As you read this, the Alberta provincial election is over. I wrote and posted this on election day, so I didn’t know the results. I could have waited to find out but chose not to.
If you care about this election, you already know how it turned out. Whether I’m pleased or not with the outcome, sharing that is irrelevant as it’s a done deal. Everybody gets one vote, and hopefully, those eligible to mark an X made the time to do so.
Some will say that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain, but that’s a laughable premise. Who’s enforcing that rule?
I could have written this before election day to encourage people to get out and make a difference, but to imagine I have that much influence over anyone would be arrogant.
I’ve drawn a lot of election cartoons this month. Some of them are fun, but I’m glad it’s over. With biased polls, polarizing messages, and outright lies and promises, I always wonder how anybody believes any of them.
But then, we still get spam email and phishing phone calls because enough people keep clicking links and revealing their credit card numbers for the scammers to keep making money.
The same goes for politics.
No matter which political party you support or oppose, they all play the same games and work from the same script. Long on promises and short on delivery, they tell you what you want to hear to either get the job or keep it. Then you only see them when there’s a ribbon to cut or a firehall to open, anything with a good photo op.
We all have biases and blind spots in every part of our lives. They know this, and they exploit it. It’s a flawed system, but until something better comes along, it’s the one we’ve got. And while it’s not sexy or exciting, it’s each person’s job to hold our elected officials accountable.
You might have to write a letter, send an email, or call their offices and your local editor or reporter. You don’t need to write well to do it, and you don’t need to swear and insult their parentage. All you need to do is tell them why you’re angry, disappointed, frustrated, or feeling betrayed, in simple terms and short sentences.
They’re spending your money. Elections are when they’re hired or fired, but these people work for you all year long. And when you don’t get results, keep at them until you do.
If your candidate doesn’t win, the person who did is still your representative and answers to you. On the other hand, if your candidate did win, it’s even more important to make sure that you remind them they can easily lose it next time if they don’t live up to their promises.
If they suddenly shift gears and blame their inaction on Ottawa or the previous government, then you’re just another victim of a scam that keeps working election after election.
Political engagement is more than liking and sharing memes on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram.
If that’s all you got, it’s just as lazy as not voting.
©Patrick LaMontagne 2023