After weeks of on and off..but mostly on…winter weather here on the nearly north coast of Van Isle, I never thought I would be happy to see the rain and wind again, but I am.
Standing outside last night in the rain waiting for my beast to do his business, was refreshing like when rain first falls after a long, hot dry spell. I relished the feel of drops on my face, didn’t mind that it was squelching over the edges of my flip-flops and enjoyed the smell of wet soil from the nearby garden beds. And the scent of thawed soil made my fingers itchy as it only does to those who love to plant seeds,nurture and grow flowers,crops and things that feed you or just add beauty to the world around us.
This morning the snow had all disappeared, replaced by massive pools of water and the raindrops were even more refreshing after a long night tending to the fiery fever of one of my children who has been hit hard by the flu. I’m writing this in between tending them both…cool wet towel, cool liquids,frozen berries and a hug and kiss back to sleep. And it works. There is no deadline on this blog thankfully 🙂
I want to talk about a conversation I had early yesterday with a person who knew every detail of the train wreck called Trump, who is very concerned for Americans and clearly knew all the issues many are facing. Yet they had no idea that we are having an election here in BC this year, nor could they remember our premiers name..it goes without saying they had no idea who the official opposition leader is.
Yet at the same time I see so many people online already calling it a win for the NDP in the next election, happily sharing links and stories. And that’s great. But I see the same kind of assumptions being made that led to complacency in the last election. Assumptions like no one in their right mind would vote for Clark and crew… yet they do again and again and…
The conversation I had should serve as a reality check 101 for many.
Why? Take that one person, multiply by tens of thousands and you have a very large part of the voting public in British Columbia. Or anywhere for that matter.
The truth is if you stood on the corner in any BC city and asked random people when the next election is in BC, most probably would have no idea they go to the polls in a matter of months. The first clue for many might happen when election signs start popping up in multitudes along boulevards and roads.
And that’s a problem. It’s always been a problem. Because tens of thousands of people in BC are never going to see or read anything beyond what is on the nightly news or their local free paper…if that.
As someone who has written & provided media commentary through a couple of BC elections already, I’ve seen it happen time and time again: the assumption that the Liberals are just so bad and so terrible that no one could vote for them. But voters inevitably do and frankly the NDP backroom peeps seem to keep making the same old mistakes behind the scenes year after year … and yes, I see some of those mistakes unfolding already behind the scenes.
But I don’t want to talk about the NDP or the Liberals. I want to talk about you.
I want to talk to, and about , the people I have written about so many times in the 4 years since the last election. The people who never join a political party. The people who are more concerned making ends meet and putting food on the table then following what politicians are doing. The people who are so turned off by the hypocritical finger pointing and endless scandals that they just end up tuning it all out. Because those are the people who have the most power to change it all.
They can completely change the political landscape if we can reach them and inspire to vote… but elections for the past decade show no party has been able to reach them.
Which is why there have been two posts in particular I have written since the past election that resonated so strongly with many… and resulted in many of those people finally recognizing their own responsibility to inform themselves.
British Columbia is a pretty interesting place when it comes to politics. With a lot of traditionally left leaning big labour,union back industry, one would think an NDP government would always win provincial elections, but they don’t. Many union members will vote for the Liberals despite leaders saying they should vote NDP – happens up north all the time, and many non-party voters afraid of change will vote Liberal too.
In fact we’ve had a Liberal government for over a decade, much to the frustration of the BC NDP, who’ve changed leaders/strategists/faces/clothes and still can’t pull in the votes. Why?
It’s my opinion that the majority of people in this province, and this country, really spend most of their lives residing in the space created by the Great Divide between left and right political parties. They don’t care to join a political party, they might not follow politics at all unless it’s the morning of voting day, or perhaps they limit it to paper headlines and coffetime chats.
If you were to ask them where they stand on various issues politicians like to use as emotional tools during elections (crime,taxes,jobs and education) you would likely find they lean left on some issues and right on others. To them, it’s the issue and how that issue is addressed that matters, not the political ideology behind the party trying to get that vote. Whatever party happens to hit that nerve for them will likely get their vote.
