Did you really think I would go a whole election campaign and say nothing about politics?????
I ran for Municipal office several years ago. I didn't mean to. I offered to help with a campaign, to work on a campaign, to learn about a campaign ...... and then all of a sudden, in an act that was equal parts bravado and naivete and stupidity, I was filing papers to be on the ballot.
I still have mixed feelings about that whole experience. In many ways it disillusioned me more about politics than anything else ever has. I faced the disconcerting fact that it is NOT about good people with good ideas and noble plans being elected.... it is primarily about money and secondly about the party machine (which is really in large part about money) and thirdly its about name recognition (which is really about how much money you have to get your name out there over and over again). On the upside, I learned a lot about my community - a startling amount about myself and lots about how politics divides and unites people (including your friends).
My friend Kim and I live virtually parallel lives and the day she phoned to tell me she was running for School Trustee was the day I told her I was running for City Council........ in the same election but in different cities.... so we lived the campaign together and we were on the phone with each other as our fairly dismal but not really surprising results came in.....neither of us came last which, by that point, had become the goal......
I can safely say I will never run for politics ever again.
I am nonetheless curious about politics and still try to engage in campaigns as they come around (which here in Canada seems all too frequently but lets not go there.....). Having grown up in Apartheid South Africa I am keenly aware of the responsibility and privileged that democracy brings and I could never squander the right to vote by abstaining or by being apathetic. It drives me crazy how many Canadians toss off their democratic right as if it had no meaning or came at no cost to generations before us.
So I vote... always....... but often, here in Canada, I vote to not get someone elected rather than for a party I do want in.... that old honey trap called strategic voting....... I know many people do and I have read enough analysis that says it works if we do it in sufficient numbers but it irks me. I want to vote with conviction for a person or party I truly believe will do a decent and trustworthy job. But even then it seems that the political game demands such compromise that even the best, most well intentioned politician often fails to live up to expectations and promises.
This campaign I truly cannot vote for the individuals running in my riding for the party I most align with. So I am voting for the person I think has the most intelligence and integrity in my riding..... sadly...... he is also most likely to come in last place. My hope is that in this election Canada will elect its first Green Party Member of Parliament...... I have other hopes.....but some things are truly better left unsaid.
SO...... my fellow Canadians........ VOTE tomorrow!! Please. If you need some help deciding........