I remember being young. It was a long time ago. I made so many stupid mistakes, and I said and did things I regret.
Most of all I regret the voting decisions I made. Back then I really had no idea about politics and politicians, but I felt compelled to cast my vote. People would tell me I was truly blessed to live in a democracy where I could help determine who should govern me. So many people had fought and died to preserve our democratic freedoms, and I was honouring their sacrifice by participating in the electoral process.
What an idiot I was. I should have stayed home on election day.
When I was young I used to think that the only thing preventing us from making the world a much better place was the refusal of the older generation to accept necessary change. What I didn’t realise at the time was that one day I would be part of that older generation, and that once I grew comfortable and moderately affluent I wouldn’t want to change a single damn thing.
If I’d known then what I know now I wouldn’t have bothered to vote. That’s why everyone under 40 should stay home this election. Leave it to us older folk. We’ve got this one.
I know this will be a hard message for many of my younger readers to take in. Your passion, your energy, and your imagination are all to be admired. I envy you. I don’t remember the last time I felt any sort of passion. But passionate people often do things without thinking through all the potential consequences. They get caught up in the need to do something dramatic, and then things don’t turn out how they planned. Why would anyone put themselves in a position where they didn’t know exactly how things were going to turn out?
Unlike the young, we older folk have worked out that things don’t really need to change. The world isn’t perfect, but it will do. Yes, of course there’s poverty and misery and war, and the environment is going all to hell, but the human race will survive. What matters now is that we don’t rock the boat. Innovation is to be avoided. House prices must be maintained at all costs.
You think it’s unfair that you can’t afford to buy a house in this current economic environment? So what? Life is unfair, so get used to it. There’s nothing you can do to change the way things are, so don’t bother. Stay home on 20 September and watch TV, or mow the lawn of your rented property.
So many of the younger generation see things in black and white, in terms of right and wrong, rich and poor, justice and injustice. But all I see is grey. The colour grey gets a lot of bad press, but it’s the colour of moderation, stability and compromise. It’s a little bit white and a little bit black, without being much of either. Grey is also the colour of old age and decay, but old age and decay are unavoidable. Most things don’t stay fresh for long, so why hanker for freshness? Everything decays in the end.
Of course you can go to the election booth on 20 September and vote for someone new, someone who promises to change the world. But why bother? Everything decays. We all die in the end, so leave things as they are. Stay home instead.
It’s no use trying to make the world a better place. It’s been tried before, but it makes no difference. People still die of cancer or are killed in car crashes, and our politicians continue to do stupid things. You weed the garden, but the weeds always grow back. What’s the point in trying to change anything? No, put your feet up and take a break. We older folk will sort this election out. We know what we’re doing.
The problem with change is the mess and uncertainty that often follows. As you get older you will discover that change is seldom good. You will like things to stay the way they are, and you will complain when someone (for example some young person) suggests that things could do with a shakeup. Trust me on this. Leave it be. Don’t vote this election.
When people don’t vote things become harder to change. If more young people voted, politicians would be forced to pay more attention to the things young people care about. But that would be a disaster, as it would jeopardise all the things we have worked so hard to put in place for our own benefit.
So if you’re young and politically minded, don’t vote. Go out on 19 September and get completely smashed, then spend all the next day sleeping off your hangover. There’s no need to get out of bed before 7:00pm on election day. Leave things to us grey folk. We’ll make sure nothing changes.