You’re six years old. You don’t quite understand the way the world works and depend almost entirely on your guardians for shelter in a troublesome world.
Caught unaware, you’re separated from your guardians and end up locked in a room. The walls are covered in graffiti, something your young mind finds entertaining but ultimately can’t make sense of, and you realise that you’re not alone in the room. You feel a brief wave of euphoria as you realise that there’s a small group of adults in the same room. Maybe they can help you?
Crippling grief races through your body when you realise these adults are definitely not here to help you. You know these people. They’re bad people. You’ve been warned about these people. Suddenly, one turns to you and speaks with a beautiful, powerful voice. You feel safe almost immediately.
Somehow, you know this is wrong. The voice is most certainly appeasing but so was the music the pied piper played. With a split second’s thought you realise that the voice is overbearingly fake; an act.
It’s asking you to choose who to play with. It’s inviting you to make a decision.
Suddenly, you’re aware. This isn’t going to end well for you. No matter your choice, dark things are going to happen. Strangely, you’re comforted by this. The knowledge that something bad will happen is playing havoc with the pit of your stomach but this is eased with the ability to choose your fate.
You’re out of your depth and you know it. You were warned about playing with fire but this time it seems ok; you’re going to be burned anyway. You might as well choose who holds the blowtorch.
It’s for this reason that I’ve decided not to vote today. Whatever happens, I’m going to be screwed over by a politician. By voting for one of them I feel as though I’m giving them even a modicum of consent. I’d much rather be an unwilling victim than someone who gives the impression that I welcome my doom.
I love democracy and the ideology behind it. The problem is that, if life were a video game, balance issues would have been noted in the gameplay by now. My one vote is just as powerful (or powerless, depending on your levels of cynicism) as someone who’s about to move to Spain for their retirement. My solo vote, representative of every opinion and value that I hold, is worth as much as the vote of the local aggressive drunk. Most scarily of all, my solitary vote holds the same value as the people who need it most. The people who need their vote to count, the people who need their voice to be heard, can be drowned out by people who vote because it’s something they do. If I don’t value the impact of my vote then why should I be allowed to dilute the choice of someone who does care?
Recently, I was told that my vote is like an investment and that I should value it. And that’s the thing — I do value my vote. I actually value it very highly.
Higher than any of the investment options available to me, at least.