The least of all evils

By Lawrence Bailey

Although I am a strong supporter of democracy and see it as the most just means of forfeiting control of one’s daily life to a greater power, there are certain basic conditions that must be met. One of these conditions is the presence of capable, intelligent and respectable leadership. Therein lies the problem of Nov. 27.

We are faced in this nation with both the blessing and the curse of a federal election. We have the right to participate and forge the course of our nation–sadly we have no one to lead us. This is a dilemma not to be taken lightly as we find ourselves with an overabundance of politicians and politics and an appalling lack of leadership or vision.

When there are no parties worth supporting and many worth thwarting, democracy is debased and its greatest failings are put on display. It has gotten to the point where strategy and self-interest are the only factors the informed public has to decide their vote.

In my own case this has led to the sad realization that, come election day, I will be voting for Joe Clark. You see, as a constituent of Calgary Centre I have the following options: the Canadian Alliance, a party that promotes regionalization, privatization and the ignorant and biased concept of "Christian values" (which, as far as I can tell, are "white European values"); the Liberal Party of Canada, stagnant, inflammatory and in dire need of a slap across the face to wake them up; the NDP and the Green Party, perennial protest votes for those disillusioned or far more idealistic than myself; the Conservatives, who’ve fallen from grace and have a leader who has already failed miserably as Prime Minister.

Therefore, the only possible course of action is the pursuit of blind self-interest. For that reason my vote will go, grudgingly, to the joweled wonder, Joe Clark. Why? Simply because with a party leader as my MP I will receive preferential treatment. That, and the fact he is most likely to oust Alliance incumbent Eric Lowther.

This is my unenviable situation; I respect and relish the role I play in the determination of my nation’s future and realize that boycotting the vote is an ill-advised and irresponsible act, but it is incredibly difficult to decide which poison pill to ingest.

All too often I’ve found myself in a cold sweat between nightmares of what the nation may look like in a year, my thoughts inevitably drifting to the merits of enlightened despotism.

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