Why can’t undecided voters just make up their minds already?
FACT: The Americans make jokes about undecided voters. Some of the journalists and TV hosts who publicly ridicule undecided voters are also confessed undecided voters. However, there’s a difference between undecided and ignorant.
Without mentioning names and without boring you with politics, I will simply put my own thoughts as this:
I don’t belong to any party but I have always voted for the same one ever since I moved to Perth. But when you no longer recognise the party sometimes you want to consider supporting the lesser evil. But is the lesser good enough? As a citizen and resident of Western Australia, I’m finding it hard to choose who to vote for in the 2013 State Election next weekend, 9 March. It’s harder now because our situations has changed at home, with the autism diagnosis and my graduation. So priorities are different now.
However, the Liberal and Labor leaders and my local candidates have not yet persuaded me enough to even walk to the voting station and I have less than a week to decide. I’m reading and re-reading their proposals but none of these people successfully, clearly defined their principles. And so today, with 5 days to go, I’m an undecided voter.
In addition, our political journalists and chatty panels on TV are not helping much. There’s a lot of column-styled reporting with personal opinions which also includes the occasional mistranslated information about what the parties are trying to tell us. The media tend to cover what they believe would bring a bigger audience and then bring out mostly the negatives to initiate debate.
As a voter, I’m unable to know what exactly to expect from them because they go back and forth with their offers. If I blink too fast I miss a message one day, and if I’m too busy the next day to read anything then I miss another piece of their discussions. This is like living in a house where internal communication between the family is weak and mostly one-way, and no one has a clue what’s going on or what to expect.
None of the candidates in this election have given me good reasons to say “Ahah! That’s my man! That’s one killer proposal! Way to go!” But nah, I’m an undecided voter and I feel so disconnected from their agendas. I have always thought that I would side with the candidate who offers more for families. But now that I have chosen to really get going with focusing on my career, I also want to side with the party who supports business development, because I have a dream to help others improve their businesses or even run my own.
But there is always that one thing missing from the candidates or their parties, and I just can’t put my finger on it. In one corner they appear gentle and wanting families to come out on top, without the rest of the population falling back and without the economy suffering. The other corner seems to prioritise business and tourism development without families suffering, and I totally want that, too. But they are both unable to show me enough balance in their proposals. Thus undecided voter, I am.
Imagine if these parties came in the form of two individuals looking to bid for my adoption when I needed a home, I would more likely ask them to move in together and let’s all be one big family because they have the potential to complete each other. But you can’t put together two people who have almost opposite priorities. A lot of relationships fall apart because of this. The gentle one would put family first and then become disappointed in the other half because they choose to put their business first.
So my idea of merging the proposals won’t work. Bummer! So now what? Make a sacrifice? Choose the family guys just because they are offering more to parents and families? Or choose the business and growth guys if I want a much stronger revenue-making economy and a future in business?
I have looked at all the other things both parties are offering on a state and local level but nothing really sits them 100% in my books. I feel they need to re-edit, re-word and re-present their cases before I can make my final decision. My ideal candidates would go back on television, radio or in newspaper one last time and leave out all the numbers, leave out all the fancy hoo-has of branding and advertising, and would just tell me in one sentence:
“If you vote for me you will all win in every single way, and nothing will be excluded, no man will be left behind, no services or persons will be sacrificed, no animal would be hurt, and not one single cent will be wasted!”
Argh, if only.
(Note: the following are not real examples, I’m just using them to explain my argument!)
What I’m dead sure about as a voter is what I don’t want of a government. I don’t want a government who will force me to accept that we need to cut funding in tertiary education just so we can help autistic children. My autistic child will need tertiary education if he some day chooses to attend an institution.
I also don’t want a government whose leader will force me to agree that we need to cut back on anti-drug programs so that we can put a light rail service in an area outside my residential zone just so people can stop driving cars. Excuse me, I live South of the River, and none of my loved ones do drugs, so you have not explained to me why I should care about your anti-drugs campaign or your North of the River traffic plans.
(Disclaimer: as I said, the above are not real examples, I was just using them to explain my point!)
But as we all know, the state of the Australian economy is… I can’t explain it, but let’s just assume we all believe that the WA state is in a not-so-good and not-so-bad state. Because of it’s positioning, our politicians make sacrifices, swapping billions of dollars from one program to another. Well, what else can they do? There’s not enough gold, diamonds and oil to help us all.
So as citizens we feel that we are punished, forced to get on with it, accept sacrifices, continue to whinge about it, cop crap services, accept some more sacrifices, eat two-minute noodles to avoid begging for Centrelink payments, then cop some more crap services. The cycle goes on with every single election cycle.
We see it as if we are thumping along, following like ants. In the queue we see parents of sick children who can’t find affordable services, mums whose jobs were mysteriously ‘made redundant’ because they reported something and no one supported them, middle-aged couples fighting about where on Earth to put Mother because all the homes are full or expensive and her needs are killing the marriage, and teenagers who were badly guided and are now in the hands of the law because no one cared about them.
We feel like we have to go through all this while still holding on to our dreams, with the hope we can reach our goals before our time comes to leave. All this happens while we gain almost nothing back but small bits of some services, because it will take years before the new government can really make a change that could make life different for us. By then, many will be too old to care, we will be caring more about which community centre has Bingo on tonight.
And this, this takes me back to the beginning – who to vote for? Which party do I allow to re-kickstart this ugly cycle? I shall go back to my reading and see if there’s anything strong that can tug at my heart.
Perhaps I need to watch Bruce Almighty all over again. Remember him? Jim Carrey as Bruce? Yeah, he complained about God too often and then is given the powers to teach him a lesson about how tough, how difficult, how incredibly hard it is to run the world.
If only God could send me those powers! I would cast a spell where everyone is saint and where all the evilness, jealousy, arrogance, selfishness, back-stabbing, crimes, violence, wars, famines, and diseases and other bad elements are removed and
“You will all win in every single way, and nothing will be excluded, no man will be left behind, no services or persons will be sacrificed, and not one single cent will be wasted!”