I attended an election debate last night. It’s the third one I’ve watched or attended in the last few weeks. With only a few days left in the Federal election campaign, I feel the urgency of prayerful consideration of my voting privilege.
Across the country, people are wondering what’s next. Some are paying closer attention to the news media. Others have turned it off altogether. Many, like me, feel the importance of this election, and are praying fervently for what the days ahead may hold, even while knowing that God is Sovereign.
The Preacher and our daughter are working as DROs this election, continuing a long family tradition of involvement in the process. Wherever we’ve lived, in little towns and big, for municipal, provincial, and federal elections, we’ve done what we could. Pounded the streets as enumerators, pounded in signs for candidates, pounded a few figurative podiums making our opinions known. We’ve also worn calluses on our fingers copying voters’ lists. (Those were the days!) We’ve also scrutineered, poll clerked, and supervised polls.
If you’ve already voted in advance, I hope the DRO smiled and thanked you. For rearranging your day to vote, you deserved that. After all, in some places voters are becoming endangered species, and must be treated gently.
In the years I enumerated I often heard, perhaps at doors just like yours, “What’s the point? It doesn’t make a difference who you vote for anyway.” Pardon my frankness, but that excuse is the sign of a lazy mind and an underdeveloped sense of citizenship.
In spite of the spin doctoring, accusations, finger-pointings, and outright lies, I still believe in the democratic process. I believe in kitchen-table debates and open forums and needling out the truth. I believe in knowing at least something about the various party platforms. Watching or listening to debates. Asking questions, and speaking out on issues that concern me.
In short, I believe my informed involvement makes a difference. And so does yours. When minority groups can so tickle the ears of even our highest level of government so that laws are passed in their favor — and let the rest of the country be hanged — it proves to me yet again that a small voice can have an impact. A small voice joined to another, and another, and another.
In some countries, people wait outside for hours for the chance to place their X, and consider it a privilege. In countries where a female vote is frowned on, some women risk their lives to vote anyway.
Nations who have lost their democratic right to vote are dissolving in their own blood. If more and more Canadians refuse to vote, is it possible that one day we too could wake up and find our headlines reading, “Elections cancelled due to lack of interest. Leaders will be arbitrarily named”?
I wonder how many then would shrug and say… “It doesn’t matter, anyway.”
God gave you a mind. Exercise it. He gave you a voice. Use it. And he’s given you a vote. Don’t waste it.