BITESIZED: Politics… also known as “I won’t be voting because no one will do anything.”

So then – politics.

With the election fast approaching, and the 23rd of September starting to evoke feelings of angst as Dave from Whanganui posts about Islam and youth offending in an attempt to seem both knowledgeable and relevant in the void that is the internet. It doesn’t matter where on the political spectrum you situate yourselves, we can all agree on some issues. The orange stick man as a reminder of civic responsibility through voting resembles more the annoying kid at school who would remind the teacher of homework than a genuinely helpful figure.

We can also agree that politics is horrendous, biased and full of lies. Much like someone who tells you that living in Auckland will be enjoyable. Although we don’t really want to talk about politics, we feel we need to dip our (collective) toe into the water that is politics and hope to wade gracefully into the water instead of getting pushed in by your mate Liam, ruining your Samsung.

The main problem with ‘politics’ as an idea is that everything is politics. I tell you that Auckland is trash, and then I gotta talk about the politics behind the housing crisis and infrastructure, I tell you that I think you’re being racist and now you’re talking about the ‘politics’ of how no one will be white by 2080 and Burqas should be banned. Raising questions in my mind about both why the guy I hired to dogsit is talking about politics and also if I want to leave my pooch with a racist, I don’t.

Just like that, politics ruined things for everyone. Now that we have laid the foundations for politics, we must now let the politics enter the stage and potentially shit all over it.

Do we need politics. Most of us hate it, as it only stands purpose for water cooler conversation with Paula who will otherwise talk about her cat’s funeral last Sunday. Well as you may have likely guessed, yes we need politics. If we didn’t need politics do you think we would spend so much time trashing it? Only to double-back and stress it’s importance, as is the natural order of anything politics related.

Politics in 2017 sees itself as a competition of leaders more than a bout between parties. This can be exemplified in both the surge Labour has had in polls and the tanking that the Greens have seen. The parties are more-or-less exactly the same, the policies were unchanged, but the personalities that allow public opinion to be so easily dictated changed, with Ardern stepping up and Turei stepping down. Much like membership to club penguin or pornhub, it was very common to be an actual ‘member’ of a political party. You would write a letter with an ink and quill on papyrus you had air dried for a week and send it by bird to the beehive. You would then be a member and receive updated information on the parties policies and leadership; remember this was a time before the internet. Membership rates now are very low, and the only equivalent we see are youth-wings of parties, who are very very important.

The most. Absolutely.

The fact that there are far less party members than ever before creates a large amount of swing voters. Voters that just don’t really know what to do or who to vote for. It’s like standing in line at KFC and you know wicked wings are really good but if you get the wicked wings meal you can’t get a drink, but if you get the large burger combo you don’t get any chicken, and it’s like, i’m at KFC shouldn’t I get chicken..? But the guy behind you (an orange stick man, for some f*cking reason) is urging you to go order. So you don’t really know what you wanna order cos both options are both good and bad. The time comes and you place your order.

This is voting in 2017. There aren’t any die-hard party members any more, the equivalent of angry and white Daryl from Virginia who will vote Republican until he dies and doesn’t like Chipotle because it’s “not American”. Not saying die-hard voters are Daryl, but voters that have a sturdy political foundation. With more and more voters who don’t know if they want wings or the burger, in the age of the internet, memes and stuff.co.nz picture-react polls are the new billboards.

While it’s no secret that to become a political leader it definitely helps to be wealthy, white and a man, 2017 has elected Donald Trump to arguably the most influential position on the planet, the game is changing. Politics in 2017 concerns itself with a wall to Mexico and Chinese conspiracies creating Global Warming. Not only this, we see the high degree of fuckery on our own doorstep. In our very own kiwi backyards.

Why do I care about the 400 text messages Bill sent to his secretary at 4AM?
What does benefit fraud have to do with my vote this election?

The continued attacking of political figures by the media, presently Winston Peters, it was Turei, before that Bill English, is not at all a new phenomenon. But, in an age where singular political figures are so important for voting choices, we see how 21st century media can play such a huge role in politics.

We can only assume that this is how the media aim to get us interested in politics.

Oh, but this is today’s politics? Well so be it.

The media is the internet. The internet is pretty much social media.
If you can tell me the difference I’ll order you a turmeric latte on our next blog-date. I get most of my news from online, whether it be global affairs through reddit or New Zealand news from NZHerald. I go to the internet to educate myself on politics, globally and nationally. The last time I read political news from a newspaper was because I was in the newspaper and I wanted to hype myself up by ‘watching the promos’.

Along with my morning routine of reading NZHerald, Radio New Zealand and the beloved Stuff News; come morning texts from my mother about drinking more water and aggressive and persuasive internet comments. Things like:

“I trust National to continue leading the country with stability and intelligence. If you were recruiting a leader of our economy would Jacindas CV even make it past the bin?”, are the comments I’m drawn to before I even read the article.

Why?

Well not having civic education in schools made the whole political talk somewhat taboo, much like topics like suicide and rape but that’s another topic for another blog. Comments like these would have been my first taste of someone else’s opinion concerning politics. Dave from Whanganui just posted, “Bill english is as dodgy as they come, winston has been there done that & failed b4 & the others not even worth mentioning.”, which is the first taste of politics your son just got off his cracked iPhone 5 screen at lunch time scrolling through Facebook.

Reading things like these for years allow us to understand that everyone has an opinion on political matters and will happily voice their opinion on a platform where hands cannot be thrown.

“We are the first generation to have the opportunity to ask for real news” – Lewis, videographer. This is the first relevant thing Lewis has said this decade and it resonates with us.

News agencies online with clickbait headlines and Mark from Auckland writing a blog on how being poor is a choice appears side-by-side on our news feeds. We question the validity of both in the same format, and we could actually end up subscribing to Mark’s blog so his kids think he’s a cool father. Through the abundance of information that we have access to on the internet, we ask ourselves, “What is real?”

That’s a question we can span from the long-distance relationship we had in Year 10, to the article I’m reading about the possible blackmail that birthed the Metiria Turei controversy. I need validation of my sources because it’s what I talk about daily during my coffee dates.

Politics sucks and the media makes it suck more, but we need it to make change.

Okay, now that we have discussed politics. Let us never speak of it again. This is us signing off and literally moving away from the subject of politics as if it was the 3000 word essay we need to start but instead have replaced by making a decadent double-layered chocolate mousse cake (picture attached).