Certain members of the Canadian public cynically believe their votes mean nothing in federal elections. No party represents them fully, or they feel the party they favour hasn’t got a turtle’s chance on a six-lane highway of surviving. They carry their disenfranchisement like a dull badge of honour, pleading with people to listen while they continuously whine without doing anything about the situation.
Well, doing nothing is whole point of feeling disenfranchised, isn’t it? Apparently, your vote means nothing, so sit back and moan about it. Don’t expect the disenfranchised to stand up for your rights and theirs; don’t expect them to make informed decisions or to phone their MP with a legitimate complaint. However, do expect them to spread their negative, unmotivated viewpoint to others, especially the young and unsatisfied masses that already feel inept in the rapidly changing public world.
Let’s face it though, you probably don’t want these people to vote anyway. Anyone who feels strongly enough that their government doesn’t represent them to do nothing at all about it probably doesn’t know much about anything anyway. Otherwise, they might take their "hard-earned" understanding of how democracy works and actually put it to use. They might wake up and decide to run as an independent. Or they might march down to the office of the MP belonging to the party that most closely represents their views and ask to talk about the changing face of public policy. Geez, they might take 20 friends with them and really show someone just how dissatisfied the public is with current policy. Hell, they might even decide to cast their vote for a party with the clear understanding that no political body will ever entirely suit the needs of each and every citizen. There can only be partial fits and each voter must make judgments and prioritize what they consider important.
Disenfranchisement is a cop-out for snivelling individuals who can’t face up to the fact that life isn’t perfect and doesn’t revolve around them. Everyone gets a vote, and if the disenfranchised really are concerned and understand the issues then they should vote, if at least to counteract the votes of stupid people. Realistically, lots of people vote that can’t even accurately describe what a party stands for; instead they latch onto tiny bits of information they don’t understand. For example, some people are voting for the Canadian Alliance and the possible privatization of health care because they like what Klein (a provincial conservative, by the way) has done with registries and liquor stores. These types of voters are dangerous, and the disenfranchised non-voters allow them more control of the ballot box than they deserve.
Granted, many people are informed and make their choices wisely or at least in keeping with their conscience, but many more should get informed. It’s not about one issue; it’s about a multitude of issues. And if the so-called disenfranchised population of Canada really feels the current parties don’t offer good solutions to serious problems, then maybe they should band together and form their own party. Otherwise, they should grab a pamphlet, talk to the candidates in their riding and quit bellyaching about how they don’t have any power. Really, if you don’t want to vote, there are several countries that will happily tell you what to believe, how to act and how to live–and if you don’t like it, they’ll shoot you and put you out of your misery.