Up here in Canada, it’s federal election time… again.
Thanks to a minority government (which means that the party that won last time had the most votes, but not the majority of the vote), this will be our fourth election in seven years. The likelihood of yet another minority is very real. That, or the Conservative party will finally get a majority. But that may not be the best thing either, if you look back at how they handled things as a minority.
Which leaves voter apathy at a record low. I think the last voter turn out was something like just over fifty or sixty percent of the voting population.
So one has to wonder, why? Why do people not care about voting?
Maybe it’s the leaders themselves. Sadly, the ones we have to choose between don’t feel like leaders. They are politicians. None of them seem passionate about anything, save for gaining voting percentage points on the other party. They only seem to care about making themselves come across as caring and praying to whatever God they want that they don’t look foolish, or have to cover-up yet another bungle from one of their faceless minions. Heaven forbid they speak out about something, or ruffle some feathers. I guess it’s become a crime to reveal some true emotion, to show they are human and that they take their position more seriously and more to-heart than it being just a job that will lead them to something juicy in the private sector. But these leaders have to act neutered. If they showed any flare for dramatics, or rebelliousness, they’d be crapped on quite quickly. In a politically correct, PG-13 world, no one can rock the boat, say what they truly think, make real change, or show that they have real passion. That’s what a leader does, not a politician.
There was a time when the word “politician” wasn’t a derogatory word. Becoming a politician was a noble career to pursue. Back then, voting was a civic duty. It was a right that people took seriously. The average John and Jane Q. Public out there saw elected officials as important voices for their concerns. They went to the municipal, provincial or federal seats and spoke for the people who elected them.
Today, it seems like politicians are more like business people.
I’m sure it didn’t start out like that. At first, when they decided to step into the political ring, they had noble ideals, dreams of making a difference, doing some good. If they got elected, they discovered how truly difficult the world of politics can be. It hardened them, yet they held onto their ideals and dreams. For a little while. The further they moved up the political food chain, the more money they made, the more clout they got, the more groups and organizations they had to placate, the more their ideals and dreams got pushed to the side. If they made it up high enough, they became quite used to the perks of the job. Giving themselves raises, getting around on the people’s money, for a good cause, of course. They became so accustom to their lifestyle, that they sold a bit of their ideals to maintain it. Their dreams became just that, dreams, fading away in the early morning. When their run was over, they used their connections to assure that they had cushy jobs to go to afterwards, to maintain their fat-cat lifestyle. As they walk out, they look down up the new-comers, so full of ideals and dreams. They probably chuckle to themselves at young pup’s naivety.
Well, that’s one view. A tad cynical, maybe. But sadly, that’s how a lot of people see politicians, more or less. Hell, it might have been that way back in the day. The only difference is that back then, we were more trusting of those we elected. That isn’t the case today.
If they want a bigger turn-out at the polls, then some serious changes have to be made. Politicians have to stop worrying about their legacies, about how they will be remembered, about the cushy jobs after their run is finished. They have to start listening to us.
But this isn’t just about them. We have to start caring about what we want and who we want to lead our country. If you think I’m cynical about it all, your right. But I’ll go vote. People who don’t vote are even more cynical than I. Yet they will be the ones that bitch and complain the loudest when something goes through that doesn’t agree with them. They can’t be bothered to participate in something that many countries can’t do.
Voting is a right. A chance to have a say, or at the very least, get the opportunity to have your say in the future of the country and who gets to run it. The way to change voter apathy starts with us.
Even if the choices aren’t good, at least we have the right to choose.