The biggest risk to democracy isn’t in bad leadership and incompetent elected representatives. The problem starts before that. Or perhaps because of that. Something like the chicken and the egg.
In this week’s US midterm elections, less than 1/3 of the electorate showed up to cast a ballot. This is the worst thing that can ever happen to a democracy. Not to vote, means that very ordinary people, and much less than ordinary people will get elected.
Amongst a host of reasons why people don’t vote; here are two. First: They don’t believe their vote will mean anything. So, why bother? Second: Not voting becomes a habit. Again. Why bother?
But Something big just happened in Ottawa. There was an “accidental” attack of DEMOCRACY. Go figure.
56 members of the Liberal caucus actually voted their conscience, and decided something for themselves. And miracle of miracles; maybe even for their constituents.
What a concept! Democracy at the House of Commons. Who would have ever thought it possible?
But it happened. In spite of the Prime Minister’s objections and threats from the party whip, 56 members of the Liberal Party caucus found their gonads, women as well, and voted against the “wisdom” of Chrétien. But what about all the others?
Perhaps the concept of voting your conscience is still too new and frightening a concept to them? Imagine, voting FOR something you actually believe in, opposed to playing the parrot game and voting for something the Prime Mister believes in.
If Canada’s Members of Parliament actually keep this up, who knows where it can lead? It might even make our vote, once every 4 or 5 years mean something. And if our vote REALLY does wind up meaning something, maybe more of us will show up on voting day and actually vote FOR someone.
I just can’t stop thinking that this was all a big mistake. Like a fluke accident that will not repeat itself any time soon. Or, this could be the beginning of the “final” end of Jean Chrétien and the start of a whole new era.
I’ll stay excited and hope for the best, since the alternative, like the current Parliamentary system, stinks to high heaven. And just one more “accident” like this one will make it a trend.