As the day draws to a close, i find myself on a train, heading home, in time to vote before the polls close tonight. My phone buzzes and chatters as, over on Facebook, my friends kick discussions to and fro about who they will vote for, who they like, who they disagree with, who they abhor. Articles are curated: viewpoints are formed, debates erupt.
Whatever else social media have achieved, the democratisation of the debate is clear. A shared space where all and sundry can form a view and shout about it loudly. In fact, just about the only thing i can’t do online is actually vote: for that privilege, i still have to cut short my day and catch a five hour train home.
People talk about disengagement with the political process, but that’s maybe not the same as disengagement from politics. The process is the formal layer: the act of forming government. But politics with a defiantly small ‘p‘ is the business of debate and discussion, and that, seemingly, is alive and well.
Our communities form a space: what we do with it is our choice. We can engage in debate and discussion, challenge or support. We can choose to do nothing, but never forget that the freedom we have was hard won, and that apathy may not do justice to that sacrifice.