Charlie Teljeur: Make your vote count
|By Charlie Teljeur - Contributing Writer | May 31, 2018|
As we move towards the provincial election, there are some basic ideas and principles we need to get straight in our heads. I’m not going to outright endorse someone here because frankly you shouldn’t just vote for someone just because someone says so. My reasons are my reasons, not yours. You need to decide for yourselves but rest assured you need to put some effort into it. We all do.
First off, you need to vote. Yes, you’ve heard over and over again the sacrifices people have made to give you that right (in actual fact it’s a privilege) but I heard it said recently this way which best sums it up: not voting isn’t a protest, it’s a surrender.
Beyond that you need to know that politics is a long-term thing. It isn’t solved in a year or two or by some blanket policy miracle. You can’t base your vote on a hollow quip or slogan. Whether you like politics or not, it affects your life every day. The policies that are set control how you live, so it’s only logical that you make your feelings known.
And know this: politics is also about nuance. You won’t find one party or one person you agree with completely and you have to accept that. But from within that, you have to sort the piles into important and less important issues. What can you live with and what can you not? Who really represents your best interests?
This is the part that baffles me the most about some voters, how they will continually vote against their own best interests, most times based on a ridiculous partisan stand. What we all need to realize is that no party has complete dominion over all the best ideas. No party alone is the absolute answer. Blindly supporting those who think that they alone have the magic potion for what ails us is what’s put us here in the first place. You can’t find solutions by hard-lining yourself with your tribe. You don’t have to look very far to see plenty of examples of that.
When deciding how to vote ask yourselves these questions. What do they mean when they say ‘we’ or ‘us’? Despite the rhetoric, a candidate can’t logically represent ‘all’ the people. They will have a power base. They will have a core group. Do they represent the average worker or the average business owner? This is a key distinction you need to make. His or her core policies will affect you in a big way and you need to figure out who best does that for you.
Party or person? It’s tricky in our legislative system. You need to find a balance. If I’m in doubt, I’m more likely to side with a strong individual. Would I rather have a career backbencher or someone who makes waves and tries to get their ideas heard? A strong person will demand attention and I want that person representing me whether they’re new or experienced.
As for experience itself, I think it only matters if it comes coupled with noticeable results. I don’t care if you’ve put in a lot of time at the job, I want to see what you’ve accomplished while you were there.
It’s not an easy choice but your vote matters. Do your homework and make sure it accurately and honestly reflects who you are and what you believe in while at the same time acknowledging the need for building a community. Make it about addition, not division.
Charlie Teljeur is a contributing writer for The Highlander.