Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The day after the election

Here we are: the day after the election. I live on the border between two ridings and they both have new MPs this morning. Oddly, no one expects much to be different as a result.

Yesterday, I asked college students why people vote. A few of them thought it had to do with a sense of duty or a sense of belonging. Some thought it had to do with protecting things that mattered to them. None of them thought that voting meant supporting terrific leaders who would help us do great things collectively.

Today, I watched a man load a sign into a truck - the beginning of the great clean up that marks the end of 15 years for one MP. All endings impose chores. So do beginnings - although the winner's signs all seem to be in place. For the people who help, it might seem like something has changed. For almost everyone else, the only thing that changes will be the amount of noise in the landscape.

If we want change, we have to expect change. If we want leadership, we have to expect to find leaders. If what we want is for life to be relatively stable - all we need to do is what we are already doing.

That's not all bad, is it? Do you really want your life to be changed by your vote? Probably not. Elections in Canada are about balance - that's why Ontario regularly sends one set of politicians to Toronto and a different set to Ottawa. Change happens and we deal with it. It doesn't mean we have to encourage it.

Not for ourselves. But what about the people who wake up this morning - as they woke up yesterday morning - scared or angry or hungry? If voting will not make a difference for them, what will?

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