Thursday, 8 June 2017

I wish I hadn't voted

So I just voted in the 2017 General Election and stopped off at the corner shop next door to the polling station for milk as I was down to only one cup of tea's worth in the fridge.

The truth is though that I didn't want to vote today.

I forced myself to go to the polling station not because I wanted to, or because I felt like it was the right thing to do, or because I had a particularly strong leaning to a candidate in my area, but because I felt absolutely bullied into it by the endless amount of 'encouragement' and 'reminders' from the news, media, social media and people in general.

Case in point, I'd been in work all of five minutes this morning when I encountered my head teacher in the kitchen - her first words to me were a demanding "have you voted yet?"

All day and week there has been a deluge of posts on social media from people I follow and random others who have been retweeted/shared into my feed about the election; these posts have varied in content and length but all had one central theme - that you *must* vote.

Well, no, actually, that's not the case.

Yes people died for our democracy, people died to give someone my age / gender / social status the right to vote but they did all of that for me to have the *right* to vote, not to be conscripted in to a *compulsory* process.

There is nothing enshrined in British law that states taking part in the democratic process is *required* of citizens, nothing that states that those in power only represent those who voted or that I don't have the right to demand those in charge are held to the moral and ethical views of our country regardless of whether or not I voted for them.

At the end of the day I feel very uncomfortable about that fact that I forced myself to vote today, I went out in search of milk and allowed myself to give in to 'peer pressure' in a way I never did as a kid, doing something because I feared the vitriol of others finding out that I hadn't.

And I wish I hadn't.

I wish I'd told every single person who posted "you must vote" "you need to vote today" "everyone should be voting" that they could all go to hell and I would make my own choice on whether or not to use the democratic right afforded to me.

Still, at least I have milk now.

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