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stainedlips

Dear Editor,

I am making a desperate plea to my fellow Canadians about the upcoming election. Please, for the good of the country, don’t vote. You have no idea what you are talking about.

All sides are guilty of this entirely equally. You sip your blue or your red Kool-Aid or you try experimenting with orange, green, or whatever other flavours give you a cop out to say you aren’t a Kool-Aid drinker but the coloured stains on your lips say otherwise.

Every year (and I am sure I have been guilty of the same offence) I read or hear people saying “Go out and vote! I don’t care who you vote for as long as you do.” But has anyone stopped to think and ask why? Why do I want a one issue voter who knows nothing about most things to decide what direction our incredibly powerful government should take our country? Why do I want someone uninterested and uninformed deciding who holds the reins of power?

In a perfect world we would all share a baseline of understanding and voter turnout would be 100% and every single one of us would be totally informed on all issues. But we do not live in a perfect world.

This also isn’t a suggestion that not enough people think exactly like me. Nothing is more intellectually stimulating than listening to well informed people respectfully debate topics with an open-mind. Two informed people can disagree entirely on issues and solutions. Those people would hold public conversations and debates, take questions from people, and answer them honestly in the pursuit of truth and in the spirit of solving problems. This is how ideas evolve and this is the standard by which we should measure the success or failure of our democracy.

What do we have instead? Two governing parties in the Liberals and Conservatives that claim to stand for all of us, but end up truly representing none of us.

Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer are both personally against abortion (though Trudeau now says his opinion has “evolved” since 2011) and both party leaders have committed to not addressing Canada’s lack of abortion laws. Ignoring the fact that Trudeau gets a pass on his personal pro-life position because he is on the red team, what I find perplexing is that abortion is one of the leading issues discussed on social media and in the press.

What about gay marriage? Scheer obviously holds personal religious views against it, (which we can all glean from his past statements and his bizarre unwillingness to answer questions about his personal views on the topic today) but he has never once attempted to re-open that debate and has firmly stated that gay marriage is a settled issue and is also recognized in the Conservative Party constitution.

So with all of these being considered dead issues by the top two contenders to form power, why are these topics the ones that seemingly get the most coverage and social media shares?

The sad answer to that question is that the vast majority of us are not interested in the actual issues. We barely care or know what our tax rates should be, what new companies or things we will tax, what things we will lose, what things we will gain, what will face cuts, or what will get more funding.

We care about how many times Trudeau wore blackface, or if Scheer was actually an insurance agent or if he has dual loyalties because he is also an American citizen. We crave sensationalism and the media and talking heads provide it. We lap it up and share it around like wildfire and then we complain when the people that we elect end up failing us.

Our political apathy grows and half of us don’t vote and most of us that do don’t actually understand the effect that putting that X by someone’s name will really have. Then we pat ourselves on the back because “our team won” and we check out until we have to pretend to know what we are talking about four years later.

If it hasn’t become clear as you read this, I don’t really want you not to vote. I want us to achieve a higher level of political discourse and understanding than we currently have. I, like many of you, feel lost in our current political system and let down by those in power. We hold politicians in such a negative regard and most often rightly so, but I don’t lay the blame for that with any politician or party leader.

I look in the mirror.

Shea Angus


 

 

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