Friday, October 10, 2008

Clenching My Jaw For Democracy

These mountains along the David Thompson Highway are called Ex Coelis, "Out of the Clouds." They were named for the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion of the 3rd Brigade of the British 6th Airborne Division. These men jumped out of an airplane into a war zone so we could vote. I wonder how they'd feel knowing so many of us don't care?

Tuesday we take another trip to the ballot box to select our federal representatives for another few years.
I’m glad to do it. Too many people fought and died so I could take a few minutes to let the government know what I think of it.
Voting is a privilege and an obligation. It offends me how many of us are too lazy and too apathetic to care how we are governed.
I’ve have written in the past about how voting ought to be mandatory. I’ve given it a second thought. I am forced to clench my jaws and admit that as reprehensible as this is within the right to vote is the right to not vote.
We ignore the ballot at our peril, but we are free to do so.
I say to the non-voter that your choice is wrong. Apathy gives us the leadership we deserve.
You think your vote doesn’t count? If 40 percent of voters turn out, then it means that 60 per cent of us didn’t.
If those 60 percent made their mark, then the election would have a different outcome.
Maybe the governing party would be the same, but it might have a stronger majority. Or maybe the Opposition would be stronger and better equipped to keep the governing party in line.
Voter apathy disgusts me. It’s a slap in face to every man, woman, and child affected by the wars that were fought to ensure our right to cast a ballot for whomever we please.
Do you think you’re taking a stand by not voting?
You are not.
If we had mandatory voting and you refused, then you’d be making a statement. I could muster up some grudging respect for you.
As it is, all you’re doing is exercising your right in a free country to ignore how your country is run. You take no interest in it; therefore you have no right to complain.
I want nothing to do with you.
Non-voters disgust me.
No matter what the choices are in the voting booth, there is a choice. This is a democracy. Here’s what democracy means. I think many of us have forgotten.
The current government brought in a law calling for fixed election dates. Prime Minister Stephen Harper broke his own law to hold this election. He argued Parliament was stymied due to the antics of the Opposition.
I think he smelled blood in the water and proceeded to ensure matters stalled so he could call this election and win a majority.
If he’s willing to break his own law with a minority government, what fun will he have with a majority?
On Tuesday I will set my jaw, hold my nose, gird my loins, and mark my ballot for the party that’ll do the least damage to my country.
What will you do?


the Bag Lady said...

I have the same sense of outrage when I consider the non-voters. Even though I am not at all impressed with the choices we are faced with, (none of the parties seem any better than the others) I will at least exercise my right to choose someone to govern.

M said...

Time to ponder...nice post! Have a nice weekend!

Leah J. Utas said...

I know you feel similar to me on this dfBag Lady. The choice to not vote is wrong and stupid, but we have that choice. I am repulsed by the choices offered on the ballots, but I am glad to have the opportunity to vote.

M, ponder all you need.And thanks. Hope you have a good weekend, too.

Crabby McSlacker said...

I'm actually happy that some of the folks who won't educate themselves about the issues -- the sort who make up their minds based on irrational wishful thinking and ingrained predjudices-- also won't bother to vote.

I'd rather have a smaller, informed electorate than a broader idiotic one. Perhaps coming from the U.S. I'm a little gunshy.

Leah J. Utas said...

I wish everyone cared enough to inform themselves, Crabby.

Lethological Gourmet said...

I went on a date once with a guy who doesn't vote. Basically, he's young enough that he's only been eligible to vote since the 2000 election, so because of that he felt like his vote didn't matter (since the dems had the majority of the people's vote, but the reps got the electoral college). Explaining that we're a republic and voting is how it all works didn't seem to make a difference.

Then there was the guy I dated who didn't vote his whole life until 2004, at the age of 35, he found it that important to take his first time to the polls to vote for Dubya. Ugh. But hey, at least he voted. I guess.

I agree with Crabby, though. If there are people out there who are woefully ignorant, who don't care to take the time to educate themselves (it would be great if they didn't, but many people just don't care), then it's better they don't vote. Because voting blindly isn't any better than not voting, and can just obscure the true will of the people.

Leah J. Utas said...

I understand your thinking LG, but at least they're taking an interest in the world around them. Maybe someday, when they truly comprehend their vote is important, they'll take it seriously.

Missicat said...

Well, our election is a few weeks later but I will be in line when the doors open!! I tell people that if they do not vote, they give up the right to gripe about the way things are run.
What's positive about this election is that there is much more participation and enthusiasm amongst the youth of our country. The very first year I could vote, I was THERE!

Leah J. Utas said...

Missicat, I totally agree about the griping. I'm so glad to learn about the increased youth involvement. I was lucky in that there was an election shortly after my 18th birthday so I was able to vote in it. That particular year the party leader, Joe Clark, was the rep for my riding so those who to wished could vote directly for the potential Prime Minister.
He won.

Reb said...

I agree that we should all exercise our right to vote. I could only wish for another box on the ballot that said "none of the above" so that we could exercise our franchise & express our displeasure at the same time. (I heard that somewhere else)
Maybe if that was an option, more voters would turn out and there might be some changes. I don't see that any of the current parties are offering anything that they haven't already promised and reneged on. I will go and vote though, I have to be able to rightly bitch about our gov't.

Love the photo.

Leah J. Utas said...

It's important to protect one's right to bitch, Reb. Glad you take it seriously.
I wonder... if "none of the above" were a choice, and everyone who voted thought, "We'll my vote won't really count," and selected it, then what would happen?

Hilary said...

Good post, Leah. I'll be at the polls on Tuesday, along with my younger kidlet.. his first.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Hilary. Glad you and yours are making your voices heard.

GoodBug said...

I remember reading your views on this last year. I agreed with you then and I agree with you now!

(And this is me -Dawn! I'm changing over to my other online avatar. Makes life easier - but perhaps this is not the post for talking about doing things the easy way!)

Leah J. Utas said...

Hello Goodbug Dawn. Thanks.
The various levels of government here have seen fit to give me many opportunities to voice my opinion.

I like the avatar.

Thomma Lyn said...

I agree with Reb on the "none of the above" -- it would be a good thing to have the option to send a no-confidence vote, as in get us some better people to vote for.

Excellent and thought-provoking post.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thank you, TL. I wish the choice was hard because all the candidates were good.