It’s a precious right

April 8, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

We have an election coming in June.

That’s right – it’s your chance to exercise your democratic right to say who you want to form the next provincial government and who you want to represent you locally at Queens Park.

This is a right that was fought for on many levels.

At one time women didn’t even have the right to cast a ballot until some of them banded together and made it clear that they are adults, members of society, intelligent, and deserved the same right to vote in a government as any man.

Others have defended the right to vote by taking up arms. Not just here, but in many places around the globe, and you can bet there are still a lot of countries on the planet were the right to choose the government is denied at the point of a rifle barrel.

Don’t like the current government? You would like them a lot less if the right to vote were eliminated and you were subject to the powers of a tyrannical government that tells you that you will like them or else.

Do you think the people of North Korea love the ‘Dear Leader’ as they call him, because he’s a great man and runs the country well?

No, they ‘love’ him because if they even thought about trying to vote him out of office they would be arrested at gunpoint, probably disappear, and their families and anyone who associated with them would be extremely nervous for the next few years fearing they might be relocated to a mult-generational re-education camp.

Even with this constitutional right we have to elect our government, almost half the eligible voters in Ontario won’t be bothered to put down the remote, turn off Jerry Springer, and take ten minutes to go to the polling station to make an X on a piece of paper.

It’s a very simple process. Even if you are totally befuddled at the prospect of reading the names on a ballot and making a mark, there are volunteers there that will guide you through the entire process and won’t charge you a dime for their services. They will even show you how to use a pencil to mark your choice on the ballot.

The reasons people don’t vote are varied.

One of the biggest excuses I’ve always heard is “There’s no one worth voting for.”

Seriously? Most people elected to public office do have something to contribute. They are intelligent, well-spoken, and dedicated. Otherwise their political party wouldn’t have selected them as a local candidate.

If they don’t do the job as expected, you have the same option to vote them out the next time around.

Even if you really thought there was no one worth voting for, it still makes more sense to cast a ballot for the person or party you believe best represents your interest rather than to let everyone else decide for you.

It would be hard to believe that in all the elections we’ve had at three levels of government, and all the candidates that have thrown their hat in the ring, there was ‘no one worth voting for.’

I suspect people that use this excuse not to vote are actually covering for the fact that either they are blindly ignorant of the political process and the agendas and platforms of political parties, or they are that part of the population that are easily led through life preferring to be told what to do rather than take action and be part of a self-determination process.

I know people that have never cast a ballot, not once, in any election. Yet, when I ask why they would not take the time to drive to the polling station and vote, the answer has always been a shrug and a blank stare.

Complaining about the government is a long-standing Canadian tradition for some reason – no one is ever satisfied – but at least we have the option to complain.

For those of us that take part in the election process, our voice has been heard.

If you can’t even be bothered to take ten minutes to cast a vote, maybe your complaints should be kept to yourself, as your whining after the fact in an event where you declined to voice an opinion comes as too little, too late.

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