There are just far too many elections going on at the moment for my liking – US Federal, Canadian Federal and BC Municipal – all in the next 2 months. Cringe and cover time people!
Elections really get me down – although I vote, and sometimes even campaign for the people I like – I just view them as more stress, more work, and another diversion from getting down to the things that matter. The federal election being an example very specific to my union work: there is a very good chance the collective bargaining will be cancelled or at the very least slowed until November as a result of Harper’s election call. And for what? Another minority government with the same composition? I think Canadians could have waited another year for that.
There’s something about an election that just reminds me of how powerless the process is. As Douglas’ speech above points out, it’s just fat cats and more fat cats – and these days we don’t even have a credible socialist alternative to buoy us (as far as I’m concerned the NDP is just another bunch of cats). I want it to be different, you know. I really do. But every election where I get even moderately excited about a particular candidate or leader only results in disappointment after the election is over.
Take Layton for example. I always vote NDP if I vote at all, and when Layton won the party leadership a few years ago I thought – okay, he talks well, seems to be getting down to the brass tacks of class, etc. etc. I was cautiously optimistic that perhaps he could bring some dynamism to the federal NDP for a change. A small hope.
But honestly – the fact Layton has spent three years talking about little more than ATM fees and the outrage of paying for text messaging? Are his advisors serious? Or just lining up Layton and co. to be the cranks of Parliament Hill? What about the nightmare of housing prices? The loss of arable land (and thus food security) to industrial development? The deregulation resulting in outbreaks of illness? The fact that Harper has muzzled the bureaucracy and is running the least accountable government in decades?
Oh no. ATM fees. Because that’s what Canadians are really concerned about. How insulting.
(To be fair, he has expended some of his precious talk time on Arctic sovereignty which I admit is a tad more interesting – but at the end of the day, working people don’t really care that much. And the NDP is supposedly our party – that would be the party of mice, not cats).
But it’s been a long time since any politician actually spoke the language of regular folks to the degree needed to moblize their vote. And I suspect that the biggest failure of this election campaign will be reflected in low voter turnouts. Why bother even listening when nothing is going to change? Why bother going to the polls early for more of the same? It gets me down people, it really does.
Which is why I’m trying my hardest to ignore the big picture, and just focus on my local candidate who I like (yay Libby!) Because otherwise I might end up not voting at all.