Thursday, October 1, 2015

Canadian Election–When You Just Don’t Know Who to Vote For

Leadership is not about the next election, it's about the next generation. - Simon Sinek

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. - George Bernard Shaw

People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election. - Otto von Bismarck

Election season has gripped us once again, being full swing in Canada while the US goes through the throes of candidate selection, the latter being that magical process where candidate wannabes spend months proving that opponents within the same party are unworthy of office until one is chosen to represent the party, upon which the same detractors will then tell you why that person is magically and suddenly THE BEST candidate for the job.

And once again, social media, coffee shops, mainstream media and everywhere else are filled with an emotion-laden (sometimes hate-filled), fact-less cacophony of noise that proves several points:

  1. Many reporters and pundits have no clue about anything with the exception of an amazing grasp of clichés and what-if pontificating.
  2. The majority are easily moved by emotion to serve the needs of the minority.
  3. The voices of well-intentioned, potentially competent people who truly want to serve the people are often lost in the noise of incompetent, not-so-well intentioned people, whether that be the people who are running for office or the people who support them.
  4. Emotion means more than facts (and is far more useful).
  5. Tearing others down is an easier, more useful strategy than promoting one’s own strengths and ideas.
  6. People rarely understand (or even have a vague idea) of the platforms of the people they are supporting.
  7. The previous point occasionally applies to politicians themselves.
  8. Great people, intelligent and focused on serving others, exist but one must work hard to find them.

I wonder if people would make smarter, more informed choices when it comes to elections if they viewed the election as Simon Sinek did – that the result of any given election is not about what the voters want now but it does determine what kind of future the voters want to create for their children.

Outside of the rare minority who actually understand political party platforms, understand the upside and downside of each and can make informed decisions (choosing either the best choice or the lesser of many evils), most people have zero idea why their candidate or party is best and why everyone else’s candidate or party is the worst.

And because of this, I believe federal elections create a lot of unnecessary stress on people as they struggle to complete more important tasks in their day, whether it be deciding whether they want the 32 or 64 gig version of the newest smartphone, whether cats or dogs make for better Facebook updates, how one is doing in the NFL Fantasy League (I’m currently in third – thanks for asking) and whether Night of the Living Dead could really happen.

It’s the same sort of confusion that people face as they plunk down millions on lotteries.  Many (especially those who failed mathematics) believe that picking their own numbers gives them a mathematical or astrological advantage over others.

Others get overwhelmed with the choices of numbers and whether they are good luck or bad (with cultural demographics, life experiences and children’s birth dates impacting their decisions) and being in a hurry to post their cat pictures on social media, they choose a Quick Pick with the belief that deities and mathematical odds have assured them of success.

With that in mind and with an eye towards helping Canadians so that they don’t get too preoccupied with the important task of determining a future that impacts our children, I would like to recommend to Elections Canada that we create a new ballot.

Here is a sample of what it could look like:

Elections Canada Quick Pick

Imagine the unfortunate voter who, upon settling into the privacy of the polling station, gets overwhelmed with evaluating important data – his eyes are creepy (is he really the Devil incarnate), is he really like his father or just a paper facsimile, would he really create an alliance with other communists, etc.

The Quick Pick solves all of this.

Upon presentation of ID, the voter merely says proudly, “I’ll take a quick pick, please”, and a computer will randomly select a party and place a vote on the voter’s behalf.

It’s fast, doesn’t require stressful thinking and allows the voter to get on to the things that really matter.  They can also share on social media that they voted and that their friends should feel ashamed if they don’t do the same.  After people reveal their vote on social media, they can enjoy being called an idiot or a traitor for no valid reason that has any sense of rationalization associated with it.

The Quick Pick works – since the voter rarely understands what the candidates represent anyway, they don’t really lose but like the lottery, they don’t really win either, with their odds being slim to almost none.

The Bottom Line

This is all, of course, whimsical sarcastic thinking (except for the rabid minions who got halfway through this blog post and are in the process of sending me a death threat). Smile

To implore voters to really get to know the issues is as useful and fruitful as it is to throw a drowning man both ends of a rope.  For the many who do, it has a nice, feel-good association with it but serves no one in the end.

However, when we choose not to vote or not to choose our vote carefully and intelligently based on data, we are either insisting that the right to vote and the right to a free, just democracy is not important enough to assert and defend or that we don’t care what kind of future we create for our children.

Which one would you like to be accused of?

Think … then vote … .both matter.

In service and servanthood,


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