(This is the first of several items I’ve been wanting to write about. I thought it was best to wait until after the election)
There are many people talking about the voter participation rate in the last election and how low it was.
At first, I was jumping on the “all people don’t care!” bandwagon but upon some reflection and reading how other people were feeling I have to get this off my chest.
Some people may not care about it but some other people don’t vote for several reasons.
- They are tired of a system that does not seem to help them no matter who is in power.
- They don’t have the time to vote let alone research the issues and candidates.
There can be many reasons for both of these, but IMHO people who are living with poverty and precarious employment have more important things they think about.
- Will I have enough money to pay the rent/mortgage this month?
- Will I have enough money to put food on the table for myself and my family?
- Can I earn enough to have a cash flow to pay for prescriptions that will take Trillium 6-8 weeks to send a check back? (if the med is covered)
- Can I earn enough to afford the dental work for a family member who really needs it done?
- Can I turn my brain off at night to allow me to get enough sleep to function the next day?
This is the reality for many people. The municipal government does not have control of many of these policies but people have been let down by those on the provincial and federal level enough times that they don’t see the point with another layer of government.
We know what has to be done, and we know how much it will cost, what we need is the will to do it.
To those who can manage trying to make ends meet as well as getting out and helping the community, my hat is off to them. Not everyone can.
I manage to find time to be on the Library Board, it is time well spent and I feel like I am making a contribution back to an organization that provides a lot of good in the community. However, I have had to back away from other commitments as I know what my physical limits are.
Having lived with the stress of non-full-time employment for 4 out of the last 7 years, I can tell you it is a constant stress. Thoughts like above are usually the first thing I think about waking up, and it’s what I try to not think about so I can get a decent nights sleep.
I am halfway through a three-month contract which pays well enough to pay the bills but not enough to cover any unexpected large expenses or my wife’s medical bills. I always try to save a small portion for fun things like a meal out or to support the community in some way. I am always looking for other sources of income to try and build that savings up. Telling your family you cannot afford to do something is the toughest things anyone has to do. Seeing other people doing cool things can be depressing as well.
I don’t look for pity, amazing people have stepped up to help when we really needed it. I look for people to realize what we have tried in the past does not work, it’s time to do something different. If you are a politician or policy influencer think of it like this “It’s more important then being re-elected or how my peers will think of me”. If we can break this cycle then more people will have the physical and mental energy to do amazing things.
So let’s move ahead and have a bit less about the low voter turnout, please.