April 28, 2011

Voter Fatigue? Consider this.

The U.S. government approved armed drone patrols and--if necessary--attacks against Moammar Gadhafi's troops in Libya this week, while John McCain put out calls to give official recognition to the rebels in that country, who are most recently engaging in close-quarters battle in the streets of the Libyan city of Misrata.

French troops on Africa’s Ivory Coast managed to ferret out incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo from his presidential compound bunker In the weeks previous, where he encamped himself after refusing to accede to the internationally-recognized president Alassane Ouattara as leader of the nation. Concurrently, UN human rights investigators say they found more than 100 bodies in a mass grave that were indications of an ethnically motivated slaying.

And unless you were living in a cave on Mars, with your fingers in your ears, and your eyes squeezed shut, you should’ve noticed the massive citizen uprising and protests in Egypt this year, which led to Hozni Mubarak—the country’s ruler—being toppled after 30 years of power. It was not a task completed without violence.

Many Egyptians are now supporting Syrian protestors who are calling for President Bashar Assad to step down, a dispute that has seen much blood shed, as have all the instances of political strife noted above.

Given these few examples of people standing up for their political beliefs—and dying for them—do we as Canadians really have any reason not to go to the polls on May 2nd?

Do you have any reason to buy in to the term ‘voter fatigue’ in the face of municipal, provincial and federal elections all in the same year, when you are SO fortunate to be able to exercise such a right as voting freely?

On May 2nd, there will be no armed security force escorting voters safely to polling stations. There will be no arbitrary detentions or threats of torture when you choose to cast a vote.

I suspect it highly unlikely that Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, Michael Ignatieff, Gille Duceppe, or Elizabeth May would barricade themselves inside an arms camp at the news they have not won leadership and command their followers to start an uprising against the elected government.

People seem to think that voting is pointless these days—that all politicians are corrupt, money gets spent unwisely, that generally nothing ever changes, and we’ll just end up with another election sooner rather than later anyway. Another election? That’s music to the ears of many on this planet, consider yourselves very lucky.

So, ‘Conservative’ or ‘conservative’, NDP, Liberal, BQ or Green? I don’t care. Just raise your voice in the peaceful, democratic, fear-free way which we are so fortunate to be able to do: vote. And if after you vote you don’t like the result, feel free to raise your voice again to complain. Another bonus of our system, you can do that, too, without winding up in a mass grave. It’s all a pretty good deal.