Election Reflection

Those of us in Ontario have been rather wrapped up in an election campaign these last several weeks.  With the polls set to open in the morning, I thought I would share some thoughts on the campaign.

6 Weeks?  I’m not sure who decides how long a campaign will be, I suspect though it was the sitting Premier, but I can’t help asking why 6 weeks.  Regardless  of whether a campaign is 20 days or 40 days, or even if we know years ahead when the election will be, some folks are going to complain about the length of the campaign.  Why shouldn’t I?  There are pros and cons no matter how long the campaign runs.  More time gives community organizers, advocates, and even the candidates, ample opportunity to get their message out and mobilize their teams.  But those extra weeks also tire everyone out.  I’m quite sure all the candidates and their volunteers will be rather pleased to have some time off soon.  As someone who helped organize all-candidate sessions, at a time I habitually put my feet up for a few weeks, I am looking forward to doing absolutely nothing for a while.  And I’m not convinced a longer campaign equals more time to consider the issues and decide who to vote for.  On a totally anecdotal basis I’ve heard that many voters either decide right at the beginning or will decide tomorrow at the ballot box.  So why so long?  You’ll have to ask someone else.

The Issues?  You may not have noticed but such social justice issues as homelessness and poverty were hardly mentioned by the various political parties this time around.  So I am forced to choose my next government without knowing where they stand on the issues I am must engaged with.  I’ve heard similar criticisms from advocates on other issues as well.  This likely has more to do with how politics is done in our country, than with what issues are really important.  Political parties have for many years tended to put out platforms that were easy to grasp and stayed away form messy like policies.  It has been decades since I saw politicians discussing principles, philosophies, mindsets, or just plain ideas.  If you want me to think well of you, show me you can think.

Social Media Campaign?  What social media campaign?  This was to be the year social media became to big election battle ground.  It was a dud.  Politicians posting selfies tells me nothing about the candidate.  And what I saw passing for dialogue on Twitter these last few weeks could hardly be called civil discussion, let along reasoned debate.  Repeating yourself does not make you necessarily right.  And re-tweeting someone repeating himself , doesn’t say much about you either.  Finally beating others over the head with the ‘truth’ is NOT advocacy.  Advocacy entails an actual exchange of ideas which I did not see happen this go round.

To vote or not to vote?  In a democracy, to my way of thinking at least, this should never even be a question.  But in these last few weeks, thanks to a commentator I choose not to name here, it has become one.  A colleague of mine made a statement, I think impromptu, about this last week.  https://soundcloud.com/spckw-cic/take-control-ontario-election-2014  If we, whoever ‘we’ is, who think ourselves to be ‘correct,’ whatever correct means, do not vote, then who does that leave?  Do you really want this decision to be made solely by people who disagree with you?

One last word.  VOTE.

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