Debates won’t shake apathy

The federal leadership debates have come and gone and after several days of over analysis the recurring theme of this year’s campaign continues to be voter apathy.

But just what is apathy and why does it seem so hard to get some Canadians to understand the value of getting out to the polls?

If you watched this week’s debates — even one of them — you’re probably interested enough in politics that you will get out and vote. The same thing can be said if you’re taking the time to read this editorial.

For those of us who cherish our democratic rights, perhaps part of our civic duty is to engage others who don’t share our enthusiasm.

There are a lot of reasons to add our voices to the clamour of thousands of others. The common excuse that one vote can’t make a difference doesn’t make sense. Democracy has never been about a single vote deciding the fate of a wider community. We vote in order to provide a push in the direction we want  government to go.

The ballot booth is not a place for an all or nothing approach. It takes time and effort to eventually get the great wheels of government moving. The longer you take to get started, the longer you can expect it to take for any changes to be made. This is critically important for people who feel unempowered by the system. As if every party is a shade of grey and any change in government only results in subtle and superficial change. The truth is, even mainstream parties have divisively different platforms.

Part of the problem is the generally anemic discourse, as evidenced during Tuesday’s English debate. Attacking opponents on perceptions of ethical breaches and the validity of theoretical economics is great fodder for pundits but it’s not going to get the vote out.

Each of us has issues in our daily lives that are directly influenced by the federal government. Whether it’s a passionate belief in the need to change our environmental policies or a heartfelt opinion about supporting our military or legalizing marijuana, someone has to start the push for change.

– Vic News

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