With an election campaign that has lasted three months, where promises and more promises is all politicians have, apathy is what a lot of us feel. Living pay-cheque to pay-cheque, having to pay for basic things like health care and prescription drugs, watching poverty slowly take root among our communities, looking at friends, family members, and communities battle low wages, rising cost of living, basic access to housing, lack of affordable education, and then jobs that actually mean anything. How can we logically have any faith in the system?
When the rich seem to be unaffected by the economic downturn and infrastructure projects just mean more money for the construction mafia, it’s hard to get up and feel inspired to make it to the polling station, especially now that Fall is fervently turning to early Winter. When the choices range from Conservative politicians who push for war, oil sands and creating different classes of citizens, to Liberals who only differ from the above in style and not content. When the remaining choices either veer us to an extremely left leaning position or compel us to pander to nationalistic rhetoric. I get it, it;s not a pretty picture. The ideas of ‘democracy for all’, ‘every vote counts’ and that ‘people bring revolutions’ mean little when most elections are rigged to favor the large corporations and their lobbyists.
But in all this the alternative is either an anarchist revolution (for which the majority doesn’t seem to have an appetite), or complete disengagement, where we stay home and let the status quo persist. Until the time we can all stand up and actually bring a people’s revolution and really transform the systems we have, that ONE vote which is cast by each and every citizen matters, for something, if not a whole lot.
I have always argued that we have to choose the lesser of the evils that we have before us on the ballot. The system has inherent fundamental lacunas, which will never really work for the masses. But this is the system we have, this is what we are stuck with for now. The tax we weigh, the bus ticket we buy, the toll we will have to pay when a new bridge spans the St. Lawrence, are all determined by this government that comes into office every four years. More people around the country are using food stamps. The population continues to age and as the baby boomers retire. There will be more pressure on the health care and pension systems. And what’s worse, the younger generation is plagued with childhood poverty levels that are soaring with every passing day. All of this requires our engagement and thus our participation, our Vote.
I don’t promote any ideological movement nor will publicly call for support to any political formation or leader, but I will continue to argue that our Vote is our responsibility, and barring an extraneous physical/medical situation that doesn’t allow us to go cast it, we must all get out and Vote on the 19th. Whether you Vote by conscience, logic, political calculation or strategically, it’s the fact that you will do it that will make that small difference.
In the past twenty years, consistently only 6 out of 10 voters have come out and voted. With 30% support to the party in government, three out of ten people get the government they voted for. Shouldn’t we do something, whatever little, to change this?