I am grateful to live in a democratic nation, but the system isn’t without faults.
Political campaigns grind my gears – the carefully groomed images, promises that can’t be kept and the mud flinging.
Since the provincial election was called, I have received at least two emails a day from each party and they are all the same format:
“The leader of this party said they were going to do this, that is a terrible idea, we are far superior and are going to do this (sometimes unrelated) thing.”
Though I must admit these yelling matches via news releases can be entertaining, especially given the short campaign period this year which has seemed to amplify the use of such tactics, I find myself getting mad at everyone instead of being convinced to vote one way or another.
And that anger is on top of the resentment I have at an election being called in the first place.
We are in the middle of a pandemic and being asked by the government to avoid gatherings but you want us all to congregate in one place in order to cast a vote?
I find myself breathing deeply in order to calm down more often than I am taking normal breaths.
It is cringe-worthy that finger pointing is an accepted part of politics. No one else can do it.
We are literally taught not to point at people as children and as adults we are told to accept responsibility instead of passing the buck to someone else, especially when we are in positions of power.
Unfortunately, the politics of it all doesn’t end with the election. Every decision an elected official makes could be the one that loses them the election the next time around.
How do you think that influences their actions? How would it influence your actions?
It is all very imperfect and frustrating.
Yet, we have to wade through all of the “messaging” and drama and vote anyway.
Voter apathy doesn’t just impact which party rules us all, it impacts what issues are thought of as high priority and in turn where taxpayer money is being spent.
So, some advice for those of you our there who are like me and would rather burn your mail-in ballot than actually vote:
• Refusing to participate won’t help anyone. You’re mad, I am too, vote anyway.
• Don’t take any political promises seriously. Even if that party is elected they are not guaranteed to happen. Don’t vote based on a single promise.
• Look at the party and representatives values instead. Yeah they might not start deep space exploration by 2050 but they clearly value space exploration and that will colour all of their decisions.
• Don’t mistake yelling and finger pointing for passion. Good speakers can incite loyalty but remember to take a step back and think about what they are actually saying – you may find that it is nothing meaningful at all.
I would also recommend taking a look at what you need in your own life. How would these proposed policies impact you?
It can be hard to understand what it all means, especially when you are bombarded by information and opinions from all corners of the Internet. Take a minute to be critical of all of the political content you are consuming (even this column, go find what other people think about the election as well).
And remember to take a break. You don’t need to be following all of the political news all the time. Let the anger boil off every so often. Making decisions when mad is never a good idea.