As a young adult, I learned about participating in a political election campaign. I learned that the emotions were always close to the surface. I learned that if you believed in a candidate, you would work as hard as you could to get that candidate elected. I learned that some days were very long. I learned that having sore feet was a common complaint. I learned that not everyone told the truth. I learned that sometimes you lose. I learned that meetings could be exciting. I also learned that meetings could be deadly dull. I learned that working in a political election campaign was a wonderful thing to do. I learned that this was what was great about democracy.
I have seen the highs of a campaign. I have seen the lows of a campaign. I learned that the hard work carried out by a candidate or an elected official was tiring, resulted in long days, and many days simply heard vile criticism. Although I have seen in the last several governments that Canadian politicians can be mean spirited, vicious, lying and not honest, I still believe that the profession of politics is most honourable. I still believe that politicians can be heroes.
At one time, it seemed that the local candidate was the important and only choice. It seemed as though the local candidate could speak for you and the local community. Perhaps that was an innocent view. Now that party leaders have great influence, and that the office of the Prime Minister has enormous power, it appears that a local candidate has no voice. Perhaps that was always so. Perhaps I am wrong but I still believe that the integrity of a local candidate will represent people better than quickly forgotten campaign promises.
As a democratic society, where we value the principles of peace and political stability, we see that the right to choose our governments is a sacred trust. It is sacred because we must hold politicians and governments to account. It is sacred because it is us who choose. I am naïve enough to believe that the people are the power in a democracy. Our accountability is manifested in voting. Our accountability is in asking meaningful questions and expecting a real answer.
As faithful people we also have a responsibility to see and choose through the lens of faith and justice. Your relationship with Jesus will tell you who might be the best choice for you and for your country.
It does not matter to anyone else except yourself who you vote for. It is your choice and it is a secret ballot. It only matters that you are informed and you vote on Election Day. Living in a democracy is not enhanced if you willingly give up your most precious right – the right to choose your own government.
Please vote on Monday October 19th.