My parents are not outwardly political. I mean, they’re engaged. But there was no petitioning, picketing, or protesting during my childhood.
I know what their political leanings, are. I know which party my grandparents voted for. The conversation surrounding politics is and always has been reasonably open. In our family, there are farmers and feminists and conservatives and liberals. There’s a lot of us, so we have the numbers for variety, and that’s what makes it interesting.
The one thing that’s the same across the board, though, is that we have all been raised to respect the fact that we have the right to vote. And we’re expected to take that right seriously.
When I turned eighteen, I enrolled to vote. Right then, as soon as. I think it was an election year, in fact. (But I’m not about to do that math.) There was never a question as to if or when I would. I just did it.
With all of the discussion surrounding the same-sex marriage postal vote, one thing I was surprised to learn was how few young Australians are apparently registered to vote. I don’t know why I assumed differently, but I did. I’d also never really thought about it. Because, as I said, it was never a question for me.
The thing about voting and about democracy and about all of the uncertainty and, in some cases, horror of these turbulent times, is that you have to be involved to effect change. I know it sounds like a platitude, but it’s not. That thing people say about not being able to complain if you didn’t vote? It’s true. I know the run-around can be a pain: the early mornings and the lining up or the constant chasing up to change addresses. But it’s worth it because this postal vote on same sex marriage and equality has the potential to effect change.
For the record; I think this whole thing is a farce and I absolutely understand the anger and the upset and the hurt and the want to boycott. But whatever your feelings about the vote may be, I do think you should vote. I believe it’s worth it. Because if we rally together, we can send an unmistakable message that equality is what’s right. That we want it and that we expect it.
There’s a passage in Rebecca Solnit’s collection of essays, ‘Men Explain Things to Me’, that I think encapsulates precisely why everyone should be in favour of marriage equality. It reads:
It’s time to slam the door shut on that era. And to open another door, through which we can welcome equality: between genders, among marital partners, for everyone in every circumstance. Marriage equality is a threat: to inequality. It’s a boon to everyone who values and benefits from equality. It’s for all of us.
So please vote. Register—there’s still time—and vote. Update your details, fill out the silly card, and let them know that we want change. And then, when the time comes to vote big, which will probably happen sooner rather than later, vote then, too. Use your voice, not just for yourself, but for us all.
To participate in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, you need to be correctly enrolled by 24 August 2017.
Go here to check your enrolment.
Go here to update your details.
Go here to enrol.