Democratic responsibility

By Ben Hoffman

It has been 137 years since the great country of Canada came into being, and the confederation is definitely showing its age. In those early days, people respected the right to vote because their immediate predecessors fought hard to win it from the tyrants who dominated them. Now, students have trouble getting motivated enough to even express ourselves through the use of a check mark once every four years.

Although students are not all apathetic, it is a large enough problem to warrant an examination.

In search of a deeper truth behind this problem, I headed out into the depths of Mac Hall to ask students for their thoughts on the upcoming national election.

A healthy number of the students knew about the election and already had a political platform of choice. I commend those individuals, they are worthy of the country that they live in.

Then there was disturbing evidence of another paradigm. Some told me they had not heard of the election, and others had heard of it, but they just didn’t care. I prodded further, inquiring why they would not care.

To my chagrin, their apathy was cliched.

“My vote won’t make a difference.”

“No matter which candidate wins, they won’t care about us.”

“I haven’t done enough research to pick anybody.”

These responses infuriate me, particularly the last of the three. Further, they said they wouldn’t even do research.

So, we have a number among us unwilling to make an effort and unwilling to vote without doing so. This is blatantly disrespectful to those who made it so that we can vote. Decision-making is not supposed to be easy.

My search for the deeper meaning behind student apathy failed: there is no meaning. We are simply lazy, and so the case must be made against laziness.

In this age of the rule of the status quo, it is more than ever before vitally important for us to remember that even standards come from somebody. This doesn’t seem to bother many students, though. The status quo gives us wonderful things, like food, money and rich, happy lives. Policies and standards give us a high quality of living, why should we aspire to anything else?

Remember that a democracy where only one person votes is a dictatorship.

Remember that if the status quo is not to vote then the government who has the influence over the standards is trying to convince you that they should be your tyrants.

Remember that the franchise was not extended to women, asians or aboriginal people until long after the institution of democracy in Canada, and only after generations of struggle.

Most of all, remember polls show this election to be a closer race than has been seen in over a decade. It is Canada’s first chance in three governments to not only express that we want our voices to be heard, that our issues do matter, but to affect profound change.

Do Canada a favor. Vote.

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