Feeling part of something bigger than you is great; making sure you don’t compromise yourself is greater.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m half Scottish, or if it’s because my parents were never political ‘die-hards’, but I never understood why people choose to support a party rather than an ideology here in Malta.
See, to me, it makes more sense to support and stand for particular values. Those, at least, don’t shift or change depending on the party leader…
More importantly, however, I always feel like I’ve been true to myself when I leave the voting booth and I never feel like anyone owes me anything or that I owe anything to anyone.
And while, yes, you may argue that political parties stand for a set of a values – Alla hares, le, ifhem! – those values seem to constantly shift… Which begs the question: do most people believe in anything or are they headless chickens? Because I cannot understand how someone who’s conservative or liberal, or someone who prefers socialism to capitalism, can always support the same party. Particularly as most parties are conservative one day and liberal the next.
In a way, supporting a party is a bit like selling your political allegiance to the highest bidder; not for favours or promotions, but to make your voice heard. So, for example, if you’re an animal lover, then you should side with and vote for whoever has the best policies for animal welfare.
Now I can feel some people rolling their eyes going: “Well, isn’t this obvious, James?”
Well, it is obvious – but not obvious enough by the looks of it. Switching sides is still frowned upon; voting for the party your family doesn’t support is a leap of faith; and almost all small parties have found it impossible to get even one seat in Parliament.
This has resulted in both major parties adapting their policies on certain issues – such as civil liberties or women’s rights – according to the loudest call from the electorate. But because they do it out of necessity rather than wilfully, most things are not done the way they should or are not followed through properly.
So come this weekend, please do keep that in mind because if you truly want to live in a better country, then you need to give your vote to someone who truly appeals to you and not to someone who thinks you owe them something.
Your vote is yours; and it is a weapon. Use it wisely.
What do you think of James’s argument?
Let us know in the comments section below.