Tuesday, election day, is going to be a big day, there's no doubt about it. Americans when they go to the polls will be deciding the direction their country takes -- on the economy, health care, big or small government, taxes, marriage, abortion and foreign policy -- for the next four years. But I'd like to talk about what to my mind is an even bigger day -- Wednesday, the day after the election -- because one very important thing in America needs to change and Wednesday is when it has to start.
I am belatedly political -- having voted for the first time after I turned 40 -- most people don't know that about me yet all my life I have constantly heard and continue to hear this line thrown out as though the speaker originated the argument, "If you don't vote you have no right to complain." For the last decade I've certainly more than made up for lost time.
An electoral scandal has been brought to the Supreme Court, and will be precedent-setting in terms of what politicians can and can't get away with in elections. Some of the questions the Justices will be asking themselves: What kind of message will we be sending to future elections if we choose to ignore those violations? Is Elections Canada justified in its nonchalant attitude towards the occurrence of voting irregularities?
If the Syrian regime was not delusional before, its attempt to have a parliamentary election when its country is in ruins, upheaval and a state of fear is a sure sign that it is out of touch with reality. The veneer of reform is only too plain to see as a complete sham and farce.
I can educate myself, and get the information I need to make an intelligent, informed decision, and in the end the right choice is the one that best aligns with your values, and who you are. Going against what you truly believe is a slight to the principles of democracy.
The answer to the problem of majority rule by the minority is to achieve electoral reform so that the electoral system is sound enough to itself produce a truly representative government. In the last election, the electoral system awarded 53.9 per cent of the seats to a party that won only 39.6 per cent of the votes cast, and allowed that party to form the government.
We need put aside current quick-fix approaches to youth voter mobilization that have limited effectiveness; be it vote mobs (sorry, Rick Mercer) or reaching out to just students -- and ensure that we're focusing on the more difficult to implement strategies that will actually lead to getting youth to the polls in the long run.
I believe that there is a concerted campaign by right-wing parties to do everything in their power to reduce the voter turnout. Negative advertising fuels the flames of cynicism and voters stay home.
Proportional representation's advocates invented the concept of the wasted vote, claiming that votes for losing candidates are wasted, and that under PR "every vote counts." But ultimately there is no decision. And that surely is a waste of voting.
Perhaps the most common misconception is that young Canadians lack faith in democracy. Anyone who believes this simply hasn't looked at the evidence. Youth have just as much (or little) faith in our democratic process as their parents' generations, and it doesn't explain the difference in voter turnout.