It’s not often I use this blog to discuss non-writing topics, but I’ve got a rant building up inside me these days and I’d be remiss if it didn’t take my own advice and speak up.
We’ve entered campaign season. In both Canada and the United States, politicians are gearing up to throw around their arguments about why you should vote for them and not the other guy (or gal). We’re in the time of attack ads, of promises we hope are true but experience has taught us are probably empty, of rallies, of Facebook debates as loyal party followers stand up for their parties by tearing down their friends with different political leanings. It’s a truly wonderful experience. /sarcasmfont
But I think we’ve grown too lax. I read enough posts coming up on my social media feeds – I hear enough conversations happening in the coffee shop – to understand that people are enjoying the ridiculousness. They’re focusing on the farce and not on the actual issue, which is that: WE HAVE A VOICE.
You might not feel you do. What’s one person in the scheme of changing a country? But that belief is a fallacy. I know I’m not telling you anything you haven’t already heard. Counter to the attack ads are the social media posts reminding you of that truth. Yet still I’ve noticed people shrugging and saying they don’t care – they don’t trust/like any of the candidates anyway, so instead they continue to watch these campaigns as if they were entertainment. Something that doesn’t affect them.
We live in a time where sitting around watching reality TV shows and youTube channels is the norm. We’re used to watching the ridiculous – we enjoy it. It takes our mind off the fact that minimum wage is too low, that social programs are being cut, that education is too expensive, that our environment is going to shit. We’re apathetic.
So let me say this: Our country’s government is not a youTube channel. It’s not a webseries about a bunch of head-butting men and women carrying on their Yes, Minister-like shenanigans. THIS IS OUR FUTURE. We are the people – we choose our governments. If we want a perfect world, we need to take a step to help create it – and in a perfect world, the government acts for its people and not the other way around. It speaks with OUR voice because it IS us (or at least the majority of us). That’s the beauty of democracy.
Let’s take it another step and bring home that the election results DO affect you personally. It’s not something that happens way off in the distance that you don’t notice. Your vote can affect your minimum wage, your social programs, your gas prices, the quality of your education and health care, whether our troops (a friend? a relative?) are going off to fight for worthy causes and if they have what they need to keep them safe not only overseas but at home once they return. You’re voting for your stance on oil spills, lake preservation, greenhouse gas emissions – and yes, all of that is personal. All of it affects YOU.
So don’t let other people make your decisions for you, or play with your life as if you were a little blue or pink peg riding in a car in the game of Life. If the party you vote for doesn’t win – does that mean you wasted your time by casting a ballot? NO! You can sleep with an easy conscience that you made a stand — a one-person stand to create a country you’re proud to live in. If we all do the same, our chances of creating that country increase.
One voice at a time, we can make a difference. So here’s my call to action: follow this Elections Canada link and make sure you’re registered to vote. October 19 is the time to speak up.