Democratic Voting at the Casino —

With another election coming up, we’re once again heading with some degree of foreboding to another round of well rehearsed rhetoric from a whole host of eager candidates, all loaded up with well groomed predictions for our future if we’ll only vote for them. With so many irrelevant details, cheap shots and second rate commercials aimed at demeaning other candidates in the eyes of the electorate, elections have become something of a frustrating annoyance; all laced with carefully engineered ambiguity about one particular party’s plans for our future.

It’s quite disheartening to see many candidates operate on the premise that the voting public is so lacking in common intelligence that they can be won over by simply making other candidates look foolish with tasteless, debasing remarks and frivolous, irrelevant details, often dug up from the distant past by uncouth candidates in a desperate effort to win at all cost. It appears that one of the rules in the “honourable” profession of politics is that it’s quite permissible to crudely drag some other guy through the sewer in hopes, I assume, the voters will suck it up; the rhetoric, that is.

With all this said, however, I agree most candidates are fair and honest, perhaps to their detriment, and there’s nothing wrong with a well presented challenge to another candidate’s position as long as it’s said respectfully.

It really concerns me that there’s been public discussion about voters being mandated to vote for such flippant people as herein mentioned in future elections when past experience suggests that their offered assurances are unpredictable at best. As for being mandated to vote; inasmuch as I’m “entitled” to vote, I should, by logic, also be “entitled” to not vote if I so choose; and as for it being “my civic duty,” I’d be more inclined to vote if I could have the people running for office do “their” civic duty by keeping the promises they make at election time and putting clear intelligible substance into their election speeches. If this was to ever happen, voters might be much more willing to vote, as they could then do it with some degree of conviction instead of having to vote for the guy they distrust the least.

Another issue of concern to me is what happens when my elected candidate gets to Ottawa or Toronto or wherever. In my opinion, the person I vote for is seldom going to get any meaningful support on the issues he said he would personally address for me if he got elected. Private members’ bills seldom go anywhere unless the party wants them to and my guy gets shut down because he has to follow party policy; once partly described as “sit down, shut up, and put your hand up when you’re told to.”

While the elite chosen few in the government hierarchy live openly and often lavishly in the lap of luxury at working people’s expense, good old John Q. Public, the guy who pays for it all, gets the idea that he’s considered little more than an unwanted expense, an obstacle to corporate wealth, while at the same time being expected to dutifully, voluntarily, patriotically march to the polling booth, or off to war, or the volunteer centre or any other place they want him to go, to a tune they don’t want him to realize he’s marching to.

With such a daunting uncertainty and lack of faith voters have in what they often have to choose from, how can they be criticized for not wanting to vote when they have the feeling that the whole venture has, unfortunately, become something akin to a crap shoot? The message to voters today seems to be “If you can’t find a person you want to vote for, vote anyway; vote for somebody, anybody; just get out and vote, it makes the voting statistics look so much better.” Finally, the crowning shot to your intelligence comes when they try to convince you it’s your “Democratic Right.”

If the establishment wants to get more people out to vote, they might start by creating a well needed change in political candidate discipline by having all candidates held strictly to account for the fulfillment of their own political statements, along with full, complete disclosure of all their plans; not just the parts they think we’ll bite on.

Retired Steelworker Bryce Moffat