For the longest time, I did not care about politics. I only knew who our prime minister was and that was that. If anyone asked me who was the minister of this or that, I could not answer because I simply did not care. When I turned voting age, I voted for a party my family supported because, as I said, I simply did not care, none of this affects me remotely and the world keeps on spinning and life goes on, la-dee-dah.

All until something happened that did affect me. And all of a sudden I woke up and realised that who governs my country is actually kind of important.

I also realised that people who claim not to care about politics are generally those who do not need to care, people who are privileged to the point of arrogance. People who feel like they need nothing and no-one until they get a rude awakening.

And here I am today, a person who not only cares about politics but is actively interested and often thinks about what I can do, apart from casting my vote, to make a difference.

That being said, I think that in Malta and especially as a government employee in a government institution, it is most unwise to be very public about how you are going to cast your vote in that polling station. Because no matter who ends up getting elected, you are working in their institution and you have to be okay with that. If the party I support is not elected, I would not want my superiors at my place of work or anyone else for that matter to know I am disappointed. Because it none of their business. And disappointed or not, I do not want anyone to think that who is in government is going to affect my performance. Sounds silly? Well, you would be surprised at how many people actually think that way. ‘Who cares what they think!?’ you may say. And usually I would agree. But I do care what my superiors think as my career is important to me and I want to be taken seriously.

I once worked with someone who was constantly trying to find out which party I support. I could not for the life of me figure out why it was so important to him. Didn’t we work together just fine? Isn’t that all that mattered? Why did he want to know? So perhaps he could judge me?

Recently I was working with an American colleague of mine and for some reason I thought she was as anti-Trump as I was. To make conversation, I said ‘I would have loved to see Bernie Sanders as a president…or Hilary Clinton…’ to which she replied ‘oh, crooked Hilary?’ and then she went on to say how great she thought Trump was. I was shocked. I said, ‘But…but…he’s a misogynistic asshole!’ to which she replied ‘but he’s one of the people and he understands us!’ To dismiss the conversation, I said ‘ah well, I’m Canadian and we have the handsome Trudeau!’

And I hate myself for it, but I can’t quite look at that person in the same way ever again. To me, uneducated rednecks supported Trump, not intelligent and lovely people like my colleague.

You see what I did there?

I judged. I judged my lovely colleague. I had no right, but it just happened. And it is a very bad thing. And I do not want it to happen to me.

That is why you will not see me at party rallies. That is why you will not see me defending the party I support on Facebook. That is why I only have political discussions with those who are closest to me.

And please notice, I said closest to me. NOT just those who agree with me. I have a very good friend who I hold dear, who I have known for many years, since we were teenagers. We are political opposites, but I respect her deeply and care about her. We see eye to eye on many things. I most definitely do not think less of her because she will not vote as I do and I am more than certain she will not think less of me for that reason. I also know that I will never be able to change her mind and she knows she will not change mine. And that is perfectly fine.

I also believe that these rallies and endless Facebook posts initiated by the individual parties or their media representatives do not really accomplish anything. The people who go to the mass meetings/read these posts/share these posts are all already convinced. My father insists on listening to politically biased radio stations whenever I give him a lift. It embarrasses me, but I oblige. And while I listen to how one politician vilifies the other, I ask myself if anybody who supports a different party will listen to this and say ‘By Jove, I think he’s got it!’?? Nobody’s mind is going to be changed by putting up a photo of a politician on social media and writing something on the lines of ‘vote for him/her as they are akin to God’ as a caption. It is completely futile. It also makes me lose my faith in humanity (the little I have left). And then the comments. Oh Lord the comments. They range from ‘He/she is Lucifer on earth’ to ‘O! Behold this deity!’ I remain in awe at how people forget that these people are just mere mortals, not really different from you and me, but with a desire to be leaders of a country they love. Or else they are a bunch of power-hungry bastards; spin it which way you please but the former description allows me more peaceful slumber at night.

After all is said and done, I admire those who publicly support their party and stand up for what they believe in. It actually sets my heart ablaze. We obviously cannot and should not all agree politically and seeing people come together because they truly want to see the country do better, or because they believe in a certain person and want to support them and want to be a part of things is a truly beautiful thing in its essence. I would love to take a more active role in politics, I feel like I have a lot to offer and I think my ideas could possibly make a difference especially when it comes to healthcare and the profession that I love.

However, the idea of being in the public eye and affiliated to a party at this point in my life could probably do more harm than good. As an outsider, I have a naive and almost romantic view of what it would entail and although my intentions would only be good, I do not think I could bear to have my words twisted, my picture everywhere or unflattering photos or heavily doctored photos

of myself on social media claiming I am Jezebel and the Virgin Mary in equal amounts.

I will, though, conclude with this: your vote is what allows you to have just a little bit of control of the world you live in. Democracy is a privilege not known by everyone in the world. We are lucky. Don’t be foolish or frivolous with your vote. Think carefully, read and research and do what you and only you think is right.