I've said it before. Voters can be fickle. Capricious. And at times, frustratingly lazy.
Everything is relative, but in B.C., we enjoy some of the most responsible, corruption-free government in the world.
Scoff at that if you like, but when you turned on the tap this morning, you got clean water. When you flicked a switch the lights came on. And police on the way into work won't shake you down for a bribe by issuing a phony ticket. Trivial things you say? Why do you think there's a lineup of people from around the world trying to come to live in our part of the world? The least we can do is honour and uphold the democratic processes that enable the best of our society on e-day.
If flowery language isn't enough to persuade you to get up off your butt and vote today, consider a few other things:
1) Old people have already written you off.
Did you know that political strategists are counting on you not to vote? Senior BC Liberal strategists say this to reassure their nervous supporters: "Our base leans to older voters, whereas the NDP base leans to the 18-34 age group (older voters vote)." Now technically, there's nothing untrue about that statement. But whether you're voting Liberal, NDP, Green or Conservative, merely casting your ballot is putting your thumb in the eye of decrepit politicos who have already dismissed you.
2) Votes do count in close races.
If you think your vote doesn't count, talk to Lorne Mayencourt or Wally Oppal. In 2005, Mayencourt was elected MLA in what was then Vancouver-Burrard by 11 votes. 11. That's fewer people than you need to play Ultimate Frisbee. In 2009, Oppal lost to Independent candidate Vicki Huntington by 23 votes. I've seen Starbucks lineups longer than that. The point is, if you devote as much time to voting as you do to ordering that tall skinny vanilla latte, maybe the person you want in power might actually win.
3) People in other parts of the world are literally dying to vote
Democracy is a dangerous thing in some parts of the world. This is also mid-term election time in the Philippines. According to Agence France-Presse, more than 60 people have died in the run-up to that vote just for attending rallies or openly supporting a candidate. In Pakistan, millions of young voters braved Taliban death threats to have their say over the weekend. Yes, I know this may sound nagging. Like when your mom told you to eat your Brussels sprouts because there were starving kids in Ethiopia who were starving. But your mom was right. And right now she'd tell you the democratic process deserves our respect. Not our disdain.
4) By voting, you reserve the right to bitch about your politicians later
You've heard it before but it remains deliciously true. Think about how many much more cred you'll have two years from now when you say, "I voted for that guy and he still screwed us over". All your buddies will be able to say is "we wished we had voted for the other guy but we didn't vote at all," which sounds extremely lame. Also, if you're in a riding where the vote was close, you can lord point two over their heads. I'm not saying you'll be popular. But you'll be right. And that's way better.
5) If you don't vote they'll make it mandatory and steal your beer money
Just ask the Aussies, who spent so much time playing beach volleyball and shearing sheep instead of voting that the Australian government made casting a ballot mandatory under the law. Helloooo, nanny state. The penalty for not voting? A $20 dollar fine that rises if you don't pay it. Only half of us in B.C. bothered to show up to the polls in 2009. That's even lower turnout than in Alberta, where government never ever, ever changes. Do you want Allison Redford laughing at you? Do you want Julia Gillard coming to scold you? Do you want the B.C. government taking money you could have spent on a six-pack of craft beer because it made voting mandatory? No, I didn't think so. Now go vote.