A federal election is on the horizon and with it comes nearly everyone’s temporary fascination with politics. A lot has happened in my life since our last federal election so I’m not surprised to find myself treating this upcoming election much differently. While I find political science a fascinating topic, I’ve always been more interested in the history of our governments than the current day-to-day activities of it. This has never stopped me from arguing that my rightward leaning views were better for our country than the left’s whenever the subject came up.
However, I no longer have the desire to promote a particular political viewpoint. There is no way of predicting which party is best for our country. No matter the outcome of the election, I’ll be happy with it. I don’t want to give any party an edge. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to cast a vote for them all so it looks like the only way I’ll be able to express this opinion is by not voting.
Have you ever told someone you aren’t going to vote? Many would make it seem like you misspoke and told them that you fantasize about throwing children off of rooftops. If you then argue against their political beliefs it’s no longer just children being thrown from rooftops, it’s their children! I can’t believe how worked up we get over this stuff. For some people the federal election may have a noticeable impact but for most citizens they will never notice a difference. There is no need to stress out over it. Here’s a guide to help you stay calm in the coming months (even if your party is losing!):
Why the Election Isn’t Going to Bring About Armageddon and You Should Just Chill Out
Chill out, your vote probably doesn’t matter
No matter how many “what if” games you play, your vote isn’t going to decide the outcome of an election. Even if you fail to place your vote that would have broken a tie, there are systems in place to break it. This is usually a by-election but there are some exceptions. In P.E.I. for example, they flip a coin. Power to the people!
We vote to feel like proud citizens, or to appear responsible, or because we find it fun but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that we are deciding an election or making significant changes to our society by voting. There may be situations where our vote becomes important, but for most people, a federal election isn’t one of them. If you want to vote, vote. If you don’t, don’t. It doesn’t matter either way.
Chill out, when people say you can’t complain if you don’t vote
It’s ok, you shouldn’t be complaining about things anyways.
Chill out, you aren’t informed but neither is anybody else
The most informed NDP supporter debating the most informed Conservative supporter will result in those who support the NDP thinking the NDP won and those who support the Conservatives thinking the Conservatives won. What makes one side more correct than the other?
When you think the country is in good hands, someone else thinks it isn’t. As humans there are few things we are worse at than predicting the future. I’ve never been part of a team that runs a country but I imagine it’s a pretty complex task. There are a lot of moving pieces and a lot of things happen that we can’t predict or control. Despite this, everyone thinks they have a pretty good idea of how our government should function. I choose to admit that what I think is best could be wrong. My gut says the NDP wouldn’t be good at managing money but I can’t say that for a fact, there are simply too many variables. Maybe mishandling our money could end up being a good thing. Who knows how it would all play out? All political parties at the end of the day want the same thing, to create a better country.
Chill out, no matter what party wins, it won’t drastically affect you
Ask yourself, “when’s the last time did something that directly benefited me? On a scale of 1-10 how much did it change my life?” and “when’s the last time did something that had a major impact on you? On a scale of 1-10 how much did it affect you?” Most people aren’t going to be able to think of anything.
Chill out, nothing horrible is going to happen
Last I checked no one is running on a platform of giving up the rights to your first-born child, bringing back slavery, or any other extreme notion. If a party is too irresponsible while in power and loses the confidence of the rest of the house, there are there processes in place to remove them (see Joe Clark and his budget).
Chill out, find something better to do with your time
I can’t fathom the number of people hours and money that are wasted on the election that could be used to create positive changes in society. For most of us there is no reason to be informed. The decisions being made at such a high level are never going to noticeably affect our day-to-day lives. Getting worked up over it is nothing but a waste of time that would be better spent improving our society in other ways.
To be clear, I’m not necessarily saying don’t become informed and vote. If you enjoy following politics and voting, that’s great, with any luck it drives you to make the world a better place. My point is if you aren’t interested in becoming informed and voting, then don’t do it. We shouldn’t shame people for it either. Their time will be better spent elsewhere.
This election I hope to see fewer people looking down on or bullying others because of their political beliefs. We shouldn’t get down on others who don’t share our opinion. Being able to carry out objectives with others who disagree with us is how society advances. Vilifying opposite viewpoints does nothing but slow progress. Instead let’s try to be kind to each other. Let’s admit we might not know all the answers for what’s best for the country. No winning party is going to all of a sudden make us a perfect. If the winning party doesn’t support something you are passionate about, don’t complain that government isn’t concerned with it, gather people who share your viewpoint and take action. Sure, you can vote for a party that might help make small changes here and there but the big society shifting changes are going to come from people with passion, a vision and an unrelenting drive to have it realized.
Companies like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Google have changed the way we interact with the world. It wasn’t people in government who made these products and services. It was people taking action. The houses we live in, the couches we sit on, the food we eat are all things that are made by people who are taking action, not the government. Government doesn’t make change, we do. There are many actions you can take to create a better society, figuring out which party to support and voting for them just isn’t one of them.