Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Election For Canada & Voting In Democracy

No matter what city or riding you live in, no matter what your ballot says, or whose names are on it, I know what is beside that X you will mark down. I know what is beside that X tomorrow, I know what is beside that X in five years. I know what is beside that X you will mark down because it’s on every ballot, and on every line. You may vote Liberal, you may vote Conservative, you may vote in protest, you may vote for change, but no matter whose name you select, I know that it is Canada that your X is beside.

Now there are some people who won’t vote, and if they won’t vote for Canada, you must wonder what they then would do for Canada. If they are not willing to go to a voting station, would they go help a neighbour in a flood? If they are not willing to wait in line at a voting booth, would they wait in line for jury duty? If they are not willing to put pencil to paper to vote in an election, are they willing to put their lives in danger to defend Canada in a war?

Would the apathetic do these things, I don’t know, I know you don’t know too. I also know given a choice, every person would choose to vote. Between facing an old dam bursting or voting, they’d vote. Between spending three weeks at a trial of a repeat offender or voting, they’d vote. Between going to fight some foreign nation or voting, they’d vote. Without that forced choice, without the one or the other scenario, I don’t know if they’d help or what they’d do, but I do know this, I know voting could have stopped that infrastructure from falling apart, from that dam breaking. I know voting could have written laws that kept that drunk driver in jail. And I know this, I know voting could have prevented that war.

The declining voter turnout numbers do not lie, there are some people who do not vote, who will not vote, they are not bad people, they are just misguided people. Someone is not a bad person if they do not help another, they are just misguided. A person who does not do good, is not therefore bad, that person is just lost. And when we do not try to help provide that guidance, the guidance that voting is beneficial to our government, our country, that it is patriotic, that it is extrinsically and intrinsically valuable to ourselves and our society; when we do not try to do good by telling others the importance of voting, we are just as misguided as they.

In this upcoming election, in every election, we are given a choice. A choice not on whether to vote or not to vote, because this is a democracy, with democracy you can’t choose to be in it and not vote. Democracy isn’t a geographical area, it’s not some place where you can stand and not vote. Democracy can exist without countries, it can’t exist without people. If people choose not to vote, democracy ceases for them. In this election, again, in every election, you are given a choice, it’s not a choice whether to vote or not to vote, it’s a choice of are you in or are you out.

If you choose to be in, if you choose to participate in democracy, I know what you are voting for, because every time you vote there is no other option, there is no other choice, you are voting for Canada.

6 comments:

WesternGrit said...

Great post Scott!

The Mound of Sound said...

Scott, back on your meds - now. There are reasons people will not vote in this election that go far beyond apathy. I will be going to the polls and I will be casting an unmarked ballot. This will be the first time I have not voted and the first time I have not supported the Liberals and I have been supporting Liberals since Pierre Trudeau first led the party into a general election.

I will spoil my ballot because I believe in Canada. I just don't believe that any of the federal parties is worthy of election and I won't vote for a party on the basis that it's the least objectionable, the least odious.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Mound: You may believe in Canada, you may believe in democracy, but by not voting you won't participate in it.

I can't imagine a founding father, when they were sitting around the table at one of the many conferences saying, "I don't like any of you & so I will not compromise my position or ideals." I can't imagine that because he then would certainly not be any founding father of a great nation such as this.

You can submit an unmarked ballot, but with it you will be submitting any claim to participating in our democracy.

The Mound of Sound said...

Scott, voting for a party you cannot support isn't participating in democracy, it's perverting democracy. Freedom to express dissent is the essence of democracy not its abrogation.

I have the advantage of you in that my remaining years are realistically less than 20. However I have two chidren, one roughly your age, the other a bit younger.

Scott, you and my kids are going to have to pay the price of the neglect and indifference of today's Canadian political class. Long after they and I have gone, you will be left to carry the mess they've bequeathed you.

Perhaps that doesn't matter to you. Perhaps you're even content with it. I'm not. Your party's leader proclaims bitumen the beating heart of your country's economy for the rest of this century. Your party's leader heralds the Athabasca Tar Sands as a key to national unity.

These are not the statements of a leader who will guide Canada into the future, your future. Read Murray Dobbins' piece in the latest Tyee and you may understand that these political parties really hold nothing for you.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Mound: Freedom to express dissent is not the essence of democracy, voting is.

There have been states where you could offer dissent but not vote, democracy was not there. There have been states where you could protest but not vote, democracy was not there. There may have been the beginnings, but the funny thing about beginnings is that they're not the whole, they aren't the thing, they're just a part.

The whole of democracy only exists when those who can vote, do. Anything else is just anything else.

Democracy is not some institution, it is an action, a process. A country can hold elections, but if people don't vote, it's not democracy. The holding of the vote does not create democracy, people voting does.

It is oh so easy to be negative, to hide from participating, to criticize, seeing the hard work that is needed it is perfectly understandable that you took the position you did.

But negativity never wrote new laws, hiding from participating never elected new Leaders, and criticizing never re-drafted a party's constitution.

I'm not telling you what to do, I am telling you what I hope you do, and that's participate in democracy, and vote.

rgl said...

Yes, voting is vital - thanks Scott!