October 22 was municipal Election Day in my home province, Ontario…we voted for mayors, councillors, and school trustees. Before voting, I set out to gather information about the candidates. I was dismayed when I found how little information was available for the election in my rural township. The small newspaper of the nearby town featured only its candidates. I saw an ad for a local all-candidates meeting a few days after the event. In our mailbox we received a few pamphlets and postcards with bulleted points of policy on the back.
The only resource left was the Internet. All of the candidates currently in office (the incumbents) had profiles on the township government website. Some politicians had campaign websites, but most newcomers to the municipal scene remained in darkness. No excessive spending for this election!
Making a valid choice is challenging, whether there is no information or a torrent of rhetoric. For national elections, an illusion of enlightenment is woven by colourful newscasts, radio phone-in debates, and endless social media. On the national scale, rather than facing zero information, I feel inundated by unhelpful propaganda. To make a thoughtful choice I want to know policies, issues and proposed solutions.
An idea occurs to me…probably not original: Democracy is like an engine…the mechanisms meant to sustain it were set up and protected in the past, but need ongoing maintenance, repair, and upgrading to keep running in an ever changing world. A democracy is not eternal, destined to continue forever without efforts to maintain it.
like millions of pixels
portray a nation
Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely…