversations one day when I started railing against people who didn’t vote in the council elections and yet whinge about almost everything.
“Well, I don’t vote”
The coffee nearly took a return trip all over the table.
“Why on earth not?” I asked.
“I am at an age where I don’t know if I have anything to offer. I have seen the processes corrupted and manipulated, people become devoured by the system, agendas forwarded for self interest and the little bloke forgotten at the hands of a fallible system.”
“In addition to all that I’ve lived overseas for long periods of my life and I believe you’re not here to be a part of the outcome, you probably shouldn’t be part of the decision making on an issue”
“So, you’re too cynical?” I offer through my clear exasperation.
“I guess in many ways, yes”
Then I bring out the Steve Earle quote.
“Ahhh yes, great album and a perfect sentiment, so I do my best not to bitch”
Time to bring out the big guns.
“Your rellies fought for your right to have your say and you are stepping on their legacy by not accepting that responsibility”
“I understand that sentiment and yes, it has caused plenty of discussion around the table, however, just as you are exercising your right to vote, I am exercising mine not to. That doesn’t mean the family is happy about it, they see it as just the way it is. They know my reasoning.”
Another salvo; “If you don’t care how the pollies spend your hard earned tax dollars, give me a third of your money each week.”
“Would you expect your kids to vote?”
“They are adults, they know my stance, and are, I think, able to formulate their own decisions given the grounding and education we afforded them in their formative years.”
At this juncture I come to the realisation that despite my protests and arguments my point has been made but not necessarily acceded to.
When I think back though, I can’t remember a time when my buddy has actually expressed an opinion about the state of taxation, the roads, immigration or anything else.
He’s a world away from ignorant or dis engaged and perhaps at an age of letting some stuff go and not sweating what you can’t control, I don’t really know, however he does hold strong convictions, and one of them is to not try to influence anyone else’s.
I will endeavour to change his mind, the only problem being, I know there’s not a chance in hell of doing so.