I tried really hard not to do a post about politics y’all, I swear. But whilst this is not a post to tell you how to vote (for whoever has the best chance of outing the tories, obv), and it’s not a post about who has the best policies (absolutely not the tories), I feel it is important to talk about an aspect of politics not a lot of people are even aware of.
Simply put, this is something that happens to minorities; be it based in race, nationality, gender, sexuality, etc. Disenfranchisement is what happens when the central politics revolve around white, cisgender heteronormative narratives and fail to take into consideration the situation of others.
Disenfranchisement is being put in the situation where voting for any candidate is at detriment to yourself, and so many people in this situation legitimately choose not to vote at all.
Why am I bringing this up? Because I routinely see, and more so now we’re heading towards this ridiculous General Election, people I love and care about posting with the attitude that “if you don’t vote you don’t get to complain about the result”.
I love you, friends and gentlepeeps, but this attitude is bullshit and you need to stop.
Telling someone who literally has no horse in the race that they can’t complain is so heavily steeped in privilege it stinks. Putting aside it is usually said white, cisgender heteronormative folks having a go at the minorities, AND WE SHOULD ALL KNOW BY NOW WHY THAT IS TRASH, this sort of attitude is merely going to push these people further away from politics, and is effectively robbing them of any agency.
What should we do instead? Use our voices for something actually useful. Contact you MP/MSP/Councillor, tackle them on not considering all parts of society. Find campaigns for gender issues, racial issues, poverty issues, and send their information to your representatives. Don’t blindly vote along party lines: I get that this won’t count for the upcoming GE because the hope is TORIES OUT, but at a local level if nothing else, vote for the candidate with the most inclusive policies. Use your vote to show them the sort of world we want, push them to do better, and you give those disenfranchised a reason to participate. Or not, because at the end of the day voting is a right we don’t have to use.
Stop shaming people for being disregarded by politicians who quite often, particularly in the case of Westminster, have no idea what it is like to be an average person in this fucked up country, and instead push them to do better and actually represent us.
If you’re going to vote, vote wisely. Manifestos are often dry reads, but read them. Don’t blindly vote for parties based on one policy you happen to like. Do better, because those disenfranchised know that their vote is meaningless. Yours doesn’t have to be.