Swaying the vote

voteHere in Ontario, we’re facing a Spring election.

Further reinforcing my disdain for all things Spring, like the flowers, trees, and bugs, ugly orange, blue and red political signs will pop up on lawns and boulevards like some alien vegetation that can’t be killed off by spraying.

Friendly ‘How-dee-doo’ neighbours will throw down their rakes and garden tools and wrestle each other to the ground, swearing ‘Commie’ or ‘Capitalist Pig’ as they jockey and argue the finer points of Big Labour versus Big Business.  It’ll be epic!

Elections are nothing new in our democratic society, but here in the ‘Mid-Life Crisis’ household, everything will change.  This year, both of my darling offspring have reached the age of majority and will have the civic duty of casting a ballot for the first time ever.

Exciting times, you might say.  The youth of our society can finally hold the power of the future in their fresh, idealistic hands. This is their chance to right all the selfish wrongs of past generations.

Here’s the dilemma:  How do I stress the importance of having an independent voice in our democracy and ensure their issues are being addressed without nudging these malleable minds into my scarred and biased beliefs?

How do I convince them to make up their own minds about who to vote for if I keep holding up my enormous electricity bill and telling them that it’s all because of the current administration that we can’t have nice things at home?

Maybe the question isn’t how do I not sway them, but should I sway them to my (correct) way of thinking?  It’s a tough position to be in.

I truly want my kids to create their own opinions on these things, then at least I can argue their flawed thinking with a clear conscience.  If I just tell them how to vote, I might create a bunch of drones that haven’t put any effort into forming their own belief system.

Maybe that isn’t so bad – any vote is better than no vote, right?

Election results show that almost half of us don’t even bother casting a ballot. “I don’t know enough about it”, I’m sometimes told, or “All the candidates suck”.  True and true.

It’s hard to argue those points – election campaigns are filled with mud-slinging, double talk, half-truths, and vague promises that the average person can’t unpack enough to make an intelligent deduction about.

You might even say “It won’t make any difference”.  Well, it might not.  But one thing is true;  If nothing changes, then, well nothing changes.  That’s the only sure thing in this debate – you can guarantee that if a vote is not cast, things will stay the same, and you will fulfill the prophecy that it didn’t make a difference.

The same government bureaucracies, tax dollar waste, corruption, disconnection from the public, and shrinking economy will be the status quo.  That’s about the only sure thing to happen when the voting public turns an apathetic ear to elections.

It was the band Rush that sang: “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”.  That choice is either ‘I’m happy with the way things are, and I believe that others will re-elect the incumbency’, or ‘I’m not happy with with the way things are, but I’m not suffering enough to take any action to change it’.

All the candidates have Facebook and twitter accounts.  They’re in the news and on the radio.  Check them out.  Maybe it’s a key issue you want to address, or maybe it’s the way they look or talk.  That’s for you to decide on.  Maybe they’re making claims that you should vet out to see if they’re valid.

If it comes down to it, and no one is a clear winner in your books, find the least awful candidate, hold your nose, and cast your ballot. Or, you might yawn and go back to watching ‘Big Brother’ or ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’, like most of us do at election time.

Me?  I’m going to encourage my kids to form their own opinions on all of this, and do my best to get them involved with the political process that our prior generations fought for.  I can’t promise, though, that I won’t leave my electricity bill sitting out on the counter.

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4 thoughts on “Swaying the vote

  1. I know this is more about forming political opinions and less about spring, but…thank you for being the only other person in the world who feels the same way as I do about spring. Yuck.

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