With public confidence in our government and politicians at a record low it would be easy to give up on voting. “Sure what’s the point, they’re all the same” is a frequently heard comment. The recent events in Egypt, and spreading throughout the Middle East remind us that living in a democracy, albeit a flawed one, does give us the opportunity to influence how our nation is governed. As followers of Jesus we want to ‘seek the good of the city’ and be good neighbours. Voting is one way of pursuing God’s agenda of justice and ensuring that the ‘least’ in our communities are treated fairly.
To that end Sean Mullan (EAI) and Patrick Mitchel (IBI) have written a helpful article looking at 10 areas for Christians to consider when voting such as justice, generosity, money and work, power and accountability.
The Elections Ireland website provides a helpful overview of who is standing in your constituency and links to their websites and policies.
Another interesting site is The People’s Economy set up by David McWilliams, Brian Lucey and others who have long been predicting what the government seemed oblivious to. It has some helpful FAQs and the odd satirical video…
As we approach the election, the challenge for all of us, and especially followers of Jesus is not just to stand idly by but but to use our votes wisely. That means voting for something, not just against things, it means looking at a broad range of issues – not just being single issue voters. It means no matter who is elected holding our political representatives to account, not just complaining but being willing to write, call and meet our politicians to ask them the difficult questions and agitate in a peacefully persuasive manner.
One thing is certain in my mind – it is time for a change. Fianna Fail have for too long had a monopoly on power and from my perspective have been steeped in corruption from the days of Charlie Haughey’s brown envelopes to Bertie and Brian being in bed with the bankers and developers. As the Vanity Fair article noted:
Ireland was the first European country to watch its entire banking system fail, and yet its business-friendly conservative party, Fianna Fáil (pronounced “Feena Foil”), would remain in office into 2011. There’s been no Tea Party movement, no Glenn Beck, no serious protests of any kind.
At least with this election maybe we can register a protest vote to say it’s time for change…