So, it's that time of... not quite four years again, and we've been asked to paddle our butts down to a polling office and cast our votes.
The available choices are something that I've been known to whine about. But the actual act of voting has always figured fairly high upon my list of priorities. It's not like it takes a lot of effort or anything... and when it comes down to it, it does make a difference... (a small part of a big difference?).
Once upon a time, back when I was ages 12 through to 18, I was so raring to vote... blame Mike Harris, the premier of Ontario for the larger part of the '90s. All's I really remember was: I was a gallery brat. Therefore, I knew the pains of the art communities during those years. The no-funding deals. Or, you know, the basic slash funding, programs.
But there was more. I remember my mom pointing out posters (they really made no difference in our small Ultra-Con towns) that stated: "Minimum wage $6.75, Monthly welfare payments $695, Mike Harris' political advisors' hourly wage $495". Or, you know, something along those lines. I might have forgotten the specific numbers by now (I think I have, because I remember the hourly wage being higher than the monthly welfare rate). Point is, at that age, I was already indignant and angry about PC Politics.
Oh, yeah, and to add salt to that wound... there was also that minor incident of the new curriculum. And the glorious day that we went to listen to Nelson Mandela speak at the SkyDome (now known horrendously as the "Roger's Centre"), and Harris came out to speak first. And a SkyDome full of angry 11 and 12 year old children booing him.
Long story short: while most of my friends were more into their Nintendo systems, I was so ready to cast my vote. I actually spent the 14-16 years reading books about Suffragettes (probably one of the reasons that people called me that dirty ol' f-word, you know... feminist). In Highschool Civics class (the bullshit "understanding the political system" class that Harris' new curriculum added) I railed against the unjust laws that required me to be 18 before I could vote - 16 was more than mature enough! (Of course, my classmates thought I was an utter nerd, and the teacher kind of hated me).
The point of this long, rambling story is that voting is a responsibility I feel is very, very, very important. And even if you're voting for the dirty Con Party and their head corporate robot Harper (can you tell I'm biased in favour of the the lefties?) the point is, you're voting. And that is important.
The sad thing is that I feel like most people in my generation are still no more interested in being involved than they were in highschool. I know numerous young, university educated people who refuse to vote because: "Oh, it just doesn't matter." "What has the government ever done for me?" and "My guy never wins." And we wonder why there are so few young people trusted in government. A mixture of laziness, apathy and plain old ignorance allows so many people to "justify" why they just shouldn't vote. One friend told me that she creates change through other actions. But activism, however important, shouldn't be constantly necessary. Instead, why not just try to elect a responsible government that responds to its populous? Hell, what's a walk to the polling office compared to having to organise protests or incite the revolutionary mob?
I'm sick of people who go on and on about how the world is going to shit and then, if you ask them if they voted, they say "Oh, well, my vote doesn't count for much". No, it doesn't count for much if you don't use it. It'll count for a hell of a lot more if you were to just use your vote.
I think that one of the reasons that the advertisements for the respective parties (*cough* Conservatives) have gotten so completely trashy (ie. no political message, just slamming the other guy, like, you know, the "Gamble on Dion" series?) is because people are just shutting off to actual issues. We don't want to talk about, don't want to deal with it, and don't want to take responsibility of it.
And don't even get me started on how the American Election '08 is going.