May Day, Kitchener redux and Voting.

May Day Celebration isn’t a big thing in the USA. We don’t celebrate it as the start of Spring and there’s certainly no National Holiday for us on what is largely International Worker’s Day in many countries in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, it usually just passes us by as a regular working day. This year, though,  many are talking to the streets, mainly protesting the current state of affairs in the government and the recent policies of the US Executive.

I find all this latter day engagement in the system fascinating. It is interesting to see just how much politics is being talked about these days compared to only a few short years back. This is a good thing as perhaps more people are finally taking active interest in the way they are being governed.

170501_KitchenerVOTE.jpg

That being said, my point today is to highlight the still pathetic engagement that voters generally have in our Western democracies. It is staggering that we pontificate about installing democracies onto other cultures, rightly or wrongly, and belittle anyone who does not espouse our values and yet, when it comes around to election time quite often fewer than half of eligible voters actually turn up to the polls to actually make their mark in the box.

The next big election in my little transatlantic world is in the UK next month and I could not but help create this poster based on one of the many (in)famous WWI recruiting posters put out with Lord Kitchener’s prominent mustachioed visage.

My perspective – get out there and do your democratic duty by casting your vote – even if it means writing in someone else’s name because you don’t like any candidates. If you don’t make this small effort what right do you have to even comment on our government?

~Richard

Get Out and Vote – NOW

Today is THE day, so get out there, fellow Americans and HAVE YOUR SAY. If you don’t vote today, in one of the most important elections we have ever had, then you have no right to comment come tomorrow.

161108_ivotedtoday
image from Daily Kos, copyright unstated, used for editorial expediency 

I have done my civic duty, so come tomorrow I will be commenting, one way or another!
~Richard

Democracy is voting FOR something

A lot can happen in a few days. The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom has shown us just how the real world and virtual world are connected and controlled. In a democratic referendum last Thursday 51.9 % of those who voted (17.41M people) voted to leave the European Union, against 48.1 % (16.14M) who wanted to remain.

The fallout was almost immediate.

As the Pound Sterling fell to it’s lowest rate in 30 years, there were mass protests from both sides, and cries of “foul play” not only from those on the losing side, but strangely, also from many who voted to leave but on waking to the result, think they were cheated somehow. Many have said that they would have voted differently and they only wanted to register “a protest vote.” Others have claimed they were misled, didn’t understand the full implications, or thought their vote “wouldn’t count.” Well, here’s some sobering news – your votes do count!

Still, at least those complaining did actually vote. At 72%, voter turnout was very high by modern standards, but it still means that more than 1 in 4 voters couldn’t be bothered. That’s 13.04 million wasted opportunities for a voice in the shaping their own future! 

The glory days of Britain may have waned but this small island has given one last lesson to all who live in a hard-won democracy – USE YOUR VOTE and vote wisely. Most importantly, vote on something you believe in, not against something as a rhetoric-fueled protest.

Consider this wisely as we live in dangerous times.

~Richard

Democracy inaction

 

Prompted by this article in the Evening Standard

160625_DemocraticInaction

One:

I didn’t think my vote would count

He mumbled the day afterwards

All I wanted was to make a point

And give Cameron a bloody nose

Now I look at the map

And see four countries where there was one

I don’t know what’s going to happen

I wish we could have a second chance

Two:

I didn’t think my vote would count

He mumbled the day afterwards

I thought it was in the bag

So I went to the pub instead

Now I look at the map

And see four countries where there was one

I don’t know what’s going to happen

I wish we could have a second chance

 
~Richard

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