Apathy the majority’s choice

The 33.5 per cent voter turnout was at best remarkably poor, actually abysmal is a better choice.

The electioneering is over and the die is cast for three more years. I guess the real question is: what will happen now? Will we get what we got before? What was that? Do I remember? Do I care? All the pre-election rhetoric is now academic.

One only has to look at the voter turnout to get an inkling as to what may happen. The turnout was at best remarkably poor, actually abysmal is a better choice. We had a whopping 33.5 per cent registered voter turnout. What a fantastic number. The press has touted the fact that it was higher than the last election. What message should we get from this statistic? Probably, that the majority of registered voters are satisfied with decisions made by mayor and council or that they don’t really give 16 damns about civic politics or how their tax dollars will be spent over time. I find it difficult to believe that two-thirds of the eligible voters have let one-third of the registered voters decide their political future. It is sad, but very true. Apathy seems to be a token watchword to go by where it concerns the democratic process.

I often wonder what triggered this voter apathy. Is it complacency, inconvenience, status quo satisfaction or the like that determines who votes and who doesn’t vote? Only each of us knows the real answer to the question of voter apathy. If you voted on Nov.19, you did your civic duty and you cared enough to help make a difference in your community. If you chose not to vote or didn’t think that your vote would make a difference, you will have to tolerate whatever council decides for the next three years. That should give you sufficient time to rethink the voting process. Remember, if we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we’ve always got.

You’ve heard the stories around those who gave up life and limb to give us the freedoms that we now enjoy in this country. You’ll hear them many more times, I’m sure. However, unless you take the story to heart, you’re fooling yourself and totally taking things for granted.

In summary, if you voted, be content in the knowledge that you expressed your opinion and that you exercised your democratic right. If you didn’t vote, be content in the knowledge that you let one-third of your fellow voters decide your civic fate. It has been said that there are three kinds of people: There are those who watch things happen; those who make things happen; and those who wonder what happened after things are over. Ask yourself this question: “Where do I fit?”

Ron Barillaro

Penticton