When democracy has been established long enough, it’s natural to grow somewhat jaded with the process.
Some of us do remain excited, or at least highly interested in the process as we get closer to election day. We pore over the party platforms, watch the debates, follow the coverage of gaffes and sound bites.
But we must admit, we’re in the minority. And even a hardened political enthusiast can get tired of it all, especially with a campaign that’s stretched from the heat of summer into the middle of autumn.
So we aren’t asking for enthusiasm and joy. But we are asking people to vote.
Voting is an interesting duty. Unlike paying your taxes or jury duty, it is completely voluntary. Yet it is one of the most important duties of citizens in a functioning democracy. Our country would grind to a halt pretty quickly if everyone cheated on their taxes. But we can sustain lower and lower voter turnouts, down towards about half of the total electorate, for decades at a stretch.
And yet, we can’t help but think that lower voter turnout is both a cause and effect of problems in Canadian democracy.
In Canada, we have a country that functions about as well as any other on Earth. It’s one of the best places to live, even among wealthy, democratic nations. It is still far from perfect. Ask anyone and you will get a laundry list of things that could be better in Canada, things that could be improved, things that should be done away with.
Many people, however, don’t think voting will do anything to repair these problems. It’s true that voting is not the beginning and end of democracy. Advocacy and lobbying and pestering and protesting and even civil disobedience are sometimes necessary to grease the wheels of progress.
But voting may accomplish something. Not voting definitely accomplishes nothing.
So vote for a party or against one, for a candidate you love or against one you hate, but on Oct. 19 get out and vote.