I live in one of the safest seats in the country and I’ve always lived among similar demographics. For a couple of years in my teens, I was reluctant to register to vote. Sure, I wanted to participate in governing by this means given me and it was very exciting. It was that I knew that whomever I vote for, it wouldn’t make any difference, because the same party would hold the seat for decades.
It’s one of the most disappointing things about the system; my vote won’t count unless I move.
What I’d love would be to live in a swing seat. Politicians would actually have to work for our votes, not rely on our class or other allegiances. There would be debates and a jumble of opinions and people would have to think about their decisions so much more. It would be marvellous to see democracy in action and to have an impact myself in this fashion; that is, with my vote.
Actually, something similar goes for legislative bodies. For those who don’t know, in the Australian system and and in certain cousins thereof, conscience votes are only held under particular circumstances (generally “moral issues”) and generally party members are supposed to vote in line with their party. (Want to know more?) I know, right? Imagine if The West Wing was like that; Josh would be out of a job. Australian politics would be quite a different game.
I also miss the Democrats, because I think that democracy works best with a range of opinions. And we’re winnowing down to fewer ideas and options. I want more choice and tighter arguments, not to have to choose between which set of principles I need to compromise. Of course, there’s always going to be compromise, I just want less of it.