Ever herad the phrases, "Vote with your feet," or "Vote with your wallet," or other similar catchphrases from people trying to tell you what to do? What if your feet are sore from wearing cheap shoes that fell apart a month after you bought them? What if the only thing left in your wallet are your receipts?
Well, here's another way to think about your vote this election.
Look back over your record collection, CD collection, or MP3 download folders. Keep an eye out for those decisions you made when people weren't screaming at you for your vote, and see if you can spot any patterns.
"Maori Boy" by JGeek and the Geeks, released one year ago today.
If you find that you've paid good, hard-earned money on bands like Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down, or Faith No More, chances are you've already given at least some thought to the questions they raise- did you do what they told ya? Why don't Presidents fight the wars? What is it? Who knows. But it's a fair bet that those bands are likely to be more socially progressive than many of the right-wing parties contesting the 2011 election.
If your collection features rappers, though, such as NWA, Eminem, Kanye West, Jay Z, Public Enemy, Outkast, and so forth, the message might be a bit murkier- modern rappers are as much in awe of money and the privilege it brings as they are sceptical that someone of their background will attain it. Usually, a rapper's early work is more critical of the elite in their society than after they make it big, and usually the rapper will brag about how their mercantile and musical prowess (their mastery of The Game, innate Pimp-ness, the dopeness of their flow, etc) enabled them to reach the heights they have achieved. That being said, would they be invited to a tea and cake sit-down with John Key and John Banks?
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and so on, would tend to indicate that you might harbour sentiment for those in society who are a little freer than you might be- their songs tend to feature carefree lost souls, such as the people on the river who are happy to give, or the tramps who are born to run. The young Bob Dylan spoke of how the times are a-changing, yet he restrained himself from sharing that message with the good people of China when he toured there recently. Did you buy these CDs when you were young and optimistic, or when you were older and nostalgic? Does it matter to you?
Whatever conclusions you come to about yourself and your tastes, there are probably more political and moral messages in your CD collection that you can understand than there will be in the cacophony of the election trail. Make yourself a cup of whatever you fancy, settle down in a comfy chair, and revisit some cherished memories before you turn on the TV news this evening. Keep your values in mind when you watch the party leaders slagging each other off, and ask yourself: What's in their record collections?
Too Long; Didn't Read: You make better decisions when people aren't yelling at you. Take a closer look at the things you value, before you vote for other people's values.