Should we confine the expression of our opposition to the channels that are made available to us by the same media institutions that overwhelmingly support the Conservatives? And if so, why? So we can avoid causing any inconvenience?
The obvious rebuttal is that I’m free to join another political party in the meantime and concentrate my efforts there. But what if there aren’t any politicians in any of the parties saying all the things that I think need to be said? And trust me, there aren’t. I don’t believe there’s a political party out there right now that’s prepared to say what really needs to be said or do what really needs to be done. And I don’t think I’m alone. It’s going to be up to citizens to figure out where we need to go and convince politicians that they need to get out in front of us if they really want to be leaders. And I don’t think it’s going to be all that easy to get their attention.
Limiting ourselves to the options presented to us on the ballot would make us passive consumers, not active participants in democracy. I think the Arab Spring protesters that Hebert invokes would be surprised to discover that they’ve been risking their lives for the right to be passive consumers. And I think it’s disturbing that a veteran political commentator who’s been paying attention for these last five years would try to promote the view that democracy begins and ends with voting.
More from one of my favourite observers, argued more eloquently and convincingly than I ever could.
Widening inequality gap, failure of democratic governance, neutering the mechanisms of accountability, kabuki-theatre partisanship, and the best the current crop of pundits can do is lecture us about voting? As pogge says, what if voting isn’t enough?