Don’t get me wrong, I do
It's another election day, as I'm writing this. G and Beans and I went last weekend to the community centre to cast early ballots, and the intervening week has been relatively peaceful, at least in the sense that I no longer feel the pressure of decision, a pressure I felt even though my decision was mostly made before the whole process began. Elections in Canada are blissfully short compared to the American version; we run the entire campaign in just a couple of months instead of stretching it out over years. I like to think this means it's easier to judge candidates based on what they've done and are doing, because they're required to be doing it until very close to election time, and not running chatty campaigns. Maybe it is easier, or maybe it's just a little bit of naivete on my part, but I'm going to hang onto it, for now. Elections and referenda have been kind of traumatic experiences lately and I need a little bit of reason to breathe.
In the midst of the voting week, though, there's a lot of the usual rhetoric about how if you don't vote nobody has to listen to you, and frankly I think that's bullshit. I think it not only because I spent several years as a fully-participating-but-disenfranchised resident of this country, although that's part of it. It's because of people in that situation, and people who are disenchanted, and people who are stuck with shitty bosses who won't let them leave without consequence even though the law says they have to, and people who for a hundred other reasons just can't make it work out. Voting is an important part of our civic responsibilities, but it's not the only part, and people who do vote but then don't participate in any other civic action are a lot lower on my list of people to listen to than the ones who don't vote but participate in other ways during all the non-voting days. There are a lot of days without voting, a lot of days where we still need to think about and take care of each other.
So, Canada, I hope you voted. America, I hope you're getting ready to vote (hey, you know there's a vote this year, too, right?). If you can, I hope you vote for someone who will help you care for and listen to your neighbours, whether those neighbours are able to vote or not. If you don't vote, I'm still here, and I'm still listening. Do what you can.
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