So, there is an election, very soon. And since the internet is such an underutilised tool for the output of political option, I thought I would be really original and throw out some thoughts on how we should approach voting in the election, on this exciting new platform I’ve recently come across called “blogging.” I’ve also come up with a cool new format, which I’m tentative calling “the rule of three,” where I make three broad points, and then draw them together with a snappy conclusion at the end. Really cutting-edge stuff happening right here…
1. Don’t just vote for yourself: vote for us all
When it comes to casting their vote, many people do so by asking the question “what’s in it for me?” But we shouldn’t. Our thinking needs to be broader than just our own needs (or wants.) We need to think of what’s best for our friends and our families. We need to think what’s best for our neighbours and the people we pass in the Street. We need to think of what’s best for the elderly and the young. We need to think of what’s best for the sick and those living in poverty. We need to think about what best for the environment and the economy. We need to think of what best for the country as a whole, and even what’s best for the world as a whole.
I believe this, not only as a Christian, following the great commandment to love other as ourselves, but also as a democrat (as someone who believes that democracy is the best was to govern a people, not as in the American political party,) as this is the only way to make democracy work as it should. We all have different needs. We must think of all these needs when we cast our vote.
This doesn’t mean that we take ourselves completely out of our vote. We still need everyone to bring their ideas, values and experiences to the ballot box. But we bring these not the question “what’s in it for me?” but rather “What best for New Zealand?” or even “what will make the world a better place?”
What does this look like?
It means we don’t vote for tax cut, just because we want a few extra dollars in our pockets, but only if we believe all benefits when taxes a low.
It means we don’t vote more benefits because we will befit form them ourselves, but only if we believe that we are all better off when all people are looked after with a basic income.
It means we don’t vote for better education so that we can further out own education, but only if we believe that we are all better of living in a better educated society.
It means we don’t vote for tougher immigration laws because we are screed they migrants will come in and take our jobs, but only if we believe that the country can’t handle more people.
It means that we don’t vote for environmental issues because we like to go for long walks on short beaches, but only if believe that the beaches should still be in the same place and be just as beautiful in a hundred years’ time.
It means we don’t vote for Lord Bucket Head just for a laugh, but only if we believe that we are better off when we laugh with you (or at you) for voting for him.
I’m sure by now you get the picture, so let’s move on…
2. Vote out of hope, not out of fear.
Fear sells, and there always more than enough of it to around at election time. Why? Because we all crave security. And often it comes from a place of wanting to protect to good things we have: our families and friends, our homes, our jobs, the environment. It’s not surprising: when we have good things, we want to protect them.
The trouble is, fear is an inward-looking posture. It makes us focus on ourselves, and not others, on what I have, not on what we could have, on the status quo, rather than what could be.
Fear cannot make the world a better place.
Only hope can do that.
To hope can be a scary thing. Because hope, by nature, means looking forward to something which does not yet exist. As so there is always a risk that it may not work out, a risk that we may not make the gains we are hoping to make, a risk that we make lose some of the things we hold dear.
But we must hope. All change begins with hope. To make the world a better place, we must for hope for the better world we seek, before it can be brought into reality.
So, when you take the ballot paper into the cardboard screen, make sure you take your hopes for the feature with you, and leave your fears behind with the person who gives you the “I’ve Voted” Sticker.
3. Voting is for everyday
Voting on election day is important: we’re electing a government who will set the laws and lead us as a nation for the next three years. But it’s not just in election day we need to vote. And no, I am not talking about early voting.
We vote every day. We vote with how we spend, save or give our time, our resources, our talents. So, while we are taking the time to think about how we cast our vote in the election, lets also take some time to think about how we vote everyday.
We should do so because we live in a World where things matter.
The environment and the places where we live: they matter.
The things we do, what we eat, what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears: they matter.
Pizza: it matters.
The people we met, the people we love, our family, our friends: They matter.
You. Yes, you, reading this: you matter.
We live in a world where there are so many things that matter, and yet we also live in a world which in not perfect. Far from it. As so we must do better to make the world a better place. And yes, we do that by voting in the election. But that can’t be all we do. We must also vote every day, by the way that we live, by the choices we make. Because every choice we make changes something. Let’s make sure that changes are for the better.
So when we spend our money, do we do so asking “what’s in it for me?” Or do we think about what best for others?
Do we spend our time living in fear? Or do we spend our time living in hope?
Are our talents being used just for or own benefit? Or are they being used to make the word a better place for all?
As I conclude, I realised that I’ve kind of ended up talk about faith, hope and love. The love and the hope parts are obvious, and I have heard faith describe as the daily living out of what we believe in, so you could call the last point faith if you want to. Looks like I’ve ended up with a sermon. Whoops. That’s wasn’t the plan…
But anyway, that how I think we should approach voting. Of course, you should also do your research before you vote, so you know what you are voting on. So take the time to understand not only the policies of the parties standing, but also the philosophical and worldview assumptions which underpin the polices, which will guide the MP if elected into government. Also, look at the people in party to see if they have the leadership to turn the polices in workable legislation which will do what its deigned to do, and make the world a better place.
Finally, however you vote, that main thing is that you vote. But it would be nice your vote also helped make this world a little bit better…