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Monday, December 11, 2017

A letter to a politician on the eve of the Ontario election

Political apathy is a sign of our times, with barely 50% of the electorate showing up to vote. This letter attempts to capture the spirit and genesis of that apathy.

Dear Premier Candidate,

You are asking me for my vote. I am a jaded voter, one who once took pride in my regular visits to the ballot box during federal, provincial and municipal elections. One who used to push friends and family to exercise their right and vote, one who gave his employees time-off to go to the polling booth. I understood the importance of the democratic vote because I previously lived in countries where it was denied for a number of bogus reasons. But now I am jaded. Why? Let me tell you why…

But first, promise me that you will not act like Mike the golfer, who in his first term fixed a lot of things and cut out fat, but in his second term indulged in so much excess and wastage that we have spent a generation paying back, and may never pay back. Another second-term (or was it third?) flop was Dalton who promised not to raise taxes during his first election campaign and promptly introduced a medical tax the moment he came into office, to pay for Mike’s excesses, he claimed; he later misused his position with a billion dollar gas plant scandal – another bill that we (or you) may never be able to re-pay. And then there was the one-term guy, Bob, from our third political party, who tried to be all things to everybody and ended up being a nobody; he only managed to have a day in the month named after him for public employees to goof off and not get paid – a piece of dynamite for a sector that has often had its productivity questioned.

You say you have a plan; all politicians have plans—which they keep guarded lest the other guy copies them—to be revealed only in Twitter-sized bytes on the eve of the election, with the whole enchilada being dropped on us after they come to power. But at that point, the enchilada seems to smell and taste different from the savory samples we were offered before E-day. Show me your plan before the election. And then, will you also promise never to go back on your plan after you reveal it? Better yet, put your promise up on Facebook (from where it will never be deleted, despite Facebook’s promises to the contrary) so that it becomes your testament to standing out from among the sorry bunch of predecessors I mentioned earlier, or your millstone if you choose to act like them.

If you can do all this – you have my vote, unreservedly.

Oh, I forgot to tell you why I was jaded. Instead I went into a circular stump speech. You see, I am beginning to sound like a politician already. But then you already know why I am jaded, so we don’t need to go there. Instead you have a glorious opportunity to turn history around and restore respect to political office, and bring us once-loyal voters back into the fold.

Sincerely,

A 50-something ex-voter who lives by his wits to make a living these days, who has given up the prospect of employment or retirement and does not expect or request any government subsidy but still pays his taxes to support this (once) great province and nation.



About the Writer

Shane Joseph is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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