By Allyssia Alleyne
Arts & Life Editor
Something strange happened to me a few weeks ago. When my adorable eight-year-old brother and I were watching TV, he asked me which political party I was a part of. When I told him I didn’t belong to any party he seemed less than impressed.
“I’m a Liberal,” he said confidently. Why? “Because Mommy and Daddy vote Liberal.”
I was sort of stunned. He was barely old enough to travel without a car seat, let alone have an established political affiliation.
I thought it was just another instance of a kid saying the darndest things. But as this election has progressed, I’ve found this way of thinking isn’t rare. Many people are supporting parties without really knowing what they’re supporting, more influenced by friends, family and slogans than research and independent thought.
Before I start to sound a little too condescending, I’ll explain my own less-than-stellar record. I went through stints as a left-ish activist-type and an apathetic cynic until I figured out how empowering it is to be genuinely politically aware. Once I dropped the ideology and decided how I really felt about issues, voting stopped being a waste of 15 minutes.
So here’s when I get onto my soapbox and tell you what to do. It might not work for you, but it worked for me.
The first step is to figure out what’s important to you. As much as the media and the Canadian Federation of Students try to paint us all as activists rallying for lower tuition fees and social justice, students are a diverse bunch with diverse interests. Maybe you’re really interested in cutting down hospital wait times, or maybe you’re interested in seeing our prisoners working like a Les Mis-esque chain gang. I don’t care. Your priorities are your own.
Next, try to figure out where each party stands on the issues that matter to you. Even if you don’t take the time to read each party’s platform, there are many resources to help you make a more educated choice.
The most useful, in my opinion, is the newspaper, where journalists explain, critique and analyze party promises and politicians on a daily basis (think of them as those meddling kids from Scooby-Doo). It’s impossible to know how much of a party’s platform is bullshit or make-believe, but you can at least try to figure out what their priorities are.
The last step is to actually get to the ballot box. Thursday is your last chance, so check out election.on.ca to figure out where to do it.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the party you vote for wins or not. It wouldn’t be a democracy if we didn’t have winners and losers. But the moral of this editorial is to make your vote count, no matter what the results are.
An apathetic person stays home on election night. An idiot votes without knowing what they’re voting for.