Disclaimer: Think of the following is more of a list of things that I don’t understand, rather than a persuasive argument as to why you or anyone else shouldn’t vote. If your last name is either Harper, Trudeau, Mulcair, or May, or any other citizen who feels as if they might have the answers, please feel free to help my possibly narrow viewpoint evolve. This isn’t an attempt to be “hip”, or “edgy”, simply one man’s honest thoughts.
Don’t Won’t Vote: An Annotated Explanation
Deep in the midst of the conundrum that is the 2015 Canadian federal election, I find myself in a struggle with the ineffable moral decision between whether or not I should vote this year (as a 20-year-old Canadian citizen, this would be the first time I am eligible to vote in a federal election), and furthermore, if it is really is the right thing to do, to vote.
By now, judging by the title and your evident comprehension skills, I feel like you have probably figured out the decision that I have ended up at. This year I will not vote. Of course, I have an excuse ready for the plethora of “did you vote yet?”, and “who’d you vote for!?” questions that are unavoidable at this time of year. Something like “I’m not going to vote this year, I think it’s irresponsible for me to vote if I haven’t taken the time to educate myself on the candidates” (which I do believe, and is true for the most part), usually does the trick. But when it boils down to it, the fact of the matter is not that I can’t vote, shouldn’t vote, or don’t want to vote, but that I simply won’t vote.
Before any conclusions are jumped to, about the poor, misguided soul this post belongs to, I will attempt to briefly explain why voting in the rat-race (in more ways than one) that is the Canadian federal election, is not something that I will willingly take part in.
Let’s begin with a couple of facts for all of the Jr. myth-busters out there:
Fact: Politics is a career-path, a profession, not a moral responsibility or volunteer role.
Fact: The prime minister of Canada is paid $327,400, annually. (under-payed and over-worked, or the contrary?)
Fact: At the time of writing, according to Canada’s debt clock, Canada’s federal debt is tallied at an underwhelming “$612,869,893,677.00”. (Fun-ish Fact: Our debt in 1990 was almost half, but was still already over $335,000,000,000)
To get the most obvious fact out of the way, the debt numbers don’t actually mean much. Any economist will confirm that any economy will ALWAYS have ups and downs, not just ups, and besides O&G, and the falling dollar (online shopping at American stores really taking a hit, oh no), Canada’s economy really isn’t anywhere we haven’t seen it before in recent years. And if you’re still worried about the “recession” that we’re in, clean off the lobster crumbs from the keyboard, and check out this article from the Globe and Mail, here.
Now back to the fun stuff.
Politics is a career. A career lodged somewhere grimy car-salesman and back-alley plastic surgeon. Mastered in the art of selling lemons, while embracing the phrase “trust me, I’m a (spin) doctor”, Politicians turn civilian incompetence into financial gain. There is nothing noble about blindly misguiding those naive enough to believe that their pleas are being answered. Similar to the post I made about the student representatives at universities, many politicians bank on not being held accountable for their promises, while banking on the newly padded bank accounts.
Truthfully, the first political news that I was truly excited about since the election of Obama (don’t worry, we’ll get to that later) was the potentially satirical news that Kanye West may be running for president of the United States. Why? Not because he can put together a good song, or sell you a pair of over-priced shoes, but simply for the fact that he is not a politician by trade. The possibility of a man (or woman) in power, with ideally no hidden agenda, was more than refreshing enough to get me buzzing. If this campaign will ever actually happen is yet to be seen, but wouldn’t the ensuing chaos be a sight to see.
The fact that the main thing on politicians agendas are still how to keep a mass of cry-baby businessmen happy, may be the most disgusting part. Some business owners tear up at a 5$ increase in minimum wage over the next few years, while others buckle down and work that much harder to stay afloat. Multi-million, and billion dollar industries take a small profit hit, while university students with annual income often less that $10,000 are still left paying ludicrous, rising school fees, left entering the work force already with a debt often totaling $50,000 or more. All of this, while one of the richest countries in the world, still has a poverty problem. With 10% of the population living well below the poverty line, including an estimated 50% of aboriginal children, where is this on the dockets? The arguments that students and the impoverished aren’t included in campaign strategy because they (we) don’t vote often enough, is the most half-assed excuse as to why we don’t deserve a voice. What happened to representatives of a country who stood up for the interest of ALL, not the few.
To the point of the student, or the young vote, this is where another concern of mine arises. As a 20-year-old, immersed in a world where Facebook activists control the interwebs, not only do I not trust my own judgment, I most definitely do not trust my generations judgment. When 50% of my news feed consists of funny animal Vine’s, while the other 50% consists of the same people sharing spam as to why I should and should not vote for certain parties or candidates is very disconcerting. The same people who whole-heartedly display a hatred towards being “controlled” by the media, blindly follow the most recent thing to pop up on their Twitter timeline. Below is just one example of the propaganda seen everywhere, making it nearly impossible to ignore, and to sift through. As it’s a generally new phenomenon, I would love to see more regulations towards how political parties are able to spread information over the internet, including boosters.
Overhearing a girl on the train stating “I voted liberal, I’m ready for a hot Prime Minister” to her friend seemed like a symbol of our entire generation, where hotness and weed legalization are the 2 most sought after qualities in a leader.
The idea behind why students want to vote, on the other hand, is something I would love to get behind. The fearless bolstering for change is something great. But in the year 2015, “change” is about the very last thing to be seen. Racism is still more than alive, in fact a Black American president can’t even stop the hate-fueled violence in his own country. Just about anything that can be considered “different” is persecuted more than defended, unless a reality star does it first. The closest thing to support most can garner up is a Facebook like. More important that a young candidate trying to make a change in the community, are the tweets he or she sent out in their adolescence.
Bullies control the system, that is falsely labeled a “democracy”, rather than the meritocratic-hierarchy that it is. The “cool-kids” hegemony conquers all.
Today, in society we are taught that it is better to settle than have to try too hard for what is right. The best metaphor for thisyear’ss election that I’ve seen so far was something along the lines of “choosing who to vote for, is like choosing which STD would be best”. But why settle? As a Canadian citizen I will fully exercise my right, and duty to abstain from voting in this years, and any coming years elections, until a glimpse of hope appears. Until I see a candidate, and a party who care about the people, I will not vote.
As the election nears to a close, and the most recent polling showing only a 12 point gap between the top 3 parties, all I’m left with is further re-assurance that Canadians aren’t quite sure who to settle for, but are in-fact sure that we are settling. Instead of voting for the best, we’re voting for who’s not quite as shitty as the rest.
All I’m left dreaming of, is the perfect little utopia that I hope will exist one day, and I will do all in my power to contribute to it, but until then, I will not settle.
two words; one love,
-Negele (no screen-name needed.)