Vote. Vote. Vote.

October 6, 2011

I’m always surprised come election time that I feel compelled to write this. Not only should it be absolutely unnecessary, paradoxically, it seems so repetitive. Is that a paradox? Ironic? Both? Neither?

Vote. Just vote. Fucking vote.

There are no excuses. Too busy. I forgot. I haven’t paid enough attention to the election. There’s nobody to vote for, everybody’s so lame. It doesn’t matter if I vote because nothing’s going to change.

That’s one that really sticks in my craw. You don’t think things will change if the parties all thought there was going to be a 100% turnout? Currently, they can shape a campaign around 40-50% of eligible voters actually voting. Target, laser-like, a small segment of the population with very narrow, specific concerns, get them fired up and out to vote. If you’re not going to vote, they don’t have to bother with you.

Imagine if parties had to appeal to a much wider swath of the population. They might find that they have to be more inclusive, more open to those who don’t share their exact views. Our politicians might have to spend more time and resources convincing us why we should vote for them rather than why we shouldn’t vote for their opponents.

Yes, it’s because of you non-voters that our election campaigns are so abysmally negative. So if you’re trying to rationalize not voting by telling yourself that everybody’s so negative, that’s just a closed loop of logic. Your apathy is a weapon used against you. Well played.

Right about now I should point out how our forefathers went to war and died so that we would have the freedom to choose our leaders. But really. Should I have to do that? If our bloody history fighting tyranny isn’t enough to get you out to vote, take a moment and look around. Just back a few short months ago. People rising up against repressive, corrupt and let’s not forget, ultimately, unelected regimes, rising up and dying for the rights that we, when we forget, neglect or simply can’t be bothered to vote, sniff at and dismiss as unimportant.

How dare you.

Now we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke realize that through very good fortune we are able to spend an inordinate amount of our time watching, following, writing about and obsessing about politics. It is a charmed life, frankly. We’re aware of the fact that most people, a good majority of them, aren’t so fortunate. Real life demands.

So yes, you may be intimidated and, rightfully perhaps, believe that you just don’t have enough information to vote in a truly informed manner. That’s OK. Just vote. That’s where it all starts. Next time, when you know that no matter what, you’re going to vote, you may take just 15 minutes to read a newspaper editorial, leaf through the copious flyers that are dropped off in your mailbox and think, hey, that’s a nice colour. I’m going to vote for him.

It all begins with a vote. Nothing else matters more than exercising your right to vote. You think that’s overly melodramatic? Ask somebody who can’t.

So just get out there and vote.

— chidingly submitted by Cityslikr