The Vote Toss

29 Mar

But I'm voting Green.

I’m not particularly politically inclined. Or, at least, I never used to be. I remember turning 18 and telling my dad that I wasn’t going to vote. He promptly proceeded to haul my ass to the voting booth, forcing me to exercise my democratic right to bitch. What does that mean? It means that if you don’t vote, you don’t get to bitch. You had the option of making your voice count, but you didn’t, so tough luck asshole, I’m not interested in your whining.

Seriously.

To this day I have no patience for people who don’t vote, especially now that I’ve been living in a country where people aren’t given the option.

Still, I didn’t exactly know much about what I was voting for. I didn’t mind the Liberals, didn’t know much about the NDP, and tended to strongly dislike the Conservatives, but I liked most of what the Green Party had to say, so I usually voted Green. I even voted Green in the 2006 federal elections when most people I knew blasted my decision to “waste [my] vote” by not voting Liberal to keep the Conservatives out.

And so began a battle I have been fighting ever since, namely, the defence of my belief that you should vote for who you truly want to be in power. Anything less and—similar to not voting at all—you don’t have a right to bitch. Almost everyone I know, including my closest friends and family, told me how stupid I was. Did I really think that Green could possibly win? Why was I wasting my vote on a non-starter when I could be putting my vote to good use by keeping the Conservatives out? THEY were going to vote Liberal. At least THEIR vote would count for something.

Lot of good that did.

We now have another election coming, and I continue to stand by my convictions. And so I answer the question so many asked me over five years ago: Do I really think that Elizabeth May is going to be the next prime minister? Not bloody likely. But having a couple of Green MPs couldn’t hurt. And like that proverbial snowball, once people start to believe that Green is a true option, more and more people will make their honest choice at the polls.

Because seriously, if every person that sat there and harped on me for “throwing away [my] vote” actually voted the way they wanted, things would look a lot different in Canada.

In fact, they might even begin to look like Germany. Germany, who on Sunday showed a 24.2% result in Baden-Württemberg and a 15.4% in Rhineland-Palatinate for Green. As Spiegel Online International put it:

“…the country’s political landscape experienced a profound shift over the weekend. Germany is no longer a country firmly in the hands of the SPD [Social Democrats] and the CDU [Christian Democrats]. As of Sunday, the Greens have crashed the party. And before long, they might be sending out the invitations as well.”

This announcement came on top of my best friend—and loudest adversary in the vote-tossing debate—posting a blog entry in which he not only did a complete 180 of opinion, but actually denounced people who voted “for the lesser of two evils”! I added that exclamation mark because he hates them.

(Note: I love my best friend very much and he’s already laughed at the hypocrisy of his blog post after I did my best to scream at him over gmail chat. He’s one of the smartest people I know. He was bound to get there in the end.)

And so I’ve realized that things are changing. People are changing. They are opening their eyes and coming to the conclusion that this f*cking sucks. What we’ve been doing doesn’t work and when things don’t work, you need to stop what you’re doing and bloody well fix them. And if fixing them doesn’t work (as it obviously hasn’t), then it’s time to try something new.

Even if you are one.

I’m not saying that Green is the answer, but using your vote to represent your voice is a bloody good start. Vote Liberal, vote Conservative, vote Green, vote NDP, vote Independant, vote Bloc Québécois if you absolutely must, but just vote.

May 2nd my Canadian friends, May 2nd.
Get off your rat’s ass and vote.

You have to listen to Banksy.

UPDATE: The lovely Jo Jorgenson directed me over to an SFU site dedicated to elections info. Part of it discusses voter turnout and why our numbers seem to be dropping. It also touches on two of my other pet issues: education in Canada and whether or not it properly prepares students to become citizens of our country (i.e. teaching them about the different parties and what it means to vote); and whether we should make voting compulsory like Brazil and Australia. In regards to the second issue, an Ekos poll done in September 2009 found that 49% of Canadians support compulsory voting. I’d love to know who those 49% are. I’m one of them. You?

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