Vote or Else!

The Toronto municipal election is (mercifully) over while the American midterm elections on November 6 are upcoming. This is the political eye of the storm.

In both elections the consistent message is clear: Vote!!! (Especially on social media it sounds like an “or else…” is naturally implied…but not really. There’s no guys in tracksuits coming to have an election “chat” with me. I think.)

Vote!!! or else…on Twitter I’ve seen a number of people berated for failing to vote or in any way hesitating to vote. I’m grateful we live in a democracy and for all the freedoms we have but there’s a but. I use those freedoms to question what we’re doing.

On last night’s Circus they explored 3 races Vegas/Nevada, think it was North Dakota and Arizona/Phoenix. And granted I don’t know any of the politicians running but as they did their interviews they all seemed kinda meh (both sides!). I get that maybe it’s “better” to vote Democratic than Republican but really when it’s all meh than it’s not an election it’s just a referendum on suck.

Why do we blame voters for failing to vote but not penalize a viable system that comfortably offered Rob Ford or Donald Trump as a reasonable choices?

It’s not like Hillary vs Trump were incredible choices…Trudeau is better than Harper and yet…what do you do when the choices all suck or lack imagination? Where’s the leadership? Hope? A singular inspiring vision? If I wanted to just settle I’d sign up for Tinder.

Are we always just voting for the lesser evil? People have way too much confidence in voting and the politicians we elect. I might be too cynical but my faith gravitates towards non-profits and community leaders because at least they’re dedicated to the cause no matter what you know? There’s no term limits on assisting those who suffer.

I find this entire process surreal like in America: listening for 20 minutes or more to a campaign stop stump speech detailing the legit issues affecting the state that the “best solution” is just vote.

Like volunteering, founding a non-profit, $upporting established orgs…nope: just vote. Eh…perhaps we can pass a couple of bills to ease your suffering.


I know 3 people who are not active voters in America they boldly confirmed it on the record…standard reasons: none of the candidates are particularly bright or represent any sort of leadership. 3 different states if that matters.

I know 2 of em don’t bother with politics and instead work directly with non-profits and other such orgs (I suspect that’s where the leadership POV came from). Which in the big picture makes more sen$e.

Locally however Toronto voted and still got angry this happened:

“If current numbers hold, the new City Council will be 85% white and 69% male.”

(That’s a classic online framing…it’s designed to fire up the blood. Mind you if you go to a Raptors game the bulk of the front row and 100 section is white and male…Leafs probably up to 200 section. So this wasn’t news nor does it disrupt Toronto’s ingrained diversity narrative. I dunno why many people found this result shocking. Well I should say that the white people who are so angry…don’t seem to grasp the simple notion that if you run as a person (or woman) of colour…you’ll probably end up with more racism in your life. And you might even have to work with the police. And there’s no job security. There just isn’t enough incentives for some visible minorities to run for city council. That’s a lot of risk to take on; that requires strong guts and a strong back because that’s a heavy burden.)

So yeah people on social media are so angry (gotta be angry about something!) after they voted.

Even stranger? Some of my fellow citizens are having a hard time after they “discovered” some people in Toronto are umm, you know: racist. (Though I find it weird that who you vote for suddenly unmasks you as a racist. Not everyone who voted for President Trump is a racist…it ah takes a bit more than voting to classify a person as a racist. Racism is a way of life like swingers and running in the winter.)

Unfortunately it’s just numbers…you get enough people in a city or a state or a country and somebody’ll be racist…as sure as somebody’ll be stupid. Look at Facebook. Social media has allowed us to confirm the racist and the stupid still exist and are still active.

It’s 2018 and the Flat Earth theory persists…if anything it’s probably growing (if such a thing can be accurately measured). It’s easy to blame loudspeakers like Steve Bannon and/or get him banned or kicked off stages…try the lazy silence is golden approach but eventually we’ll hafta address the stupid among us. Blaming is like voting; like tossing up a hashtag on social media…it is easy, costs nothing and for some people feels good. It’s just not effective. There’s a cost to the things that matter and it’s clear many of us are not willing to pay that cost.

Like electing Donald Trump or Doug Ford are excellent reminders to actively shore up the education system and bring back critical thinking, a curriculum of curiosity and you know reading. There was a golden time when we ridiculed people who said “I read it online.” That might hopefully dilute some of the racism but also form a stronger democracy…one that reads and elects genuine leaders from a strong field of contention. It’d also lessen vote or else threats. But…that’s a lot of work; a lot of daily persistent change: inertia is easier than momentum. That’s how we have the system we have now: the blind leading the blind while we sit around waiting for a visionary.

There’s 7 billion people…just by numbers alone a bunch of people are not gonna be that bright. There’s a reason why NASA is only gonna Ark the super intelligent and send em off to space to repopulate humanity on Mars when the Earth is consumed by the Sun going super nova. And we all know who that is.

If you have no practical skills or powerful intelligence when the Zombie Apocalypse hits then chances are you won’t be NASA-Ark-ed. S’ok…knowing most of us will be left behind; it’s time to work until the last minute of this Earth is snuffed out.


Also published on Medium.

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