Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Election Day

there are a number of Provincial elections happening this week in Canada and today is election day in Manitoba. i'm going to mention a few things about political philosophy that i've mentioned in this space before. if you agree or disagree then that's fine but i'm pretty much set in my ways and i'm not really of a mind to change my philosophies so i'll pretty much ignore arguments that disagree with my slant but get posted in the comments.

i vote on the left of the political spectrum. people may call me a liberal politically but i suppose i view myself as more of a Social Democrat. in Canada i vote for the New Democratic Party and if i were in the US then i'd be more in line with the Democratic Party. i have some fairly simple reasons for my political views and i'll try to lay them out for you.

trickle down economic theory doesn't work. there are some moral policies that i could agree with on the right of the political spectrum but there area slew of economic and societal policies that vex me. the political right is mostly concerned with the bottom line. they help the rich guy so that the rich guy will carry the little guy along with him as he makes his money. that's good in theory, if the rich guy decides to pay the little guy a deserving, livable wage. the era of the union has improved this for many folks over the last 100 yrs or so but there still remains a segment of society who are underemployed and underpaid for the work they do. it's those folks who bear the weight of living in a rich society while working 2 or 3 jobs to try and stay above the poverty line. if the political right is in power then it is the poor who see funding and programming cut in order to maintain the bottom line. the political right cuts programming in the interest of smaller government and the bottom line while it is the poor who are cut out.

there aren't moral policies on the table to be renegotiated. some folks vote on the right because they're anti-abortion and the political right is more likely to be in favour of "family values" or more stringent abortion laws. let me ask this, is abortion on the horizon to be repealed? no it isn't. those laws won't be changing anytime soon and yet some still vote along lines to repeal something that won't be repealed while they're supporting other policies that they also shouldn't like but could still be repealed. what end of the political spectrum would help the poor in our society? the left. what end of the spectrum would be more inclined to bring troops home from a war overseas? the left. so why are people voting for parties that will not change abortion laws while ignoring parties that would be fully willing to change laws affecting poverty and wars. if we're moral people then we need to ask who it is that can affect change in areas where change is possible and needed.

i see no reason why a poor person would be voting for a party on the political right. too often people of faith see themselves as conservative in nature and they vote for parties that run under a Conservative moniker. conservative farmers are trying to eek out a living and they vote for parties that are going to favour banks and big business while squeezing the independant little guy for all they can get. the political right gives massive tax breaks to large companies so that they would in turn create or keep jobs here but then the massive company pays its employees at minimum wage while they pocket their millions daily. and how dare employees even mention the idea of a union before the same company threatens to take their factory to Mexico or Asia where they can pay much less for labour and only have to worry about shipping costs.

the poor you will always have with you. this is a true statement but let me ask further, what sort of society do we want to create? one that looks out only for themselves or one that gives folks with barriers to a better life some help toward self sufficiency? i know what sort of society i want and i realize that programming is going to cost dollars. the person who is down and out will need an option, the poor will need a way out of a social sausage grinder that is the cycle of poverty and what supports will we as a society provide for people without options? is the worry about crime solved by putting more police officers on the streets? maybe, or perhaps there would be less crime if we provided more or better job training for people who are frustrated with their situation. what good does it really do to cut and slash supports in favour of pursuing a more balanced budget? maybe safer streets happen by providing people with a job not by putting 50 more cops on the streets to catch the bad guy doing what he's doing because he's out of options. if that means a budget deficit then i realize that there is a cost to my political philosophies and we who are rich(yes, i'm definitely in the rich category when looked at Canadian society as a whole) need to carry the weight of tax required in order to build a better life for us all.

i don't like paying taxes as much as the next guy but i also see more than my good share of people on the down and out. i think that i'm uniquely placed to affect some change in my world. where i can be a "Catcher in the Rye". Holden Caulfield was telling his little sister about a dream that he has where there are thousands of little children playing in a field of Rye next to a very tall cliff. Holden's job in the dream is to race out and catch any child when they got too close to the cliff edge. it's a hero dream that is experienced by many, including me. i want to do good in this world. i want to provide options. i want to give out hope. i want to find a way to say "yes" whenever i can.

all of that will cost me, and i'll pay the price because that is who i want to be.

so today is election day and i'll exercise my right to speak into a growing void of darkness in society. i will keep saying out loud that there is hope, there is help and if i'm the only one out there willing to help the i will do all i can to help. today my help will come in a vote for supports for the poor and hope for those without options. i'm voting on the left.

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