on votes and pixels: haibun musings

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.

:

our votes

like millions of pixels

portray a nation

:

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely…

~Franklin D. Roosevelt

:

©️2018 Ontheland

Haikai Challenge #59 Election Day/Democracy

25 thoughts on “on votes and pixels: haibun musings

  1. I know what you mean about the mailings. Many of them are slanted diatribes that aren’t worth anything but their recycle value, once I tear off my address.
    I’m voting tomorrow – a few State Constitutional Amendments, and the usual gov’t positions, including U.S. Senator. In the mid-west for six years, I’ve gotten used to the fact that liberal candidates have to be moderates (or even to the right of moderate) to be elected. The main commerce in Missouri is agriculture. Considering that a large portion is rural, it’s a very conservative state.

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    1. Where I live (rural Ontario) the chosen candidates tend to be conservative as well, though our federal member of Parliament is currently Liberal. Our next federal election is next Fall. I hope your elections go well tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is difficult to find out about the local candidates, but I’m not voting Republican for anything, so I’ll have to hope that the Dem candidates are OK. Yes, the mailings are worthless, but the political ads on TV and radio are so horrible.

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    1. I think we need to clean house and raise the standard of political ads…I have noticed some good initiatives from the press in recent years. In our last federal election I think it was the Globe &Mail that was behind a website that described, charted and compared party policies on a wide range of issues.

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  3. I think the Roosevelt quote highlights the problem. What does ‘wisely’ mean? Self-interest? How to get richer quicker? Clear out the opposition/migrants/poor/undesirables? In Roosevelt’s case, wisely probably meant voting for him. You can’t vote ‘wisely’ if the choice is between candidates who are not wise, but self-interested, open to suggestion, uneducated people without vision. I despair of this system righting itself. As you say, it’s like a machine that is too big, powerful and unwieldy to be controlled any more

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    1. You’re right the word “wisely” leaves things wide open…the problem of unsuitable choices is really disturbing…if people are to be persuaded to vote there have to be candidates worth voting for (at least in their minds).

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      1. I wonder if the problem isn’t that there are too many ‘single issue’ candidates, the kind who say, vote for me and I’ll get rid of the immigrants, or tighten up the abortion laws, or bring back some horror out of the history books. They get people waving their banners and saying, he’ll be tough on what matters, but what about employment, poverty, social justice, the environment? The one issue populists only know how to stir up a crowd. They haven’t got a clue about running a fair society.

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      2. If it’s through ignorance, maybe it is better education that’s needed. If it’s through pure self-interest, there’s not much you can do about it, since you can’t force people to be caring and compassionate, or just and fair. I heard an short interview this morning with a Trump voter in Texas, a cab driver. He was voting for Trump because ‘I’ve never made so much money in my life.’ That’s all that matters to millions, and who’s to tell them they’re wrong?

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      3. There’s all sorts of people in this world…I wonder how the dots connect for that cab driver…how does Trump help in? Anyway I do think education directed at critical thinking in this day of Information overload would be a good start…plus more education about how a country’s government and legal system is supposed to work on a life skills level.

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    1. Yes knowledge/ info is not always available and the means of giving it out are changing. In the past I imagine there was more door knocking…not that I mind. I prefer reading or listening to a good interview on radio or TV.

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      1. There was still plenty of door knocking. But in my paper anyway the on candidate just had a much stronger grasp if you will in on area and that was enough for ‘them’ to win. Both though I think spent too much money.

        I think no matter who you are you should have a set budget, period. And if you can’t say anything nice – don’t. Kind of hard to trust the news these days. What used to be the reporting of facts is now really the opinion of whom ever owns the paper.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree about budgets. I also think there should be a new approach to funding so that large donors don’t gain the ability to pull strings. About news, we do have to be selective with our sources and know what we are reading (whether advertisement, editorial, or news report for example). I do believe that there are still journalists out there who do adhere to journalism ethics and ideals. Perhaps these principles need to be talked about more publicly (and in schools) to promote awareness and discussion of situations where values clash or are unclear. That problem of newspaper slant is a big one.

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