With the Presidential election only weeks away, it occurred to me that in my 28 years of existence I have only voted in a general election once, the 1996 New Zealand government race. Not being a United States citizen puts me out of the voting process, but judging from the absolute dullness and sheer facelessness of John Kerry and George W. Bush, I am not missing much by not voting. Much like 1996 when faced with the choice of New Zealands version of the Republicans, the National Party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Jim Bolger, challenged by the Democrat styled Labour Party, who countered with ex Prime Minister Mike Moore.
Bolger had been Prime minister since 1990 and led New Zealand into its worst economic position in history. He could blame this on the previous Labour partys Rogernomics programme though which encouraged free market reforms. Bolger was a smug man, desperately trying to repair New Zealands fragmented ties with the United States, after ex Prime Minister David Lange had severed nearly all links with the US in the 80s, by refusing to let nuclear powered warships into New Zealands waters. Meanwhile unemployment was at an all time high and the general consensus on the nations state was one of hopelessness. At least the All Blacks had beaten both Australia and South Africa. My father would often comment that in the seventies he could find five jobs in a day and take his pick from them. In 1996 gaining any job, no matter how bad was a major accomplishment. His rival Mike Moore had briefly been Prime Minister in 1990 after David Lange and Geoffrey Palmer had been deposed. All I remember of Moore is a balding man with blackened eyes.
As a 20-year-old at college with no desire to work, and completely ignorant of political agendas it didnt matter to me who I voted for, although I knew Labour would be my choice, as they were the peoples party, with the common mans best interests at heart. Just like the Republicans right? My brother refused to vote for both of them, saying a vote for either was a waste. My next door neighbours father when asked who he would vote for answered aha, that would be telling wouldnt it? I didnt care who the little dwarf voted for, I knew he was a National man, as was his son, a gangly youth growing too big for his body to handle. My father was a confirmed Labour man, but in his opinion they were bloody rubbish.
The day of the election was October the 12th. The polls opened at nine am. I woke up at noon like always and watched whatever game of English soccer was on tv. Probably Leeds and Wimbledon or something equally as atrocious. As the polling was being held at the local school approximately two minutes from my house there was plenty of time. Me and my brother sat around listening to Slayers Undisputed Attitude before we turned on it. The whole process of actually walking to the school and voting meant actually leaving the house. In New Zealand anyone eligible to vote is required to. I dragged myself out of my bed got on my beat up Suzuki scooter and drove to the school. When I looked at the ballot I considered voting for the Legalise Cannabis Party, but sadly relented and voted Labour.
With that task over I went to rent a movie to watch, which ended up being WrestleMania XII, which had occurred some six and a half months earlier. Watching The Ultimate Warrior and Hunter Hearst Helmsley battle it out was only midly more riveting than Election coverage but what the hell. After Shawn Michaels had finally pinned Bret Hart in the Ironman main event we turned the election coverage on to see who had won. National, with the help of the New Zealand First party, who chosen to form a coalition with National over Labour, had won. There went my vote. When I told my brother I had voted for Labour he was disgusted with my predictability. He had voted for the Communist Party.
When the Monday paper arrived with all the local election results I searched for our districts tallies. Next to the Communist Party it read Total Votes; 1. I wish it had read 2. Theres always 1999 I thought. By then it was too late and I was enduring the US political system. Labour won in 1999 and still hold office. It means nothing to me now. Ill have my day in 2008 and do my part for US Communists. I could do with seeing that 1 again.