Thursday, October 30, 2008

Speaking out

I'm not a member of a political party. But I do believe that people should participate in our democracy, speak up about their views, and join our national conversation. It's one of the reasons I run this blog. It's also why, at the tentacled-hour of 7:30 this morning, I found myself holding one end of a bright yellow banner by the side of the road for the "Vote with both eyes open" campaign. Elections are too important to be left to the politicians; we should all speak up on them and make ourselves heard. And contrary to the fearmongering of the right (who seem to think its not speech unless you can spend more money than most New Zealanders make in a year), the Electoral Finance Act is no barrier to that.

As for the banner holding, it was good. Lots of honks of support and "good on you"s from people pleased at either our message, or just the sight of something different in the campaign. A few obscene gestures from men - exclusively men - in large, gas guzzling cars, but you expect that (arseholes are ubiquitous). The local National Party candidate, Malcolm Plimmer, was parked just down the road, and we certainly got more support than him.

There's something incredibly fulfilling about participating in our democracy, about protesting or holding a banner. It feels good - it feels like you're doing something. We should do it more often. All of us.