Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Please vote

EDIT: since he isn't actually known by his usual alias on Facebook, I decided to give one of the two people I singled out a break, and have removed his name from this post. And since I wasn't doing that, I decided to remove the other guy's name, too. I probably won't boycott their bands, either. They should still vote.

There are some people among my Facebook friends who apparently think it's okay not to vote - so much so that they are announcing it publicly.

To be honest, there was a time when I felt similarly: when I felt superior to the process, felt contempt for it. In my 20's, I would rant on about how we are provided with the illusion of participation in how we are governed, asked to choose between a puppet on the left and a puppet on the right, to make us feel like we were being given a meaningful voice in how we are governed. That was, I think, an insight I borrowed from Jello Biafra, who said a similar thing at a 1985 Dead Kennedys' concert (I believe he has come around, since). People would say to me - my father would say to me, even - that if I didn't vote I lost the right to complain, and I would respond that it was, rather, precisely by voting that one lost that right, by virtue of authorizing the process, becoming complicit in it: "If I were with five other people, and they decided that they would take a vote on whether to rob me or not, and I agreed to participate in the vote and lost: then I would have lost the right to complain, because I had ratified the process by participating." (I probably cribbed this from teen-aged readings of Ayn Rand, and give Ayn her due, here: Dad never had a comeback to that).

It was all clever enough on my part - and B******* and B*****  and all the other cynics on my Facebook feed are clever enough with their own arguments, sometimes. But the truth is, it was all just horseshit: I wanted a way out of the process, a way to excuse myself from doing the work required to figure out what the candidates stood for and if, in fact, it did make a difference who got in. ("No matter who you vote for, the government always wins," B******  has said on Facebook; not sure if he knows he's cribbing from the Bonzo Dog Band there, but in any event, he's wrong).

It does make a difference. It probably is good news that Andrew Scheer - the conservative candidate for PM - has been outed as having a dual citizenship with the United States (and selling insurance without a license, to boot, also mentioned above). Neither thing matters much, in reality, but like Trudeau's tasteless/ stupid adventures in brownface,  they look bad. It's more significant that Scheer is pro-life; that - like Harper and Trump - he is fixated on things like stopping illegal border crossings, campaigning on a whiteguy fear of racial otherness; or that, as recently as 2005, he was comparing same-sex marriage to declaring a dog's tail to be one of its legs. Oh, and of course he believes in a magical sky-Daddy that plays a role in human life and affairs: a sky-Daddy in whose name centuries of bigotry, intolerance, and oppression have been enacted. Oh, and depending on which news source you read - he probably believes in re-criminalizing marijuana; and of course you'd get the usual openly pro-business agenda, complete with pipelines sticking out of every orifice and little interest in discussing climate change.  Even though the whole dual citizenship thing has probably sunk his campaign, there is still a moral imperative to make sure Scheer and the conservatives do not get in - unless, of course, you like the idea of a Canadian government similar to those of George W. Bush and Donald Trump, in which case, you probably aren't reading this blog, anyhow.

A similar moral imperative informed my voting for Justin Trudeau in the last election. It was the right choice: even though Trudeau doesn't impress me much (doing a prompt about-face on the idea of electoral reform, for instance), it still beat the hell out of four more years of Harper and his "barbaric cultural practices" (leave it to the sky-Daddy believers to call out barbarism in others). There's plenty that Trudeau has done a decent enough job on; were I gay, I would probably feel more secure under his governance than I ever have before; marijuana is legal (even if the rollout has been a bit of a shitshow); assisted suicide is legal (though again, making it so has not been without complications), and - well, I bet there are plenty of Syrian refugees who appreciate the hell out of him. Trudeau remains a superior choice to Harpe - I mean Scheer; as uninspiring as it is to vote for the lesser of two evils - or to vote "strategically" (blech) to keep the Conservatives out - Trudeau is the better choice, if we only have two prospective leaders to choose from.

Of course, that is not the case. Personally, I have voted in an advanced poll for Jagmeet Singh, who has made it singularly easy to do so, by running in the riding where I live (I might have been tempted to go Green, otherwise). Singh, like Trudeau, may not prove to be the answer to all of Canada's troubles, but he's vastly superior as a choice to Scheer, and probably would do a better job of governing Canada than Trudeau. I don't really know about Singh's own sky-Daddy, of course (or Elizabeth May's! What's with all the fucking Christians here, what are we, Americans?), but I would much rather live in a Canada governed by the NDP (or the Greens, or the Liberals, or a coalition of any/ all three of those parties) than one governed by the Conservatives - WOULDN'T YOU?

I mean, seriously, B******, B******, et alia: do you not think it makes a difference, whether we are going to be governed, ultimately, by a pro-business right wing white xenophobe/ homophobe, on the one extreme, compared to these other options? Are you genuinely indifferent, or are you just, like, lazy and afraid? Even if you do not personally care how you are governed - do you not feel a responsibility to your queer friends, to women, to immigrants and refugees, and to the very environment of the planet we live on?

Would it help you get your asses in gear if I said I would consider boycotting future releases/ concerts by your bands? Because it is bad enough you are personally cynical and apathetic - you're using social media to encourage OTHER PEOPLE to be cynical and apathetic, too! It's like you're proud of your ignorance and indifference: without having read each other's comments, Chris Walter and Robin Bougie both responded on FB when I mentioned how embarrassed I am to have friends who were boasting about not voting, by saying "its like bragging about not reading." Exactly right. You oughta be ashamed of yourselves; the only defense you have is that you obviously don't know better.

But you should, you really should.

Please, folks: get out and vote!

No comments: