It’s election day… I’m headed to polls soon, still undecided… undecided mainly because I don’t like my options, and can’t decide who is least likely to fail to follow through. They all claim to know the secret key to fixing the economy and making everyone’s life better- which can typically be boiled down to “whatever they’re doing, we aren’t, ‘cuz they suck, so vote for us and everything will be wonderful”. They’re all saying the same thing really- they all claim to be working to benefit the citizens, while the other guy is secretly planning to steal your tax dollars. One side will lower taxes which means more money to pay for more stuff (which the taxpayer needs to pay for out their own pocket because the government isn’t providing it on account of lower tax revenue) which in turn boosts the economy. The other side says higher government spending means more services (which is good because the higher taxes have left them unable to pay for the services the government is offering). Essentially the voting public ends up in the same place. Hence voter apathy. And we’re told that scores of courageous folk fought and died for this “right” (*note this is not a shot against our armed forces- quite the opposite in fact- a statement that the current state of Canadian democracy is probably not what those who rallied the troops envisioned when they called on Canadians to fight for political freedom). Fighting against totalitarian regimes is admirable, but fighting for this? For the “right” to watch a few social elites spending millions to publicly act like school-yard adversaries calling each other poopy-heads? Hard to get excited about voting, but if no one votes, we all lose, and somehow the terrorists win (or something like that).
But I like how James Shelley describes it better:
So why do we talk about a party “winning” or “losing” an election? Political organizations and alliances do not actually “win” or “lose” anything: democratic societies — namely, people — are the only participants who actually stand to win or lose something at election time. And “winning” does not mean that “my candidate” achieved a higher percentage of votes: winning occurs when the core concerns and challenges of society are discussed clearly, pragmatically, objectively and thoughtfully in public forums. Then, and only then, do we as a society really “win” any election. If we collectively opt-in to this system of emotive knee-jerk voting in response to childish banter, have we really achieved anything more than a countrywide version of Survivor wherein the characters who instigate the loudest drama are the ones who make it to the final tribal council? Survivor is not a democracy, it’s a game — but our political process is appearing evermore a synonymous form of entertainment. Partisan talking points and platform-pounding does not suffice for issue-oriented discussion: these campaigns are looking increasingly like advertisements for an oddly twisted vote-grab on American Idol.
James is way smarter and better at writing than I am. While I am so frustrated about this ongoing spiral of poopy-head politics, I’ll still mosey on down to the polls and put an X beside someone’s name, and feel dirty about it. Render unto Caesar I guess.
On an unrelated note, I find it humourous that spell check tells me “poopy” is not a word, but poop is a valid option.