Democratic responsibility

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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.




Give me a break, man.

I think itís a little too easy to blame voters for their election indifference. I really think youíre overlooking the real problem: the candidates.

Canada should do us a favor and actually give us a few contenders worth voting for.

I don't want to vote for Steven Harper; the guy is about as charismatic as a pilon. I donít really see what he wants to do when he gets into office, because he canít seem to decide what issues he wants to back. He cannot claim to be in touch with the people either. Did you see him walking around, stiff as the Tin Man, in Ottawa with that Flames jersey on, claiming that his Party embodies all the qualities the hockey team does (And I guess heís right, because, like the Flames, they are going to come up short).

I don't want to vote for Paul Martin, or Poor Old Gil from the Simpsons as I like to call him, who stumbles and bumbles his way through everything. The guy looks like heís on the verge of a nervous breakdown every time he speaks. And this guy has less of an idea about where Canada is going that Harper does. I mean, when youíre going to Bono for advice, youíre really starting to reach.

I don't want to vote for Jack Layton either... Just because the guy can't keep quiet and I donít think he is the guy that should be leading the NDP. I think this guy likes the sound of his own voiceÖ and his spot on CBC, during the playoffs, was so overblown and cheesy, I thought I was watching This Hour has 22 Minutes or something.

If there were any real candidates out there ñ any real people out there running - I would be on my way to the ballot box on the 28th, proud to put in my say on who should rule our great country. But as it stands right now, I couldnít be bothered because I really donít care for any of them...

And I know I can vote for an Independant. But that's throwing your vote away, isn't it? Well, right now it is, because is convinced with this myth. But if everyone forgot that falsehood and voted for a Party that actually wanted to do something for the people (other than strictly get elected), I think people would be more inclined and motivated to vote.

Right now, all we are really deciding is Liar No. 1 or Liar No. 2. I dont' think the people who fought so hard to gain our right to vote would be proud of who we are able to choose.

Well, then it is really voters faults for not getting better people into power. How, you may ask? Well, you must know somebody better for the job, otherwise you wouldn't be judging everybody else as poor.

The idea behind democracy is empowerment. If you think that you or a friend could do better than everybody in power now, then maybe it is time for you or your friend to run.

If you say, "It's not that simple, you need money to run," Then I think that we should not look to blaming the voters for their lack of voting or their lack of running, rather the social system upon which our democracy is moored, and the decay thereof.

The short and simple: either it's the voters' fault for not voting, the voters' fault for not presenting themselves as a better option, or the voters' fault for upholding a society where they don't allow themselves the empowerment to do anything aboyut either of the first points. My utmost fear is that it is the latter of the three that is actually the problem with the system.