Whenever faced with the question, “Do you vote?” I balk.
I balk because of-bloody-course-I-do. We are blessed to have the privilege.
Seriously, why would anyone not partake in their democratic right?
As I launch into my favourite diatribe, someone else speaks up and says, they don’t vote. Their friends don’t. The lady down the street doesn’t.
And the weight of disappointment for my fellow Canadians pushes my shoulders down just a little bit. Because I’m not OK with this line of conversation. I’m not sympathetic.
Are we suffering from the downfall of abundance?
Is it stupidity?
I don’t understand.
How can you in one breath complain about the amount of taxes you’re paying or the cost of childcare today, then not vote?
What about that student loan? Do you know what the parties are saying?
How can you express heartache about refugees dying on European shores, and not march your butt down to the polling station assigned to you when the time comes?
How can you lament the changing weather, and not ask some serious questions about what this country is doing to combat climate change?
Each election reporters write stories trying to encourage Canadians to vote.
We point to the issues, we make calls and ask political scientists, “can you tell us what’s wrong?”
“If it was easier, would people vote?”
“If it was online, would people vote?”
“If there was electoral reform, would people vote?”
People still aren’t showing up at the ballot box, but I can’t stop asking.
While I’m on a roll, I’d also like to know what are Canadians talking about around the dinner table these days?
There can’t be such a disconnect that people don’t realize that their individual struggles and triumphs, as well as those of their loved ones and neighbours, are affected by decisions far above our heads.
Will your one vote make a difference?
Maybe not in the most obvious way, but now is not the time to take a pass on democracy.
I’m fond of what spoken-word artist Shane Koyczan, who is from Penticton, said to me recently.
“Your vote is the hand on the wheel. You are steering the country, that’s what your vote is for … things are not going to change overnight … it’s more of a direction, where we are going.”
There are a couple of days left until the polls open on Oct. 19, so I hope everyone will consider what direction they would like to put this country in.
Even if it’s not the same direction as I will choose.
Just choose. Vote. Be a part of the process that people in other parts of the world are dying for.
Kathy Michaels is a reporter for the Kelowna Capital News, part of the Black Press family of newspapers.