Blog No. 152
Here I am on blog 152, most of the way through another year and still plugging away. There are many people who have far higher numbers, and my readership is rather lacking, but it’s still a pretty good feeling. This week’s elections was a pretty good feeling too (though it’s much more of a mixed bag). While elections, especially on the federal level, can be exciting, this one had so much pressure behind it that people couldn’t seem to help themselves and got rather riled up about the whole thing. My social media feeds were filled with comments, pictures, thumbnails, links, and general angst. While it’s great that people are excited (and the voter turnout jumped a bit) personally it started to leave a sour taste in my mouth.
Voting is the right and duty of every citizen of the nation. Coaxing people to vote, spreading the word, making the issues know, are important and noble causes. Preaching to the choir isn’t helping, neither is antagonizing those who don’t participate. There has been a big push for as long as I have been old enough to pay attention, urging young people to go vote. I can’t vouch for the success of such campaigns, but it’s a refrain I’ve heard often. I disagree with that sentiment. If a person can’t be bothered to go out and learn about the election and the issues at stake, if that don’t know the basic process and couldn’t tell you who is even running, they shouldn’t bother. Who knows how those people decided who to vote for, but it certainly isn’t participating in democracy. There are enough people persuaded by fear tactics and threats that we don’t need voters playing a game of eeny-meeny-miny-mo to make their selection.
Alright, that was a bit harsh and certainly bitter. Everyone has the right to vote, no matter what their knowledge of the situation. I just feel the blanket statement has gone too far. I read comments from people that seemed full of venom, lashing out at non-voters, denouncing their rights as citizens. It’s a shame that there are so few people (active and knowledgeable) running to the polls on Election Day. Bullying them into submission isn’t the answer. It’s the same as people being led to protest when no one bothered to write any letters or go visit their representatives. The ability to make change is built into the process. Over the years groups have skewed that to their advantage, but it still exists. But that’s getting way off topic.
I had the privilege to be working when all the Advanced Polls were going, and during Election Day. It was a busy, stressful environment filled with pleasant people and very angry individuals who aggressively shared their opinions (no matter how many times I informed them I couldn’t engage in any discussions of the elections). Spittle flew and fingers were pointed. More than one person screamed at me. The idea that those who don’t vote can’t complain came from even the pleasant voters. Some took that sentiment to an extreme and hateful place. I understand that emotions ran high and people felt that everything was on the line, but some of the behaviour was unacceptable in any situation.
Perhaps I’m jaded and bitter (I know I am about many things) but when I checked in with my friends and family on social media (usually a haven from the high riding emotions of the outside world) seeing anything about the elections, no matter how positive, got under my skin. Now it’s over and some people are happy with the result while others aren’t. Some things have changed, but that is exactly the same. I didn’t intend to write about politics or the election today. When I sat down, I didn’t think I had anything to say. Now I’m at the end of another post and that’s all I did. Fancy that. Next week I trust I’ll be back to the regularly scheduled program.