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Being a cosmopolitan, I’ve kept tabs on just about every election around the world in the past few decades, and I see that the dial falls on New Zealand to once again pick a new reptilian overlord in disguise. But like the rest of you, I am generally tinged with voter apathy, and it’s not hard to see why. The politicians are all concerned with keeping their jobs rather than actual issues, the issues that are tackled don’t even affect you all that much, and potentially nothing will change. I’ve covered every election scandal and Prefix-gate since *occurrence deleted*, and in my experience, everyone just votes for their favourite colour. Hence the punny title of this week’s column. But since everyone at least aims to vote in line with their own personal beliefs and values, the question widens to this: Which colour Kool-Aid do you want to drink? And if you choose to imbibe it, what does it say about you?
Everyone judges issues in an abstract; for instance, when it was still an actual issue, equal marriage for gays and lesbians came down to whether people thought it would destroy the perfect ‘ideal’ of marriage. Politicians promise a ‘brighter future’, which just sets my Orwellian sense a-tingling and has me practicing my archery for the Hunger Games. Choosing one party over another throws you into one extreme personification of that party’s followers, and soon it’s just an arena of hippies and filthy corporate-types. And I’m just here on the sidelines selling popcorn. Hell, I can only really do a column on the election in the abstract because the Dirty Politics guy beat me to all the good conspiracies. And if I can’t report on conspiracies going on in the abstract, then the Platonists win.
Thing is, we get stuck on the choice. The problem is we sometimes don’t like to identify as anything; that this one choice will define you. You get so hung up on looking at where your personal views match that you fail to make any kind of informed choice at all. This is a phenomena some have dubbed “The Sorting Hat Fetishism”. You are defined not by what you believe, but what society tells you that you are based on where your views line up, based on a few small ‘quirks’ of your personality that paradoxically line up neatly with an established group. Which means I finally I get to play this card: this is a conspiracy you commit among your very selves.
But you can have your existential crises on your own time. Your one obligation this year out of every four is to tick a few boxes, in whatever way you choose. You don’t have to take it seriously, but don’t waste the opportunity.