Don’t get me wrong. More flexibility absolutely can’t hurt. But I don’t think that’s the biggest issue we’re up against here.
If we really want to solve the turnout problem, we have to solve voter apathy. How do we convince people who believe that their vote doesn’t matter because everybody who runs ends up being a liar or a crook or that the entire system is built for and controlled by big money and big business that those beliefs are wrong, especially when there’s quite obviously some truth to them? Carin once described the choices in a past election as poop, shit or crap, and she’s someone who cares enough to go out of her way to vote in all of them at every level. If she feels it, how are the people who don’t care feeling?
I don’t know how we fix this. The easy answer is get better politicians, duh, But that’s not a good answer. Good people run for and win public offices all the time, but the nature of politics is such that you’ve got to have at least a little bit of scumbag in you if you want to find yourself in a position to truly help steer the ship. The only way that’s ever going to change is for party politics as we know it to die, and for every MP/MPP/MLA/whatever to be given true independence to represent his riding and his conscience. If everyone sitting in a house of parliament had to run on their individual successes and failures rather than those of their leaders, a lot more good would get done, because it would have to.
But since that’s not happening, we’re right back where we started. And I think that means that our best hope is the generations after mine. They seem so much more invested than we ever did. I don’t remember anyone at my high school ever organizing a giant anti-government protest, let alone being able to explain more clearly than some adults why they were doing it. Hell, I could hardly have the most basic of political conversations with a lot of my friends at that age.
So good on you guys for being passionate. Just please, no matter what, keep it up. Don’t let the system wear you down like it has so many my age and older. It’s going to feel at times like your vote doesn’t matter, but don’t let that stop you from trying again. They can’t not listen to all of us forever, and voting is where it starts. If your government is awful (Hi Doug!), make them pay. But if you’re content, don’t sit back and think it’s always going to be this way, because it won’t. There were people who thought Trump could never win and didn’t bother voting. What if they had? Don’t be a what if.
And yes, older generations, I’m talking to you too. It wouldn’t kill you to take a cue from or set a good example for these youngsters by doing your part. You may not have the same priorities as they do, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any. We all do. They may not always be reflected in our representation, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth standing up for.