……..says Richard after reading the morning paper, (August 21st, our 39th anniversary).

But this just can’t be the answer.  People around the world would be ecstatic if they had our freedom to vote, without coercion, without fear, with ease close to their homes, with the expectation that one voter can cast one vote, for one candidate, and that those numbers will be compiled with a high degree of accuracy and integrity.

Sure, you can vote in Russia,…..for Putin, or for any contender for the top-job who actually lives long enough to make it to election day.  I doubt many Westerners would consider China a role model for getting the leaders you’d like to have.  Voting in lots of places is done under the watchful eye of men with guns, ostensibly to ‘protect’ the voters.  Pretty intimidating but people around the world cherish the right to choose their leaders.

The Conservatives look pretty dismal just now, and yet does anyone believe either the Liberals or NDP will be pure as the driven snow, if they gain power over Canada?  It seems almost impossible for even idealists to remain pure, once in government. But this current media feeding frenzy over Wright’s payment to cover Duffy’s schmarmy expense claims, seems over the top.

Maybe on October 19 we’ll have to choose from the best of a bad lot, but not voting is far worse.

One of the years that Richard was a rep at the BCTF annual general meeting, I asked the moderator, (at the evening social) about the dominant, strident, left wing agenda of the 600 or so teachers there, who were voting on policies that would impact on all their colleagues, all schools, parents and public school children in BC.  He said the 600 did not necessarily represent the average teacher’s mindset in the province, but those others who might be more moderate, were spending Spring Break doing things with their family and friends. The more hard-core folk were motivated enough to be there, giving up some of their holiday, – to  shape public education according to their worldview.

Not voting is not a good option for the same reason.  The few will decide for the many.  If the main parties all look unworthy of our trust, the ideal would be for independents to gain more seats at the Federal and Provincial level, so that more of the general population is truly represented there.  I think, to run you need $1,000. deposit to register as a candidate, and 100 people to endorse you.  Anyone out there with strong convictions and a back-bone should run for parliament.  

Here’s John Robson:

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/john-robson-vote-on-principle-not-partisanship

Some people think if I want the Tories out, I must want the NDP or the Liberals in. I’ve heard that suggestion from a few Tory trolls who attribute my position to bribery or alcoholism, and from many genuinely thoughtful people whose prudent, instrumental view of politics elevates choosing the lesser of various evils to a wise and dignified position. But it’s not and I won’t do it.

As Russian novelist Aleksander Solzhenitsyn wrote: “The main thing is never to act against your conscience, not to put your signature on documents you do not believe in, not to vote for those who you think should not be elected, not to approve decisions, not to applaud, not to pass on lies … not to pretend.… Let your creed be ‘Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph, but not through me.’”

If he could muster such courage alone in the dark against a vast tyranny willing to force psychotropic drugs on dissidents, surely in a democracy we can insist that the parties will neither drive us from the voting booth in disgust nor make us endorse their lies and put an “X” next to candidates we do not think should be elected.

I feel like I’m in a restaurant where all the food is lousy and people are telling me to eat here or eat nothing. But I want something better and I’m not ashamed to sit here and demand it. I won’t vote Liberal or NDP to keep the Tories out for precisely the same reason I won’t vote Tory to keep the Liberals or NDP out: they don’t deserve power.

 I could have fun shredding the social democratic parties’ platforms as unworkable collections of focus-grouped pandering points, or mock their instinctive faith in government. But my problem with them runs a great deal deeper. They believe reality is optional and faith can move mountains in secular matters.

When you tell them some policy will have undesirable consequences, they reply: not if we don’t want it to. Which sounds more like an attitude than an idea. But they really believe it. Tell them something has always failed in the past and they mock tradition as narrow and mean-spirited. Tell them incentives matter and they mock you as greedy and mean-spirited.

This approach contributes enormously more to the nastiness of political discussion than its self-canonized supporters grasp. Because they are convinced it’s good guys versus bad guys and they’re inherently good, they sanctimoniously demonize opponents as a matter of principle not tactics.

They also build castles in the air on principle. At least conservative politicians usually lie when they promise you the moon. But while left-wing parties make manifestly impossible promises and sometimes tell nose-stretchers about details, they sincerely believe that if they want it badly enough it will happen. As Robert Kennedy famously and fatuously said, don’t tell me the rules, tell me the problem. Including the rules of economics or geopolitics.

To me this is metaphysical madness. And monstrously arrogant.

What looks like unreasonable faith in government among social democrats is really unreasonable faith in themselves. When former prime minister Pierre Trudeau mocked wage and price controls then implemented them, or threatened as a civil libertarian to make illegal police barn burning legal, it wasn’t inconsistent. It was a blithe, unshakable assurance that whatever he currently wanted must be good because he wanted it. To elect such people is to invite abuses of power and slithering instability on issues from deficits and tax hikes to “Responsibility to Protect.” Remember the oily ease with which former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty broke promises and how hurt he looked when called on it?

It can be comically instructive to watch leftists win power and try to cope with the fact that reality is not optional, from Jimmy Carter to Bob Rae and, surely, Justin Trudeau. But I will not vote for anyone I am convinced would do even instructive harm.

Holding your nose and voting for lesser evils doesn’t even strike me as prudent. Once the parties know you’ll do it if they’re painted the right colour, various evils is all you’ll find on offer. Indeed, we’re there now, and neither the practice nor the outcome strikes me as remotely practical or dignified. Politics shouldn’t be about my tribe clobbering yours, filling my pockets with boodle, filling my head with nonsense or playing me for a fool.

I reject the premise that a prudent man swallows slop and forces a smile. And I won’t be part of it.

National Post

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