I’m feeling hopeful that things are changing.
The Powers That Be don’t try to attract the youth vote, because they say youth don’t vote. I’m a little confused about that, because I voted when I was a youth, as did my friends. My students all seem very excited about the possibility of voting as they leave high school. So what happens? What makes them drop out of the voting process?
On Facebook right now there is a status floating around that goes, “Out of 23.6 million electors in the last election, only 5.2 million voted for Harper’s Conservatives. That’s 22% of eligible voters, and 16.2% of the total population. There are 5.65 million Canadians aged 18-29. In the past, this age group has voted so little that politicians don’t bother with them. If all of Canada’s youth voted, they would rock the whole political system!”
I didn’t check the facts before I reposted it, but I like the message. The youth have power, if they choose to use it.
Somewhere else I heard, “You wouldn’t let your grandparents choose your music, why do you let them choose your government?” 😉 I like that one, too. It appeals to that rebellious streak in me.
I decided to conduct a little poll on Facebook. Most of my Facebook friends are former or current students, so I asked, “Are you voting in the federal election?” Over 84% of respondants said either yes or that they would if they could. That’s a positive situation that doesn’t seem to echo what the government believes. Of course, my highly scientific poll was a rather small sample (13 total) so perhaps it is meaningless. I choose to believe it shows that within my circle of influence, at least, young people want to have a voice.
We all need to contribute to the exercise of democracy.
Over the years I think I have voted for every party from Reform to Green. I tend to study the candidates and choose the one that seems most intelligent and well spoken, as opposed to the one who is most likely to have his/her party form the government. My husband doesn’t think this is very strategic, but I try to believe in the power of my one vote.
Voting is an exercise in hope. We trust that we will have a government that listens to us and makes wise decisions. Most of the time, we’re pretty lucky, compared to most places in the world. I like to think that’s because we’re watchful. Young people on the other side of the world are dying these days to get the right to have the government of their choice. I hope our young people take advantage of their franchise, and don’t let their grandparents make the decisions without their contribution.