In my three decades of voting—both provincially and federally in Canada—I have voted across the political spectrum. Is that your experience too? Over the years, I voted based on limited information, or out of fear, or anger, sometimes in protest, sometimes in reaction to scandal, sometimes convinced by empty arguments founded in whataboutism. Sometimes, I voted with little contemplation, aligned with family and/or other groups of people, aka tribalism.
The current political grind makes me understandably cynical about politicians who continue to devolve to be more partisan, unable to work together on anything. Can you relate? In Alberta for example, we have the worst provincial government since the province was formed a century ago. Faced with unprecedented unpopularity, daily calls for resignations, protest after protest, no one in that party is steering the ship. Their strategy? Pander to their conspiracy-theory minority base. Ignore every scandal or defend hypocrisy. Lower taxes yet download all costs to municipalities. Collaborate with no one. Stream endless bullshit. Gaslight and double down. Hence, storm after storm, we drift.
Sigh. So does voting really matter anymore?
Absolutely. Please vote. If we check out of politics, we will not even contemplate (let alone combat) the issues that we remain dogged by: wealth inequality, privilege, xenophobia... Right now, idiots are protesting at hospitals and harassing schools! The Trump years continue to highlight democracy's fragility and yikes, there are our climate challenges too. Despite disillusionment and cynicism, we must persist. Why?
Time has proven that voting matters and policy change has improved our lives, drastically. I mean it's a simple example, but as a child I had never even heard of recycling. Think of our extended life expectancy and enhanced quality of life, communication and technology innovations, a more educated society, improved social justice policies, and so on. I recognize that many of these examples should be followed by "for some" in parenthesis. It took me much too long to realize that voting is only the first step; regardless of the outcome, I must remain engaged after election day. I will choose accordingly, with my wallet and with my voice.
Yesterday, inspired by allyship, I voted for my granddaughter's future. If you are struggling for reasons to vote, perhaps there's someone's future you might vote for too?