I overhead this remark the other day: “What difference does it make who I vote for? Politicians are all liars. Nothing is going to change.” It made me wonder, is there is a greeting card for apathy? I may write one. In the meantime, I’m going to dust off my soapbox for a good, healthy Kelly rant.
If you need incentive to get to the polls, might I remind you that Remembrance Day is just 21 days after election day? Is there any better motivator than our nation’s history to inspire your effort to ensure its future? The answer is no.
I don’t care if you’re disheartened by your political options or dissatisfied by the current state of this country. I really don’t. But you know who would? The men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so you could live in a democracy. When you stand in that line, present your voter registration card and check that box, you carry with you the spirits of your ancestors. You not only owe this vote to yourself and your future; you owe it to them and their past. Vote.
I’ll hold the memory of my grandmother. She was tiny, but tough. Her first “real” job was to stuff munition shells in a factory in Toronto during the Second World War, back when a proper lady wasn’t supposed to work. She was proper, alright. Yet she did her part to support the war effort while her husband and first-born son were both off to war. Oh, and she was due to give birth to one of the best men ever (hi, dad). She was a proud immigrant to Canada, coping with the fact that the country of her childhood was getting blasted to bits.
There was a time when my grandmother didn’t have the right to vote simply because she was born a female. It wasn’t that long ago. I make sure my daughter understands that. She is named in honour of my grandmother. She’s tiny and fierce too. On election day, we will head to the polls together. My grandmother would love that.
Many things will affect my vote this year. For instance, it’s only in the last few years my income has finally crossed the poverty line, despite being a college and university graduate. I will not have a pension or benefits into my golden years and I am not putting enough away now to guarantee I can even retire because I am already stretched thin by the cost of living. I’ve got two kids heading into post-secondary next year, and while I can’t pay their full tuition, I’ll do what I can so they don’t assume student debt. As the parent of an autistic person, the debacle of this year’s autism file in provincial politics disgusted me. We need more autistic people in government. Intelligence and focus over a desperate need for social status and popularity would change the game. My girl could teach them more about integrity than their spin-doctors can.
I am also someone who has more hospital admission stamps than stamps on my passport because our health care system loves me. It’s not mutual. I’ve experienced first-hand just how stressed that system is and with an aging population, including my parents, you bet I care.
I’m proud to be Canadian. I appreciate that generations before me fought insurmountable odds for me to put an ‘X’ on a ballot.
I don’t take that for granted.
No one should.