When I was younger and an election was taking place, my parents were both very private about their political views. I would ask who they were voting for, and their answer would always be, “I am voting for the Birthday Party.” And it would infuriate me! But they explained to me, that their right as a Canadian was to vote, and to maintain privacy over who they were voting for. They even admitted to many times not even knowing who each other was voting for. But even through all this privacy, we still had the news on, each election day, watching as the polls came in.
Once I reached the age to vote, I was excited and remember that last year of high school, candidates coming and sharing their platforms. I could drive. I could now vote. And I could drive an hour and a half to the Alberta border to drink. This was what being an adult was all about.
And then university came, and my life was so focused on schooling that I never voted. I felt that I wasn’t informed enough and didn’t want to blindly vote for anyone. Looking back, I wish I never had this attitude, but I was young and naïve and absorbed in my struggles as a uni student.
Now, even though I still admit to not having a strong, detailed understanding (or even interest) in politics, my friends and my inner self have encouraged me to get back on track of voting. And I have been these last number of years. This morning, I was reminded of it even more.
I sat amongst a group of my peers. There were 7 of us. 5 all came from countries where voting was not a right. Government was decided with no input from the people. However one of these peers did not agree with the importance of voting. They expressed that there hasn’t been enough media about this election – they didn’t know if it was provincial or federal – and they didn’t know anything about the “presidency”. They also felt that the US does a much better job in the media during an election and they weren’t going to vote. And this infuriated me. Again. Like the Birthday Party response. And I wasn’t alone in the group with my reaction to their comments. We had a number of rebuttals and defenses to their ignorant comments. I went as far as to question in slightly sarcastic tone, “Don’t you have to learn this stuff before becoming a Canadian? We have a ‘premier’, not a president.”
Yes, we will always have something to complain about regarding our province and our country. But we are CANADIANS. People around the world view our county with longing and admiration. We are so blessed to call this our home. And to show our love and appreciation, we need to exercise our right to vote. Even if it not because you can, but for all those around the world who cannot.
So today, I am going to vote for the Birthday Party. Who are you voting for?