In the run up to the election, I've encountered several people who have bemoaned the fact that there's no one they want to vote for. When pressed, they become agitated that one or another party's list of promises or direction doesn't match precisely with theirs, and that this disqualifies that party from consideration. When they don't vote, they'll bitch about whoever manages to get the votes of the people who did care enough to do so.
Democracy is about a little bit more than making an 'x' a few times a decade. Democracy is a bit more than waiting for some wondrous manifesto to be delivered from on high for your perusal and possible approval.
The people who design the party platforms are citizens like you and I. Every party in this country has policy conferences, for people who want input into the platform of a group. It's at that time that most voters should be making their voices heard.
"But I'm just one voice so it really doesn't matter what I say or how I say it".
Bollocks. So is Stephen Harper. So is Jack Layton, or Jim Harris, or Gilles Duceppe, or Paul Martin. A single voice can matter a great deal. Everyone could share a great and wonderful idea, but if no one says anything about it, no one will ever know that it's shared. Sharing ideas is one way that we grow. We learn, we build a shared sense of community. We sway each others opinion.
"But there's no time."
Bollocks. If that's true, then the country's direction, the country's future isn't all that important to you after all.
"But it's all controlled by Big Business, Corrupt Politicians, Big Labour, Americans, Space Aliens, or Rick Mercer."
Bollocks. If you use that as your excuse for not getting involved and taking the party "back" from those Evil Forces, then you're definitely not going to have an impact. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
If you wait until the election time, you're a little late to the party (no pun intended, but I'll take the chuckle if I can get it). By not participating earlier, you're stuck with the choices given you. You might get to make an 'x', but you're one of the ruled, not one of the rulers. The policy has already been framed and you're just rubberstamping it.
So suck it up. If you can't agree with the party platforms, look at the individuals running in your riding, to see who stands closest to your vision of the country, and vote — the individuals are the people who will represent you in the House of Commons. And if you're not happy with the policies and promises you've been offered this time around, do something about it. Join the party that's the closest to your vision (whatever that vision is), and contribute to that party's direction for the next time around.
But if you don't even make your 'x', then you're voting for all of them, and it's your fault no matter who ends up in Government.
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