I've been around a few elections over the last few years, and they have all been surrounded by passion and excitement. I was in Latin America for two incredibly important elections. The first was the United States Presidential race. I remember sitting in a little restaurant in the mountain city of Quetzaltanengo in Guatemala, the kind local owner and I watching the night unfold on CNN Espanol. I remember how we both watched with intense interest, and debated with one another in broken Spanish, both of us knowing how much was at stake. Not long after I was in El Salvador leading up to the Presidential elections where the people were mobilizing to elect a new government. The right wing party that dominated politics in El Salvador since the end of the war were about to be replaced democratically by the very Marxist Guerilla group that they fought against in the 1980's. Then there was Honduras, where I was part of a human rights delegation during a more or less staged election put on by a de facto coup d'etat regime. The former two elections were examples of peoples movements utilizing democracy to bring about significant change, the latter was an example of democracy being manipulated by powerful forces from above. It is now election time in Canada, and I feel that Canadian democracy lies somewhere in between the examples listed above.
I often express my indignation towards the establishment in my writing, or even more so when I talk to people. I frequently criticize the politics of Canada and the Canadian government, I certainly criticize our electoral system. In fact, I don't believe that what we have here in Canada is actually a democracy, but rather some twisted representation of what a democracy should be. For these reasons I'm sometimes called a radical, or often a socialist or perhaps a tree hugger (the latter two are apparently synonymous in contemporary ideological groupings). I will probably reinforce this label by declaring that I will be voting for the Green party this election - the only political party with a sustainable vision for the future. What is certain is that I am not a radical but a pragmatist. I believe in democracy and I believe that an organized democracy is the only way to bring about the changes that this country and this world need. I believe this because I have seen it happen, especially in Latin America. That is why despite my cynicism, I believe that elections are incredibly important. There is so much at stake. The longer that we neglect our duty to vote, the further we move away from a democracy and the harder it will be to salvage democracy when things start to get difficult - which is inevitable the way things are going.
Since this is my personal blog I'll now use this opportunity to push my own strong political views upon my readers. In the near future I will be writing about the problems with Canadian democracy and why our current system does not work. In the meantime, I strongly encourage people to vote Green. For every vote that the Green party receives they gain legitimacy as a party in the public eye, and the only reason they have not gained a strong sense of legitimacy thus far (as was made clear by their exclusion in the leaders debates) is because they raise important issues that the other political parties do not want to address. The Green party is the only party that will actively work to change our electoral system to make your individual vote worth more, so that there is a government in parliament representative of the entire population of Canada. And they are the only party that will provide an active voice for the environment, at a time when Canada is becoming known around the world as one of the least-environmentally friendly developed countries. Anyone who cares about the future of this country and this world should vote Green.