Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Joking Aside

All those who know me, know I like a joke. They know I have, in the past, said things like such as "If I got in power, the first thing I'd do is get rid of this Democracy business" and "The reason Democracy doesn't work is that it puts power the hands of the stupid people".

But the truth is that I'm really do believe that, while it is flawed, Democracy is the best system we as a species have come up with. I am proud to live in a democratic country. Proud that my countrymen fought and died to ensure that I have the vote and (relatively) free speech some 60 years after the last world war.

I am proud to say that, at approaching 34 years old, I have voted in every single election that I have been eligible for since turning 18 - including 3 general elections (I missed out on the '92 election by six months), local and European elections.

You see, because I'm proud that my countrymen fought to maintain our democracy when it was threatened, I now believe that it is my duty to have my say. Yeah, sure, our "first past the post" system means that my vote hasn't really counted very much the last three times we elected a government for the simple reason my personal views were at odds to the majority of the rest of the constituency. But the point is that I had my say.

And while I accept that part of democracy is that the right to not vote is as important as the right to vote - not voting is not something I'll ever understand. Even if you don't like any of the candidates, go along and spoil your ballot paper. Write "None of the above" on the bottom if you like. But I believe you must get off your arse and go to the polling station.

And so, to my point. We are exactly two weeks away from possibly the most important of all democratic elections. I really do wish I had a say in who will win the most powerful elected office on this planet. (Yes, I am British, but even I accept that The President of the United States is the most powerful man in the world) But the fact is, I don't.

So, this is a plea from one Brit to every US citizen who reads this. Vote. Get up of the sofa, go to the polling station and mark an 'x' on the paper, or punch a hole, or press the screen, or whatever it is they do in your neck of the woods. Just vote.

I don't even care who you vote for. Well, I do. I have an opinion. It's just not my place to tell you who to vote for. It's not anyone's place to tell you who to vote for. That, my friends, is the beauty of democracy - you have to make your own mind up. You have the right to make your own mind up. Your countrymen fought for that right.

So, on the 4th of November, whatever you do, and whoever you vote for. Just go out and Vote.

Just Vote.

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