This week Ontarians will get their all-too infrequent chance to exercise their democratic rights and choose their fate for another four years. Do you plan to participate?
A recent CBC radio program examined the question of voter apathy, commenting that post-secondary students, as a group, seem particularly disinterested in the political process.
I always vote, but I’m never happy about it. It’s hard to summarize why, but two good examples came to me just this week, that may serve as food for thought.
The first one was when I saw a campaign commercial where the candidate in question was stridently arguing that Ontarians must be able to “effectively assert themselves in a highly competitive global economy.” I won’t mention the party, because they all say this sort of thing, and if you’ve seen the commercial, it’s obvious anyway.
But why must Ontario compete with, say, Bangladesh, in order to enjoy a reasonable standard of living here? There’s this tendency, particularly in politics, to assume that if the economy is doing well, so are the people. But that’s a fallacy. Life is not about the economy. It doesn’t matter whether we are “winning” the global arms race for the fastest growing economy. At the end of the day what matters is whether or not people have enough to eat or a place to live, and enough free time with friends & family to be happy. Some of the poorest nations on earth with the smallest economies still manage to provide food, clothing, shelter, and a reasonable amount of leisure time for everybody. Meanwhile we, with all our vast wealth, let people starve in the streets and medicate ourselves with anti-depressants because we’re too busy working for all the material things we’re told we need that we can’t take the time to deal with our problems-problems that arise only because we’re constantly racing to “compete” in the global fucking economy.
Don’t get me wrong-trade, jobs, these are all important, but perhaps if politicians would focus on actual people first and the economy second, instead of the other way around, then more of us would be convinced that they’re actually interested in creating a better province.
Of course, that brings me to the second example-when a major party called me this week polling. They asked me if they could count on my support in the coming election. My response? Fuck, no. What the hell is this, Hockey playoffs? Voting is not about getting out and supporting the team. It’s about making decisions that you think will improve your life and those of the people around you.
Now if party pollsters had thought to ask “What can we, as a party, do for you? How do you think life in Ontario could be improved?” Then, perhaps, I might be convinced that politicians really gave a damn.
Unfortunately, I’m not. This week I will go out and vote for the party I think will do the least damage, as there isn’t a single one that I honestly believe will do a good job-at least none with a chance of getting elected.