Here we are again, the day before an election, and here I am again, dithering over how to cast my vote.
Going back and forth over this issue and that one, this candidate and that one, I’m tempted to take refuge in the thought: well, it doesn’t matter anyway. Just one vote, even in a marginal seat, isn’t going to decide anything.
I try to be vigilant against that thought, because I don’t really believe that.
I think it matters how I vote tomorrow for several reasons. One is that, even if the impact of my decision on who the PM is come Sunday proves negligible, its impact on who I am isn’t. I will choose based on specific fears or loves, and reinforce their power over me in the process.
Another is that, even if it’s hard to get a good sense of the big picture, our innumerable tiny contributions are what it’s largely made up of. The ripple effects of my actions will often be invisible, but every day, in the words I say or don’t say, in what I buy and where I buy it from, in my work and my rest, I am casting my vote for how I want the world to be.
The philosopher Steven Garber, who writes about faith and vocation, says: “There are people who see themselves as implicated in the way the world is and ought to be. For love’s sake, they see themselves as responsible for the way the world turns out.”
One of the beauties of democracy is that it makes tangible the hidden reality of our collective life: you contribute your mite – a physical ballot paper – and it’s collected, counted.
I’ll dither, then, but not despond. The outcome is above my pay grade, but the responsibility is real.