Friday, 13 June 2014
So, now that we've voted...
It is done.
The (chose one: Evil One, Hero, Meh) has triumphed and the pollsters were wrong. There will be much hand-wringing and tea leaf reading in the backrooms of our political parties in the coming days, but by and large, it’s done.
We have had an election and a great many of us are, no doubt, patting ourselves on the back for having done our civic duty; lived up to our responsibility, honoured our ancestors and voted.
And now, we will watch how things unfold and get ready to start complaining about broken promises; how politicians can’t be trusted and our profound need for SOMETHING for which to vote.
As if that is the sum and total of our civic responsibility; our political debt.
It takes about 4 minutes and involves being told what to do and where to put things.
Kind of like becoming a father.
However…like fatherhood, our responsibility does not end at conception*. Our ancestors did not fight, struggle and die so that we might have the right to ONLY vote, they endured and overcame so that we might have the right and responsibility to be heard; to affect change; to serve. Yesterday we gave these people a mandate, so the real question is “What are you prepared to do?” (yes, that is cinematic allusion to The Untouchables).
Will you write to the person that you just sent to Queen’s Park?
Will you check in and follow what he or she is doing?
Will you bring your concerns to her/his attention?
Will you take the time to encourage your elected member of Provincial Parliament to hold fast to her/his ideals and integrity; to keep “fighting the good fight” even when it seems like victory can never come?
We need to parent our politicians: Keep in touch; give them support; expect much of them and give them the understanding and resources that they need to serve well.
Call your MPP and explain, “I’m giving a report to the people of my Local Action Committee and I’m wondering what the government is doing about poverty and what can we do to get involved at the local level?”
Write a letter thanking your MPP for supporting a bill that keeps class sizes small, or let him/her know that class size is NOT your top priority, but assistance in the classroom is.
Request, “ Our local Hockey Association is having a banquet and we thought we could share some of the things that the Government is doing for our kids and their safety in sports… could you give us some information?”
Send off an email, letting your MPP know that Transportation Infrastructure will always be an election issue for you and then let her/him know what you think.
Ask, “I’m giving a report out our church next Sunday and we’re curious about new initiatives to support the LGBTQ community… “
If you have an interest or a concern, share it with your MPP, and expect a response. It may not be the response that you expect, but it can open a dialogue and begin to affect change. It can also assure our elected officials that the electorate cares, continues to be engaged and is prepared to support people of integrity and vision. Nothing corrupts integrity or clouds vision as quickly as reasonable people turning the channel.
If you are so inclined, why not consider running for office?
Will you get involved in political party, pay your dues and demand to be heard? Do the work and slowly, but surely, find yourself in a position to affect policy? Get frustrated, run screaming out of meetings, and affect change? (Maybe we should serve decaf coffee at our meetings, after all... sure don't want Seli yelling and screaming like that again)
Our civic duty did not end yesterday. It never ends, as long as we desire to live in civilization… and I remain hopeful that one day, soon, we will live in a civilization.
*if you came down here expecting diagrams or explicit instructions, my apologies. I just wanted to take a moment to wish all the fathers reading this, “Happy Father’s Day”… and thanks for doing more than just voting.