Who are you voting for? Who am I voting for?
“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast!”
From Harper Lee to Stephen Harper.
Another one of these “In The News” posts, two weeks in a row, but this one is a special edition, not my favourite topics, but definitely in the news here.
I read so many awful, nasty comments in the Facebook post from a local college. The question of refugees, Syrian and other, was being debated. It was shockingly sad to hear some of the statements people were making.
What would I do if I had a home no more and had to leave? What would I want?
I did one project, in high school, about the immigration process. I have no clue, being born a Canadian, what it takes to become one.
Is Stephen Harper pushing a cynical agenda, a lot of prejudice against any specific group of people? Could anybody be so wrong as to vilify any whole group of people for the actions of the few? Are there those living here who don’t feel safe, feel wanted, feel accepted?
I knew very little about much when 9/11 happened. I don’t see how bad it’s said to have gotten since. That’s not my experience, but I know how important it is to feel like a part of one’s country, society, treated like a real person who matters.
“It was great to be in London with hundreds of enthusiastic Conservatives last night. People here want lower taxes, balanced budgets, and more good Canadian jobs. They’re voting Conservative on October 19th. Will you be doing the same?”
Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has been leading Canada for, what seems like forever to me now.
Does that mean it is time for a change?
Research. Educate. Check the facts. Pay attention to your gut. What are the facts anyway?
I have felt an unease, a slide, a nagging in the pit of my stomach these last few years. I don’t think I like what’s happened to my country, the direction we’ve been led in, but perhaps I wouldn’t have been happy before that and I just wasn’t paying much attention.
I’m told Harper looks so staged when he speaks. He won’t allow for questions. He won’t answer, won’t address.
What’s going on with the environment? What is our stance on military issues, fighting, peace?
Harper’s talk is always about budgets and other boring things. Okay, so they are necessary for the running of any country, but I know very little about them. I try to educate myself, watch the news, but read a lot, honestly, on Facebook. Articles are posted there and I read about how other Canadians live and the concerns they’re having.
His threats are all fear based. I hate that. The other guys, Trudeau or Mulcair, they will screw our country up, Harper and all Conservatives keep saying.
Vote for him or they will raise taxes. Vote for him or spending will become out of control. We wouldn’t want that, right? What sane person would want that? Of course. No brainer?
I hear this again and again. I never hear him talk about the health of the environment. I never hear any feeling in his voice. Do I truly believe that he cares at all? Would anyone else, anyone, do a worse job than he’s done? Could it get any worse? How bad is it really?
Promises. Promises. Promises. I am tired of broken promises. I don’t want to feel invisible anymore.
The US has the Americans With Disabilities Act. Canada has the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but I am looking or feeling for more of this. It is a big concern for me, even if many Canadians are more worried about taxes.
The rich, middle-class, poor. Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green Party…so much to keep up with and keep track of.
Who do I want to run Canada? Who do I vote for and do I only feel as strongly as I do because that is how I was raised? Hmmm.
How do people pick up their beliefs? I wonder all of this as the next federal election is coming in a few short days. I want to vote, make the right choice, and see it make a difference. Is this all possible?
These are some of the questions I have been pondering lately, in the run-up to October 19th.
Re-elect Stephen Harper? Vote Liberal and Justin Trudeau or NDP and Tom Mulcair?
I voted, for the first time, back in the last election. I have done it a few times only. I didn’t exercise my right to vote, as a Canadian citizen, up until recently.
I know why I didn’t vote before that. It’s the same reason many people don’t.
Oh, I can’t possibly make the slightest bit of difference. I hate politics. I don’t know who to vote fore, so why bother, casting a vote for someone I don’t even really like?
I said all of these to myself. It is true that I hate politics.
It’s rhetoric. It’s attack ads. It’s making false promises, only to not come through with them after being elected. I loath it all.
I guess I wish we didn’t have to deal with it, but there are worse things, like not having the ability to vote at all. I tell myself this now, in moments of pure annoyance, and I say to myself that I’m damn lucky to live in Canada, even with the parts I dislike. I should be grateful and thankful and I should vote, just because I can.
So that old question, that I’ve struggled with, has been resolved in my mind. The next question, after the why, is the whom?
“Nice hair though.”
This has been a favourite line of Conservative attack ads against Justin Trudeau, along with the pronouncement that he’s just not ready yet.
I don’t know how anybody could be ready to run a country.
Do I vote for the liberals? NDP?
I ask my dad what he thinks. He tries to explain about the local politician in our area, which has been Conservative for a while. I grow weary of politics, but I must become more informed.
Minority government. Majority government. And my mind begins to drift. Blah blah blah.
I wish I had more interest in these things, but I honestly begin to doze. Politics, I can’t grow up and get away from the feeling of boredom I have always felt at thinking about government and all of its proceedings.
But then I listen to my father’s passion when he speaks of the country his parents came to, all those years ago, to start a new life. They gave him one, made one for him and his brothers. I truly believe hearing the passionate tone of my father, to understand what he cares about seeing for Canada, has been good for me. It’s taught me to figure out what I feel strongly and passionately about too. He’s shown me the importance of paying attention to how I feel and what my heart tells me is right.
I wonder how much family has influenced my thinking, but at some point we must all decide for ourselves what we believe.
I know what I truly think and feel, somewhere deep down, in my gut, I know. So why then do I still question it?
I know I want protection of our resources, our wild life, our oceans. Just the word “oil” has begun to leave a bad, you might even say an oily taste in my mouth.
I know I want freedom, to remain the welcoming people we Canadians like to think we are…to feel like we are accepting of all races, cultures, and religions.
People are going on about their discomfort with the niqab. It doesn’t affect me. I wonder what it matters to anyone else. I can’t see the coverings Muslims wear. Why do we fear this? We do not understand. It’s a sign of oppression, as we’ve been told, hear about in extreme cases that make the news.
Can we sit down and talk to those people, those women, to find out if they are happy. Do they have good lives? Are they afraid?
Islam and the Muslim religion are the targets in our world today, not only here in Canada, as we all know.
Culture and belief systems are powerful things. I don’t see to judge. Being blind helps me with that.
“This is Canada. If they don’t like it, they can go back to where they came from.”
This is something said repeatedly, at nauseam. I want us all to live our lives how we want, as long as that doesn’t include harming others. Why is that so complicated?
Instead, again there’s only more separation, more division, more one side against another. I want to feel like this isn’t always the case in Canada.
Fear of terrorism is real, but how much? How afraid should I really be that my safe home could ever see the kind of danger other parts of the world see? Do I fear or do I remain rational, find compassion, believing in a just and peaceful world?
Most people are good, only want to be left alone, to live their lives. Why must we make it more than that?
Okay, so after talking about all these things, what answers have I really found? What conclusions have I actually reached? Where do I stand?
I must go now and stop reading the upsetting things being said, the nasty back-and-forth comments on Facebook posts about who should run Canada after Monday, and move no to more important things, things that feel hopeful and positive. This afternoon’s game, the Toronto Blue Jays against the Texas Rangers. It’s all up to Toronto now.
This is their shot. Can they do it?
All I know is I feel better when I hear how hyped people around here are. The impassioned back-and-forth of politics giving way to the pride in our only MLB team.
What is it about sports, a baseball team, a game that makes us all feel so energized?
I wonder, as I’m watching. I feel the excited tension in the pit of my stomach, a nervous energy, but a quickening of my pulse, my heartbeat. It’s just a game of course, but the feeling is contagious.
Of course there are those little funny things that make the game extra fun.
Not such a big deal. He didn’t know. He didn’t know I spent more time, as a child, not playing baseball because of my visual impairment, but playing around a baseball diamond. My sister, my brother, my parents all played. He didn’t know. Made a silly comment and suddenly Twitter was buzzing.
I focus on the positivity I get from my mom. They can win this. It’s possible.
As Scarlet O’Hara mused, in Gone with the Wind: I will go back to thinking about politics and the important issues of the day, in the news, tomorrow.
Indeed Sheryl, indeed.
Oh no! Will she sue me for using this song in my post, if she doesn’t agree with my political views? Hope she doesn’t see this.