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Meditation 226
Fight Election Apathy

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"Liberty does not consist merely of denouncing Tyranny, any more than horticulture does of deploring and abusing weeds..." Arthur Bryant

As in the U.S., an national election campaign is underway in Canada, though it lasts only a merciful five weeks rather than the seeming eternity that American campaigns last. Even so, as Roy MacGregor writes in the Globe and Mail,[1]

"Less than one week into the campaign, and it feels less like an exercise in democracy than a Monty Python skit."

We are all jaded about politics, and this is demonstrated by the ever decreasing turnout when it comes time to vote. And it is unlikely that more than 50% will bother to vote in the U.S., or more than 60% in Canada.

As the proportion who vote steadily goes down, the easier it is for focused minorities to capture the electoral process, and impose their will on the rest of us. And we see the increasing influence of religious fundamentalists in politics.

We live in secular democracies, and the secular element is under steady threat. Much as we may have little respect for the current set of politicians, we cannot opt out of our responsibility to defend our freedoms.

And we must exercise our responsibility in the forthcoming election.

Not to vote is to surrender, to turn your future over to special interests.

To protest via a defaced ballot is ineffective - in the final count, it just indicates someone too stupid to fill out the ballot correctly.

We must vote - even it means selecting the marginally less objectionable of the options on the ballot.

And it is time to get involved - to change the available options for the next election, and the ones after that.

Secularism is basic to our way of life. We must defend it - for ourselves - for our children - for our neighbours - and even for those fundamentalists who would steal it from us.

If you have a "Don't blame me, I didn't vote" bumper sticker on your car, you are to blame.

Get out and vote!

It is your right and your responsibility.



  1. Globe and Mail, May 27, 2004