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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Politics

I’ve never been much interested in politics. I didn’t really have the time or energy to invest in the future of the country I lived in, being busy as I was trying to feed myself and my kids. At least, that was my excuse.

What I didn’t realize at the time (no one ever sat down and explained the importance of my vote to me) was that my vote, a tiny little drop in an ocean of votes, mattered a great deal, and the hour or two it would take me to go to the polls and make my mark would mean I was in this thing. Not a bystander. Not at the party but not in the party. In it. A party to it. Part of it.

That’s pretty empowering.

My coven sister, Tarma, has been gently encouraging me to take an interest in politics. She didn’t make me promise to vote. That would be going way too far. She made me promise to talk about voting with my kids. So, I’m talking to my kids about voting. Problem is, I have no idea who’s running or what they stand for, so I can’t really talk to my kids about voting, can I?

Nope. I can’t. Solution? Step One: Begin reading political blogs. Start small. Quips and blurbs. Take a passing interest. Step Two: Actually ask people how they are voting and then ask why. Step Three: Pay attention to the people who actually sound like they know what they’re talking about. Summarily ignore the people who say things like “My people have always voted for [insert party here].” Step Four: Engage in a conversation with coven sisters about strategic voting and how that just doesn’t work. Get a little wide on over the idea that I can vote in accordance with my principles and okay - the party I want to win will probably not win, but at least they’ll get more funding due to my little vote. Turns out my little vote is like a royalty. If you buy a book, a portion of it goes to the author. If you vote for a party, they get a little chunk of funding.

Swoon. So, it actually does make a difference. Maybe not short-term, but in the long run. No vote is a wasted vote. Well, unless you’re voting for the Flying Yogis…

ANYway. All this to say that I read through the websites (platforms included) of the Liberal Party, the PC Party, the NDP, and the Green Party, and it’s official. I’m Green through and through. I know they are not going to win in this election, but my little chunk of funding creating vote will help them run a better campaign next time, and getting involved means my kids get to see their parents getting involved, and that means they’re more likely to get involved, and hey! When I tell Axe that the Green Party is for the legalization of marijuana, you *know* he’s going to become a Green Man (ohhhh….the pagan in me SO loves that), and so on and so forth until one day, maybe, just maybe, we will have a Green Economy, (not to mention happy Aboriginal people, reduced child poverty, reduced emissions, etc. etc. etc.,).

If I don’t vote, I’ll have effected nothing.

For the first time ever - and yes, I admit that I’ve NEVER voted before in all my 37 years of life - I am going to vote on election day.

And yes, I’m voting for Pot…er…The Green Party.

F. Stuart

(x-posted at feithline(dot)com

Comments:
Actually, even a vote for the Flying Yogis is a valid vote. People don't vote for lots of complicated reasons (and some people vote for simplistic, dumb reasons!) but often it's because they think their vote doesn't matter and that all the main parties are pretty much the same.

I don't vote green, although I'm mildly green in lifestyle, but I do believe in a pluralistic society in which people are encouraged to put their views forward. I also believe we shold have a more democratic system than we currently have and that some form of proportional representation should be introduced.

Now this might mean that slightly nutty or downright offensive views get an airing and sometimes that the view-holders are going to get official representation. They might even get to hold the balance of power at some point. But I think this is ultimately a Good Thing. We should have a Parliament that is more reflective of the variety of opinions that exist in the country and that has a broader range of people looking at issues with different perspectives.

Our 2-party system simply results in parties pretending to fight for the "middle ground" and then doing pretty much what they want afterwards because they've got a majority and the system is too simplistic to hold them truly accountable.

So, go on! Vote Green, vote Tory, vote Flying Yogi. And make our system more democratic and then more accountable.
 
Thanks for the encouragement. :)

Feithy
 
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