Thursday, October 4, 2012

Invoke your right to complain and VOTE

From my friend Jamie Hayes. Suck it UP PEOPLE! VOTE!

Anyone who knows me personally knows how passionately I feel about voting. It was the way I was raised; as long as I can remember my mom took me along to the polling station where she cast her ballot. Sometimes her party won, sometimes they lost but she always instilled in me the fact that change cannot come without action. Complaints rarely made things happen.
This county is filled with armchair political warriors who sit in the privacy of their own homes, shouting at politicians on TV, rarely getting out of that chair to make a difference, contribute one hour here or there to volunteer, not even getting out to say their piece and utilize that very important democratic right to VOTE.
Now here’s the kicker: many of my good friends and many of my family members don’t vote. People whom I love, adore and respect. Working, educated members of society who pay taxes, utilize public services, receive cheques and rebates from the government, do not exercise their very simple right to cast a ballot and have their say. This baffles me! Their excuses? Their parents didn’t vote, so they don’t. They don’t have the time. They don’t know who to vote for. The lines at the polling station are too long. One vote won’t make a difference. I don’t like any of the candidates. I won’t be in town on voting day. I have no way of getting to the polling station.
These excuses, my friends are complete and utter bullshit and I don’t accept any of them. Here is the honest truth: 61.4 percent of registered electors voted in the last federal election. In my town, Mission, last municipal election 7363 people cast a ballot for mayor-out of a population of approximately 35000. I was so angry and disgusted by this fact. How can people be so lazy? Why aren’t they voting? I asked around and was given the excuses above.
With the next provincial election coming up in May of 2013, and the American election looming, I’d like to tackle these excuses and perhaps try to convince non-voters to make the effort and exercise their right.
My parents didn’t vote This is unfortunate, however, you aren’t your parents and that is even more reason to get out and vote. Bring your kids to the polling station and instill the necessity to vote at a young age.
I don’t have the time I don’t know a single person who has an excess of time on their hands; I certainly don’t. I am a mother of pre-school age twin boys who take up 90% of my time. I have a husband whom I spend as much time with as I can. I’m small business owner of which I am CEO, CFO, manager, secretary, marketing manager and social media coordination. I sit on the board of 2 organizations. I volunteer in my community. I still find the time to read up on candidates and exercise my duty to vote during the 12 hours the polling stations are open on election day.
I don’t know who to vote for Lucky for you, leading up to election time, the candidates are featured in every newspaper, on every tv and radio station, have their own websites, and participates in public debates. Set aside ONE HOUR of your time and research the candidates so you can make an informed decision.
The lines at the polling station are too long I cannot argue with this. However, everyday people stand in long lines at Starbucks, so I’m sure people can do the same thing at the polling station.
One vote won’t make a difference Oh really? Think back to the US election in 2000 in which less than 600 votes in Florida sent George W. Bush to the White House. That’s 600 votes in a country with a population of over 300 million people, or .000002% of the American population.
I don’t like any of the candidates There have been past elections where I haven’t liked any of the candidates, but I don’t hate them equally. I simply vote for the one I dislike the least.
I won’t be in town voting day The solution in 2 words? Advance voting. There are always several advance voting dates to choose from to ensure you are able to cast your ballot.
I have no way to get to the polling station Walk. Take the bus. Ask for a ride. Or have a volunteer come from the polling station to pick you up. Many people who feel as passionate about voting as I do will actually pick you up and take you there and back.
Voting isn’t just your right, it’s your duty. There are people dying worldwide every single day, simply for the right to a democratic society, something millions of Canadians throw away like a used Tim’s cup every single election.
And if none of this is enough to get you moving, consider this: in 2009 the Taliban cut off the fingers of 2 Afghani woman for voting in the national election, due to the telltale ink stains left from using their fingerprint to vote. These woman knew good and well what would happen if they voted, but still went ahead and voted anyway, such is their belief that their choices must be heard.
Sacrifice one hour of your time to learn about the candidates and another half hour to place your vote.