For someone who's always taken a keen interest in politics, I know I've been remarkably silent during this election campaign. Yes, there have been a few times where I've felt compelled to write something, usually out of outright frustration and yes, even anger. I've held back though mainly because commenting on social media about something while angry usually isn't a very smart idea (as a few federal party candidates have by now discovered) and let's face it....my voice is only one of several during this campaign.
I do have to say that I find it interesting how certain parties tailor their message to a certain audience. A few days ago, I came home to a political flyer in my mailbox. It mentioned the oil sands, which is fine. It IS a major employer here. But that's ALL it mentioned. As if there was nothing else that I might be interested in and that's all that matters to my community. This party didn't seem interested in addressing other issues....I'm guessing this is because they are politically damaging to them and wold rather see them shovelled under the rug for the time being. This is nothing new, I suppose. Political parties have always done this. But it seems to me that with so much social media out there that we are continually being fed a whole host of wedge issues that only serve to distract (or attempt to distract) from other issues.
With all the nonsense we've been fed regarding certain religions and the threat of crime and terrorism and "old stock" Canadians I felt compelled to speak out on my Facebook page. I can't think of a better way to really put what I said here on the blog so I'll just quote verbatim what I wrote there...
"My brother is gay but it doesn't affect my life. He isn't trying to "recruit" me. One of my sisters is Christian She isn't trying to "convert me." Another sister is a hunter and firearms owner. She isn't a "gun nut". A guy at work is Muslim. He isn't trying to terrorize me. The guy with the locker next to me at work has a shaved head and looks like a gang member. He's taught me lots about the trade and is a soft-spoken guy who calls his wife during every break. She's a lucky woman. I work with a 6'4" Congolese guy who could fold me into an accordion if he wanted to but he has an awesome sense of humour and always asks me how my day is going. According to politicians, these are all scary dangerous people in one way or another. But if I followed their logic, my life would lack the richness and diversity that it has BECAUSE of these people."
And while I'm not blind to the fact that bad things happen I can't help but feel somewhat insulted by the constant stream of fear-mongering I've seen during the past several weeks. I should add (and here I give away some of my political biases) that I've always been somewhat Conservative and I've tended to vote that way in the past. I grew up in small-town eastern Ontario where voting blue is pretty much part of your DNA. The difficulty I've always had is their veiled sense of nativist and I dare say racist bs that to me, has only seemed to become more overt.
I really wish the politicians that peddle this type of crap would get out and meet people. Understand that every group is comprised of INDIVIDUALS. (Which is a given that Conservatives like to pound away at the fact they are so pro-individual.) They are not all the same. As I've discovered for myself, once you break out of your little cocoon and experience the bigger world, you will find all sorts of people who will enrich your life. I know I have.
I think the one think that has made this election campaign the hardest for me is that while I fancy myself a fiscal conservative I am very much a social progressive, which makes for a certain level of cognitive dissonance in terms of how my views currently line up with what the major parties are peddling. Thankfully, I have found a ideological home in a smaller party and while I don't agree with everything, its enough to make me want to vote for them and gives me hope that there is another way other than the garbage espoused by the traditional parties. Anyhow, I digress.
As it stands, our current MLA will most likely be re-elected. I could run my cat, a goat or a small screaming child (which is what most politicians seem to act like these days) under that party's banner and it would win. I am heartened by the fact that we may very well end up with a minority government so he won't have it all his own way. I suppose, the fear-mongering and negativity does motivate me in a way, just not in the way that a political party intends it to. My MLA may not know who I am, but I can guarantee that he will know who I am as I have every intention of keeping the heat on him over the issues I care deeply about.
I don't appreciate a politician who ducks out on political debates. I don't appreciate a politician who apparently sees my community as a one-horse town. I don't appreciate a politician who blatantly lies to me in an email response....and I certainly don't appreciate a politician who engages in fear-mongering. We can do better than this.