Posts Tagged ‘voting’

Politics. It’s oh-so-much fun to be a Canadian these days, because we not only can amuse ourselves with the American election, but we have one of our very own going on too.

There four candidates running in our riding. A Conservative one, a Liberal one, an NDP and a Green. There might be more. I’m always surprised when I get the ballot to see the Communist party or something on there, but basically, there’s those four.

Maya asked me who I was going to vote for. I told her, “Well, I hate the Conservatives, so not him. The Conservatives actually are the most supportive of Jewish causes, but since they are evil in every other regard, they are definitely out. But he’s the sitting MP and likely to win. I’m probably closest in philosophy to the NDP, but they are rabidly anti-Israel and anti-Jew lately, so that rules them out. I’m probably closer to the Greens than the Liberals, but the Greens have no hope of winning. So if the Liberal shows any possibility of beating the Conservative, I’ll likely vote Liberal to do what I can to unseat the Conservative. But if it looks like the Conservative has it all tied up, I’ll vote Green, just to shore up their support.”

She said, “Did you get the binder dividers I need for school?” I’d clearly lost her long before. She, no doubt, expected a one-word answer.

Voting in Canada is further confused by the fact that you are, in essence, voting for two people at once. By voting for the Conservative candidate in your riding, you are also voting for the leader of that party, because the party that gets the most candidates elected forms the government. So a lot of people face the dilemma of really liking the local candidate for one party, but hating that party’s leader, or visa versa. It’s a complicated choice.

The Americans, by contrast, seem to have it pretty easy. Vote Obama or vote McCain. Better yet, those two parties are light-years apart in policy, which should make it even easier in my view. So I was amazed when I popped over to one of my favourite mommy blogs, Notes from the Trenches, the other day. The blogger, Chris, who I find to be funny and articulate and the possessor of a remarkably clean house despite having 7 children living in it, admitted that she hadn’t a clue which party to vote for. Nobody excites her. The post has almost 200 comments on it, most saying they feel exactly the same way. As a Canadian, I was really surprised. I had no idea there were Americans out there with that problem.

I can understand feeling like they are all just lying politicians, although I still think that the possibility of America actually having a black guy in the white house is still kind of exciting. But I can’t get not knowing who to vote for in that election, because the two parties are so utterly different. One is anti-reproductive rights, the other pro-choice; one hates gay people, the other sometimes even lets them get married; one thinks every citizen deserves affordable health care, the other, well, doesn’t; one wants to tax the richest citizens to provide things like health care, the other likes to give tax cuts to the richest. The choice just seems so easy.

It would seem to me that it all comes down to deal-breakers. Most women I know have very strong opinions on reproductive rights, for example. Either they believe that they have absolute say over their own bodies or they believe life begins at conception and abortion is murder. Either way, abortion is pretty much a deal-breaker. Gay rights is a deal-breaker for my gay friends. So how can the American choice between Republican and Democrat be so difficult?


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