It’s election day here in the UK and as I’m writing this there are mere hours left to go out and vote. There is something in the air this time around, you can feel it. Of course, this is an important general election regardless as it is charting the course of Brexit and it’s the outcome at this late hour of negotiations. But I get the sense that this is more importance to this than anybody would care to admit. There are even people talking of a historic turn out at the polling booths this time.
I’m not writing this post to condone a political party or sway votes in the final hours of the polling. In fact, I waited to near enough close intentionally so that it is clear this is not a thinly veiled attempt at anything. I’m certainly not writing this to be a political post of sorts, as what I want to talk about is quite the contrary. Abandoning our collective over-investment in politics.
“Democracy is the worst form of government there is, except for all the others” – Winston Churchill
What I mean by that and to bounce off that Churchill quote is that politics, as I’m sure most sane people would agree – is awful. It brings out a tribal, fruit tossing and firey mob attitude to one another that achieves nothing but figurative war. We see fewer individuals and more a collective of people that are responsible for all the wrongs of society (in the worst views possible). Why is that wrong? It should be self-evident but when you see people as less of an individual and more a representation of an ideology that you disagree with, they become slightly less human. To be possibly attacked for suggesting this, but it is why the public treats politicians and to give a recent example of Theresa May as less than human coupled with utter contempt. Unless! They are the figurehead of the ideology they side with. They are in the trenches with that person and across no man’s land is the villains, kitted in all black and ready to steal our wives and murder our children. The heads of our ideologies become immaculate, free of any impurity or false thought. Just to be clear this goes for all sides of the camps.
It’s an ugly truth and not one any self-respecting individual would ever own up to contributing to. But it is certainly the case in politics and in our political systems. I don’t believe me saying this will suddenly change politics, no that is cemented, unchangeable – forever a tribal argument. But what I do hope and I’m about to encourage – step away from ideology and entrenching yourself in a camp, instead look across the battlefield from the outskirt and play your part from there. Be open-minded and be willing to vote for whoever seems the best candidate – not because the media paints a pretty picture of them or they promise nice things but because they are strong-willed, full of character and are as open-minded as I hope you will be.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”
With that said it brings me to a major issue I see going on at the moment. Beautifully skewered by a friend of mine as so; “People are replacing religion with politics”.
I wholeheartedly agree. There was a time as we all know when religion was something to cause literal war. To urge hate and distain for someone with a differing opinion. Now you may say that politics too has always been like this, true – but its never been such a focal point of peoples lives and personalities. More and more you will find people whose entire opinions of film, tv, music etc is tinted by their politics. Again perhaps something that has always been the case but I would say that these days that tint is at 100%. Our social gatherings, bars, cafes and catch-ups are now being dominated by a formerly shunned topic of discussion. What was once something kept for intellectual chambers and the odd drunken ramble is now affecting friendships, families and relationships. We’ve invested too much and people are now attending a church of ideology and of politics – shunning those who attend a rivalling opinion group.
So I kind of just want to urge people reading whether in the UK or not but especially in the UK. After tonight, no matter the outcome, whether you want Brexit or not. Step back. Step back from politics and go back to keeping it a rarely discussed topic, as something that only comes to the forefront of your life around an election or big news. Sure we are living in turbulent times of importance but don’t let it overrule your life. I’ll leave you with a bit of a joke a friend of mine brilliantly captioned:
Me with politics: