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This week, Salient publishes a ~balanced~ feature about voting versus not voting. As a ‘representative’ student publication, Salient often feels that this balance is necessary. Salient is wrong about a lot of things. Being balanced is not valuable. It’s patronising and it devalues the cases in which an actual debate would be useful. To be fair, our academic climate is also somewhat to blame for this trend in softcore debate. Yes, seeing both sides of something can prove, well, that you are capable of seeing things from the other side. Woohoo. Well done. But actually in a lot of cases, you see the other side and the other side is FUCKED. Recognising and acting on and raising awareness of something that is FUCKED is super on-brand. Specifically, the thing that is fucked here is that it may not be clear to some people that not voting is a vote for the fucking right. The right actively benefits from political disengagement because the people who are still going to vote no matter how unappealing politics look are the same fucking right-voting petrified wooden arseholes who are completely out of touch with what is going to work for the next generation of this country. This is why being balanced is not valuable. We need instead to fully embrace:
How to be Unbalanced
The first part of this is recognising cases in which balance is not going to best serve either sweet or shirty interests. For example, we do not need 50 per cent of eligible voters not to vote. Democracy does not work like that. (This column is not about how democracy doesn’t work because I wouldn’t have had room in my word count to deal with that even before it was slashed in half*). How democracy does work is that you vote. Definitively. Not for the two parties that are going to best balance each other out, but for the people who you want to represent you. And then you FUCKING HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE for how they represent you.
So voting is the cute bit. The shirty bit is to vent the presumably radical political energy that was going to stop you voting in a way that is actually going to be worth it. Maybe try directly engaging with the reason for your desire not to vote. (You live in the capital city of a country renowned for having accessible political figures.) Understand that balance means equilibrium and equilibrium reinforces inertia and inertia means that NOTHING WILL CHANGE. Fuck the balance.
*This is not a veiled barb at the editors. Veiled barbs are not shirty. What is shirty are unveiled, unbalanced barbs. For example: “Salient 2014 has been an insipidly optimistic and populist publication undercut by questionable neoliberal white-dude interests.”