Social Action as a Vital Value for the Times?

Social action is a powerful force. Every Labour weekend Radio New Zealand’s Concert Program airs the results of its ‘Settling the Score’ poll. For the last few years, ‘The Lark Ascending’ has come in first. Some have become a little sick of this and felt a new number one was needed.

Peter Thomas head of Music at Epsom Girls Grammar discussed this with his students. The Girls at EGG enjoy singing their seniors school song. They sing it to the tune of Verdi’s ‘Grand March’ from the opera Aida. The outcome of the discussion resulted in the senior school music students and Mr. Thomas convincing large numbers of EGG students to vote for Verdi’s ‘Grand March’ in the RNZCP poll. Low and behold on Labour Day Verdi’s piece came out of nowhere to win the vote! It had not been in the top 100 before and raced straight to number one!

This event illustrates the fact that when young people undertake coordinated social action, things change! Greta Thunberg and students throughout the world (including many in NZ) are another example. The Students’ Strike for Climate (SS4C) is still fresh in our memories. 

These events are not a point to be noted by the young alone! Recent turnouts in elections have shown that a large number of eligible adults need to act too! In the 2017 general election, 88% of the eligible population enrolled, but 21% of those enrolled did not turn out to cast their vote!

The truth is those who do vote tend to be older, wealthier and white! The young, the poorer and ethnic minorities often don’t vote. (See the second link immediately above).

However, if the social action shown by the young recently continues and grows, and if other low voting groups follow suit, there would be some significant changes in the future. If we look at the difficulties our current Government is facing, a good deal of the lack of action for a kinder fairer society can be sheeted back the fact that status quo voters do vote! On the other hand, many who would benefit from positive change don’t vote!

The messages sent by the girls of EGG and SS4C need to taken to heart by all schools, teachers, families, Iwi, helping agencies, and anyone who wishes for action on the hard issues of the day! Tell them we need them to vote! Tell them they are important and their views are important! Tell them the small social action of casting your vote has enormous potential to change things and to improve things for those who usually don’t vote.

No names, no pack drill, a large slice of those who do vote are propping up a stale ‘business-as-usual’ approach. EGGs and SS4C are showing us the way to do it! Take action! It is as easy as getting enrolled to vote, and then getting to a polling booth to cast your vote in the 2020 Parliamentary election!

Make your hopes known. Vote for some who will deliver the kind of world you wish for!