I wanted to get my democratic duty out of the way today as I wasn’t sure if I’d have time on Monday to cast my ballot.
Until today, I wasn’t sure who I was going to vote for. Although conservative by nature, and libertarian by philosophy, I had never been wowed by the federal Conservatives, currently led by the once-libertarian Stephen Harper. Their fiscal irresponsibility, even if driven by a left-wing parliament, is still theirs to own, as is their habitual tendency to apologize for conservative points of view. At the same time, they are not corrupt, they seem to be as conservative as clinging to power will allow, and they have made the occasional great policy or two. It’s not a high bar to set, mind you, but it is far from what the opposition are trying to make them out to be.
(Speaking of which, I try to be open-minded. I really do. I want to be able to say I can support another federal party if I absolutely had to. But the alternative choices to which I’m presented really depress the hell out of me in ways I won’t elaborate here.)
This morning, I intended to vote. I didn’t want to vote against something. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to vote for.
Then I went to Arby’s.
The Arby’s on 22nd Street West, in addition to having terrific chicken cordon bleu sandwiches, also hosts a stack of Saskatoon’s bi-weekly alternative Planet S Magazine. One of the featured commentary pieces, penned by Stephen Whitworth, helped solidify my electoral decision.
See if you can guess why:
In which we humbly ask dear readers to vote against the freaking Conservatives on May 2
Sounds like a reasonable request.
I’ve been working at prairie dog/Planet S for 12 years and this editorial feels like the most important thing I’ve ever had to write — and I’m at a loss for words.
If this is the best he can do, Whitworth might want to try writing his resume.
I’ll start with this: for a lot of very good reasons, please don’t vote Conservative. Pretty please. With sugar on it.
In case you missed that, this is the most important thing he’s ever had to write. With sugar on it, no less.
I don’t know what else to say. I’m freaked out that, after what we’ve seen from Stephen Harper’s minority government Conservatives for the past five years, there are still Canadians who support this terrible political party. Are they not paying attention to what the Conservatives have been doing in this Parliament? Are they blinded by hatred of the other political parties? Are they religious, and they’re attracted to the Tory’s “nod and a wink” fundamentalist Christianity?
Are they gibbering nitwits or sub-criminal sociopaths? I don’t know.
Are they sick and tired of a succession of poorly constructed rhetorical questions in fanatical pinko-commie rags? I don’t know.
I do know that many Conservative supporters will read this little editorial. Some of them will dismiss it as left-wing moonbat, or whatever. If you’re reading this and that’s how you feel, might as well stop. Maybe go for a nice spin in your truck to relax, instead. Don’t forget your ball cap and long gun!
Ball caps are conservative? Cool.
If, on the other hand, you’re an open-minded Conservative supporter willing to give our mouthy little rag a hearing, I truly appreciate it and I’ll do my best not to be a dick to you.
No, you’re not.
First, I understand how angry and frustrated Conservative supporters are with politics in general. I think most Canadians, whatever they believe politically, are fed up with politics in this country. We all feel like we’re not adequately represented by our politicians and that whoever we vote for will have more important priorities than our well-being.
This is something we all have in common. See? Not so different.
I’m more fed up with people telling me that I’m fed up with politics in general but please, go on.
Second, I understand why Conservative supporters would view Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff as a desperate, annoying, pushy whiner who’ll say anything to get elected. It’s because all too often, that’s exactly how he seems.
In other words, he’s Jack Layton.
Third, I understand why Conservative supporters hate Jack Layton… wait, no, actually I don’t. Scratch that. Maybe you can explain it to me in a letter to the editor. Layton’s no rock star politician, but I’d rather have him in charge of the country than Harper.
First off, “hatred” is the domain of angry, frustrated socialists. Stop projecting, hater.
Second, if it weren’t for his mind-numbingly horrible policies and astronomically costly election platform, most reasonable Canadians would still see Taliban Jack for what he is: a desperate, camera-hungry opportunist who’d push ordinary people aside to get his face on national television.
I guess the bottom line, for me, is that the Conservatives have just committed far too many deal-breaking sins.
Presumably, Whitworth takes no issue with sins which broke no deals.
Fact: This is a party that cancelled a national daycare program but is willing to spend a fortune on a bigger, scarier military, complete with state of the art, first-strike fighter planes.
So far, so good.
Fact: This party is weird and creepy on moral issues. Remember when they tried to bring in a government veto over tax breaks to “immoral” movies around the time the charmingly-titled Young People Fucking came out? If you’re the type of person who: a.) supports having a Canadian film industry, and b.) has ever enjoyed a movie with swearing or nudity or violence, this should really concern you. (I’m looking at you, Mr. Tory-in-a-ball cap-who-likes-movies-with-boobies.)
What’s this guy got against ball caps? Did a bully steal his ball cap when he was a kid or something?
Fact: The Conservatives behave suspiciously, like they’re up to something. Think about it: they avoid the media, they shut down parliament when they’re in hot water for things like the Afghan detainee issue, they resort to simplistic slogans and insults… well, more than the average politician, even. They are world-class mudslingers but they’re not so great at actual discussion or debate.
Simplistic slogans and insults like “gibbering nitwits or sub-criminal sociopaths”?
Fact: They campaign on beliefs, not facts. They offer simple solutions to complex problems like crime, and drug use. The ideas they present tend to be passionately expressed but childishly black-and white.
“Please don’t vote Conservative. Pretty please. With sugar on it.”
Fact: They’re terrible on women’s rights and gay rights. I Don’t have 10,000 words so I’ll leave it at that, but really, if I was gay (I’m not) or a woman (definitely not) I’d wonder why Conservative voters are comfortable supporting a party of homophobic bigots and misogynistic old goats — in fact, I wonder that anyway.
Fact: Whitworth opines about “beliefs, not facts.”
In the end, all I can do is write one short, pre-election editorial asking you to make an imperfect choice rather than supporting what I truly believe is the worst political party that’s ever formed government in Canada. Please read widely and do your homework before this election.
Yup, you guessed it. In the end, I made the imperfect choice rather than supporting what I truly believe is the worst political party that has ever existed in Canada.
Thank you for your time. Good night, and good luck to us all.
It’s the middle of the afternoon, but thanks for the advice.
Now, of course, one pissy little turd in a no-name alternative paper isn’t going to make up my mind for me on this election issue. However, it is important to remember that elections aren’t about the perfect choices — it’s about making the best choice given your options.
Which is why I voted for Conservative Maurice Vellacott. He’s not my ideal choice, but he’s the best choice I have today.
Again, thank you for reminding me about this, Stephen Whitworth. You truly made a difference today.