It’s what makes the space between Left and Right, the sweet spot to aim for in politics. So far, the left hasn’t been able to conquer the great divide in BC and it’s because they can’t get those non-party,slightly conservative centrist votes no matter what they do. And when I use the word conservative here,I don’t mean the political party kind of conservative,I mean cautious – likely to err on the side of being careful.
And then seeing growing despair among friends and community minded people experiencing difficulties as a direct result of poor government policy and planning at every level… wrote this just a month later: https://lailayuile.com/2015/04/12/its-no-longer-enough-to-shake-our-heads-and-make-concerned-grimaces-at-the-news/ :
I worry that our governments continue to make short-sighted decisions and policies that have implications so serious that people’s lives and livelihoods are lost. Veterans left behind, front line workers suffering from PTSD abandoned. Mt.Polley, sawmill explosions – the list is long and sadly, often preventable.
I worry that politicians are so out of touch with how most of us live, that they think spending $150,000 to close a bridge for an event that would have only made a yoga wear corporate sponsor money from a photo-op, is a good thing.
But most of all, I worry that so many good,decent people have become so de-sensitized to the never-ending onslaught of news that even the latest outrageous news of the health firing scandal that caused one man to take his life will soon be forgotten with a few sunny days and the next scandal sure to come.
I’m here to tell you,that’s just not going to cut it anymore. It’s not enough to just be a good person and tsk-tsk at the morning news. That makes you part of the problem.
No, really, it does. You might not want to hear this but I’m so tired of hearing people say politics bores them, or politics has nothing to do with them. Look around you! Look at what is going on in your city, your town or your own neighbourhood.
Pissed off over potholes? Who’s in charge of that? Whats your local mayor and council doing if it’s an ongoing issue?
Guess what? That’s politics. That is how politics impact you. It doesn’t have to be an oil spill or tailings pond collapse, it can be something as minor as never-ending potholes.
Tired of overcrowded schools? How did that happen? Well, mayor and council have to approve all those developments and if they do without thought to the local schools, your kids are the ones who feel it.
The provincial government policy that prevents a new school from being built until the current ones are busting kids at the seams? That’s political.
Sitting in a waiting room in the understaffed hospital in ER for hours on end only to end up on a stretcher in the hallway because there isn’t a room for you? That’s political.
Bullets flying in your neighbourhood? That too is political. Who makes the decisions for funding and hiring more police? Who is choosing to fund scholarships for overseas students rather than programs to help at-risk kids here avoid gang life? Who is passing laws that allow offenders back out within hours of being arrested and charged?
The people who run your city, your province and this country are elected by you.
They direct the policy making, they decide where and how the money is spent and they can either do a very good job at it, or not. And I think they like it when people don’t pay attention because it makes their job even easier.
You might not be into politics, but make no bones about it, politics is very interested in you….
And yet, I see even more discontent among people now, much of directly linked to the policies and direction the current government has taken. But without inspiring leaders to show how they can do things differently or how they would do them differently…we may see the same government in power again come May. The Liberals are counting on it. Those lost votes in the middle work in their favour, increasingly so because so many have lost faith in the NDP.
And if you find yourself reading this and thinking: ” This is exactly how I feel.” , know this.
More than ever before, I feel like our future as a province is at a crossroads.
I know where I stand. I will do everything I can to inform voters of our current governments record. When I read things like this, a story about an FOI that shows how far a government and crown corporation will go to combat the truth.. I am alarmed on many levels.
But your vote is yours and I won’t presume to tell you how to use it. It doesn’t belong to anyone other than you and I urge every single one of you to exercise this vote in an informed manner. But do not be bullied by those saying it will be your fault if the Liberals win a majority again if you vote indie or green or communist or any other party out there- that is the fastest way to push an undecided voter away if you ask me. There are better ways to get your point across that don’t alienate that voter. If a party or candidate wants your vote, they need to earn it…not assume it.
Because we’ve hit a point,B.C., where each of us needs to decide what kind of a province we want to be. And you’ve got less than 5 months before you cast one very important vote. Would millionaires be spending so much money trying to influence your vote if it wasn’t valuable?
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
― Walt Whitman