On past election mornings, be they federal, provincial or municipal, I used to rouse my household. “Come on – we’ve gotta go and vote!”
“Why?” would ask my sleepy 18+ year•old sons, who always had more interesting things to do.
“Because we came to the land of the free where the right to vote is a privilege, God•given and never to be taken from us like they did in the old country,” I’d reply, brooking no excuse.
This year, I have a few issues to deal with before I rouse anybody, including myself.
I have to get past the negative ads and the open public attacks by our leaders against the “other guy” while revealing no substance of their own. I have to get past the “Gang of Four” vs. “The Lone Ranger” on Canadian debate night – I tuned to the down•south TV channels and they weren’t any better, they even repeat the agony three times over until their candidates are punch drunk at election time. I have to get past the either/or, “spend or cut spending” options open to us – black or white – doesn’t anybody know that the world is multi•coloured and, even at the bleakest of times, a shade of grey? I have to get past the new mantra of “strategic voting” – i.e. don’t vote for the party of your conscience, especially if it’s one of the three little guys – vote for either of the two top contenders, even if you don’t like them. I have to get past the fact that when I came to this country, “Brand Canada” was world class – voted seven years continuously as the best place in the world to live in – can these leaders standing up for election, or re•election, bring us back? I have a lot of things to get past, like the broken promises in a marriage that lead to disillusion and breakdown.
There is hope, however. Our banking system has been voted # 1; those stodgy bankers kept their heads about them while their colleagues overseas were losing theirs and building castles in the air with greed. We (still) have a good medical system, even though its leaders are threatening to lose their heads over it and default to lower common denominators found elsewhere in the world. And we have resources, including a heck of a lot of water, and still flush the most number of toilets per capita in the world. There is yet time for a come•back, before the taps run dry.
This election morning, I will rouse my sons again. But my rallying cry will not be about “God•given rights” and all that crap. It will be, “Vote with your conscience. God gave you a conscience, Canada gave you a vote. Create ripples that make tsunamis that bring change, and haul “Brand Canada” from the remaindered shelf back onto the bestseller list.
“And, my dear sons, this drama does not end after the elections. Continue to remind the victors via all forms of online communication now open to your generation – social networking forums, e•zines, peer•to•peer networks and such – that the reward for kept promises is instant gratitude and for broken ones is instant and permanent infamy.”

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