I hate elections. And I particularly hate the US presidential election. Try as I might, I just cannot work up the slightest enthusiasm for it. Or even the vaguest smidgeon of interest. I ought to feel guilty about that but I don’t. Try as I might to ignore the saturation coverage, it’s unavoidable, and irritating the hell out of me.
It’s not as if I hate politics. On the contrary, I’m enormously interested in politics. Just not the party sort.
I know I should pay attention as the outcome of the US election will affect us here in the UK, and indeed everywhere else on the planet. But the reason for my lack of interest is that regardless of who wins, the president will still get in. And whichever one it is, I don’t expect US policy towards the rest of the world to really change. America will still continue to be boss of us all and do what the hell it likes, regardless of how it will affect other nations and peoples. So – no change. Although I’d love to be proved wrong. So, I’ve spent the last 10 months not reading the coverage in the press and I won’t be staying up to watch the results tonight. In the morning, I expect to shrug my shoulders and say “so what?”.
My attitude is probably shocking to many. But I feel little different about elections here. Whoever you vote for, the government still gets in. I think part of my disillusionment is to do with two-party electoral systems, which inevitably polarise voters and if neither party really represents you, then you have a limited choice – vote for the party you hate least, vote for the party that is closest to your own beliefs and ignore the bits you feel uncomfortable about, vote tactically (possibly for a smaller party) to keep out the party you hate most or not vote at all.
Since I returned to the UK, the latter has been my preferred option. I loathe New Labour (and wasn’t mad keen on the old lot either) but hate the Tories even more (I have vivid memories of Thatcher in power). And the other parties are not really in the running.
Funnily enough, when I lived in the Netherlands, I used my vote. I wasn’t allowed to vote in the national elections, as a foreign resident, but I was permitted to vote in the European elections and did, because I’m pro-European, and I was also able to vote in the local elections – in the Netherlands having the local vote is seen as important because it has a direct influence what happens in your local area and giving foreign residents the right to vote encourages inclusion and a sense of community. It helps that the Netherlands has a multi-party, proportional representation system, which means there is also a stronger likelihood of finding a candidate to vote for who represents something close to your beliefs. And the PR system means that your voice will be heard to some degree.
Coming home meant returning to the same old, same old and I just don’t care. So shoot me.
I’m sure I’m not alone…