There’s been no shortage of ink spilled cataloguing the transgressions of Prime Minister Harper in terms of leadership and policy-making.
For some of us, it’s a foregone conclusion we won’t be voting for him in October.
We now need to ask ourselves who we’ll vote for. But some amongst us hear the sound of one hand clapping, which is to say they think there’s no one up to the task.
They are cynical and calm, believing that all politicians are corrupt, that the sully world can be transcended, that we might even make ourselves and our world through whole foods and yoga and collective practices.
Or they are disillusioned and angry, believing there’s no party that will represent their views on the urgent need for system change, not climate change, and on the need to condemn relentless Israeli aggression against Palestine, including the occupation itself.
To the first group, I would say transcendence is impossible.
Whether we like it or not, politics determines the contours of our lives from the moment the alarm clock goes off.
Do we have a job to go to, how much are we paid, is there equal opportunity in the workplace, is public education adequate for us or our child, can we afford daycare for the youngest, will we ever pay off the mortgage, do we have clean drinking water, is the country at war, will climate change kill us?
These are outside our control — and they matter.
To the second group, I would say the big problem with the disillusioned is they mistake elections for revolutions and are disappointed with the choices. Elections are not revolutions!
Go vote in October, because elections can bring a modicum of much needed change, and then go write a letter, call your MP, or join a blockade.
The idea that democracy is to be exercised once every four years is a poverty-stricken vision of our rights and obligations as citizens.
To Canada’s youth in particular, I would repeat the words of broadcaster Linden MacIntyre: “People who have power want to keep power, and you represent the peril of change.”
Recognize the power your overwhelming demographic numbers bring, and deploy it.
On Oct. 19, I will be voting NDP – not because I have undying affection for Thomas Mulcair or an absolute ideological attachment to the NDP, but because that party has the best electoral chance of effecting regime change in Ottawa.
By any calculation, Harper must go.