Choice and the federal election
Before I go confusing you, I’ll preface this piece by saying I’m talking about the Canadian federal election, not the American. I realize I’ve used a photo of Robin Wright from House Of Cards, a show based on the inner workings of the White House, to accompany this post. I couldn’t think of a Canadian fictional character equivalent to illustrate politics so Robin Wright it is; plus, she’s a badass.
Montreal, born and raised
I miss the simpler days when I lived in Montreal. When you went to the polls, you generally had two choices, Liberal or separatist. Liberal it is, thank you very much.
Now that I live in Calgary, and have for over 17 years, I find myself having to make a choice for my federal election vote based on a whole slew of possibilities. I have to educate myself on party platforms and their candidates.
Sweet Baby Jesus, where to begin?
Are they fiscally conservative? Do they hold socially liberal views? What’s their take on environmental protection? Do they like cats or dogs? The answer to this last question is essential to judging moral character.
Many Albertans wouldn’t agree with me on this one, arguing voting Conservative is the only way to go. As I see it, choosing Conservative in Alberta is akin to voting Liberal in Ontario: completely unoriginal. We take the lazy route when we make a choice based on what’s been done in the past. We can do better by doing our research and making an informed choice.
Now the question becomes, where do we do our research?
Bias in media
Out of fear of reading biased information about the federal election, I often don’t read mass media. I opt to stay safely under a very nice rock. When I do venture out into the light, I ask myself questions like, which sources are objective? What biases does one need to sift through en route to the facts? What agenda is this news source pedalling? Who can we trust? The answer to that last question is my cat. She never lies, except for when she gives the impression she’s starving to death only to then do a walk-by of her bowl after it’s been filled without so much as a nibble. Little shit.
Back to the federal election. Who can we trust to get the facts? We can trust ourselves by taking the time to do our research. When we take the time to read news from various sources, especially those that hold political views separate from our own, we get closer to the objective truth. The truth is out there if only we’re willing to look for it.
But what if, after doing research to the level of a post-doctoral candidate in astrophysics, we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of not having a suitable candidate to vote for?
Hobson’s Choice: When There Is Really No Choice
In an earlier post, I mentioned my struggle with indecisiveness. Imagine my chagrin when I find myself having to choose between several less-than-stellar candidates for Prime Minister.
As Canadians prepare to go to the polls on October 21, 2019, I find myself part of The Undecided. I’m part of the 1 in 10 eligible voters – or 11% of the population – who, as of earlier this month, have no idea who to vote for come federal election day. On several occasions, I’ve heard myself utter the words, “There is no one to vote for.” If there are no good candidates to choose from, do we really have a choice?
In an election, there’s an illusion of choice.
Hobson’s Choice would say that your choices are to vote or not, not whether you have a good choice between the candidates; I don’t feel we do.
I am of the opinion that even if you don’t think there’s anyone to vote for, vote anyway. At the end of the day, no matter the result of the federal election, you can sleep soundly knowing you exercised your right to vote, a right not bestowed on many people around the world.
As Robin’s Wright’s character, Jenny Curran, says in Forrest Gump: “Run, Forrest! Run!”
If nothing else, let’s run to the polls tomorrow.
Photo Credit: Vanity Fair