By Jonah Kondro
The contents of my post office box spills onto the floor. Among my bills and financial statements, political brochures, pamphlets, and democratic propaganda fall to the ground like loose tobacco from a hand rolled cigarette. Democracy is a frail Zig-Zag paper trying to hold together as the population struggles to light the open end of the rollie with a Zippo lighter that has run dry of fuel.
The “Voting Information” card, the folded “Prentice Plan” pamphlet, the “Re-Elect Joe Anglin” brochure, and some clay coloured “Do the Research, Find the Truth” letter all cover a portion of my kitchen table. The boulevards in Rimbey are picketed with the candidate’s signs — insidiously polluting our peaceful kingdom in the country. I feel like the processes of a democratic election wastes more resources and paper than in the latest printings of Fifty Shades of Grey.
I will vote just like I have in every other election. The political party or candidate I vote for has changed from election to election — but like getting the flu shot, I proclaim that voting is good for the masses and the individual.
Cognitive dissonance during the election season can be a conscious discomfort for the irregular voter. “My vote doesn’t matter”; “Nothing changes”; “I don’t know how to vote”; “What if I help vote the wrong person in” — all can be thoughts and worries that spring into the minds of the politically careless. Instead of rationalizing the voting laziness on May 5th, 2015, pull your trousers up, turn off Netflix, and wan- der down to wherever the place is that you can vote. It feels good — and voting democratically pisses off the terrorists.
Regardless of the rationalization that occurs during and after the election season, politics are here to stay. It is easy to say “as long as the hospitals stay open and the streets lights stay lit, I’m happy”, but the second hand smoke of democracy and policy is inhaled by everyone. You cannot avoid cancer by be- lieving you will never be diagnosed with it; nor can you exclude yourself from the politics of Alberta while believing the fuel tank in your vehicle will never run dry.
If you don’t like the democratic scenario that is facing every citizen in Alberta, maybe you should buy a plane ticket to a coun- try where it is a gamble to pass a hospital with open doors or travel down streets that are illuminated. It is a rich gift to be born into a province within a country where if you want you can wear pink cowboy boots, can sport neck tattoos, and can listen to Merle Hagrid or Motörhead.
The political reality cannot be shared, liked, or written about in 140 characters. The little ballot needs your X to help decide policy, and to protect the ideals and freedoms that allow for status updates and selfie uploads to remain free from vicious persecution.
Freedom, no matter how minute, needs a Zippo that is full of fluid. All it takes is one vote, one individual — one voice to ignite the fuse of change.