This is What Democracy Tastes Like

So it’s going to be voting time in Japan soon.   Or maybe in this district of Japan.  Or maybe it’s just for the school board or something like that.  Hell if I know what it’s for, no one at my work seems to know either and they’re Japanese.  How do I know that it’s going to be voting time?  Because the Japanese method of letting people know about their platform and proposals is to hire a car to drive around town with a horn blaring a recorded message to the masses.  No joke.  Aside from one rally I saw in Nagoya which felt more like stand up comedy, this has been the extent of my exposure to the local election.

Standard Japanese Election Car
Seriously, this is basically what I’ve seen and heard four times a day for the past two weeks.

 

This brought me to ask my industrious and valuable co-workers about the election.  And they don’t have a clue.  I felt right at home and I got my ranting cap ready.  Apparently Japan has the same problem as the other First World countries.  The youth and adult voters aren’t taking 20 minutes out of their busy schedules to put a few check marks or Xes on a piece of paper.  Seriously, why the hell aren’t you people voting?

Yeah yeah, I’ve heard a giant steaming pile of excuses: “my vote doesn’t matter”, “the party I like won’t win”, “I don’t agree with any of the parties”, “the government is going to be a bunch of crooks regardless”. You know what?  You can take those excuses you keep giving and stuff them in a remarkably comfortable place to a small demographic of people who enjoy that sort of thing.

Voting is important, it’s why things like school tuition and bus fares keep increasing: because the political parties know you lot are unhappy but are too bloody lazy to get out there and actually show how unhappy you are by voting against them.

When a politician says something like “Young people don’t vote and it’s a big problem”, they are in fact saying “the biggest potential voting demographic doesn’t vote and force us to talk about the issues they care about and we like it that way”. You know why politicians keep getting up in front of the camera and talking about crime and medical? Because the elderly love that kind of stuff and their voting more than you are.  Seriously, 80 year old cripples are worth targeting and we aren’t.

This is especially important because back home in good ol’ Vancouver, Canada there is a vote to increase the taxes by half a percent to pay for transit fees.  Apparently the bus service in Vancouver has once again buggered up despite posting record bonuses for their executives.  Apparently these guys are doing such a bang up job that they need more money to solve a problem they caused and still give themselves a wage increases totalling in close to half a million dollars.  It’s ridiculous and frankly shameful, and most of you probably can’t be bothered to put down that pint of craft beer and go vote.

God I miss real beer.  I haven't had a proper pint in weeks.
God I miss real beer. I haven’t had a proper pint in weeks.

So you know what people, here’s why you think the government doesn’t care about you and that your vote isn’t important: it’s because it isn’t.  You haven’t been voting as a group for a while now and the political parties know that.  They’re taking advantage of that and you can show them how wrong they are.  There’s a million students who don’t vote out there, I guarantee that if even half of you made a fuss this election things will change in the future.  Show them your frustration and anger by at least voting out of spite.

Or ironically, I know a lot of you are hipsters.

-GJ

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