Four letter words are my favourite and most frequently used varieties. There are so many good ones like true, just, fair, and real. And those are the ones I use when I’m happy.
One of my other favourites is vote. I’m a voting nerd. I was just as excited to reach the legal voting age as I was to reach the legal drinking age. My voting life started with Mulroney and the Free Trade debate. My drinking career began with Mai Tais chased with bourbon. Parallels can certainly be drawn.
So now I’m obsessed with voter apathy. Are people so desensitized and jaded by political attack ads they’re just giving up on the whole thing? Is any candidate worth stopping at the community centre on your way home from work to make a mark?
Some countries make it illegal not to vote. Does that cure apathy? I don’t know.
When I see people willing to give their lives to vote, there is a common denominator; it’s very dangerous and hard-won. So my thought is this: make voting illegal.
It follows the dieting principle; when you can’t have cookies, all you can think about is having cookies.
Once the right to vote is taken away from us, we’d be obsessed with it and we’d fight for it. I bet the sheer naughtiness of doing something illegal would get most people on board.
We’d be circling government buildings like 7-11s at midnight, desperately trying to come up with ways to get those voting rights/cookies. Organizations would spring up trying to convince us we shouldn’t want the vote/cookies, but there would be backlash.
Repression and denial would unite us. We’d become a unified mass of vote-reclaiming, cookie-munching rebels. We would be relentless in our pursuit of political participation and double chocolate chip.
Heads or tails
Maybe we could make things really interesting by following Bhutan’s former voting practices and allowing only one vote per household. Imagine the coin tossing and arm wrestling potential there.
Perhaps voting could be legal, but just getting to a voting station could be more “adventure” laden. We could have Extreme Voting, where government thugs pound you with water cannons as you try to get to the polling station. In the same vein, we could just hire the Taliban to run our elections.
Or we could have national police force just pluck people out of political rallies while they try to get informed. Well now, look at us already on our way to Extreme Voting.
Maybe voting could be combined with a marathon. Everyone has to travel 50 km to their voting station. Don’t forget your ID!
How about Darwin Voting? There just aren’t enough ballots so everyone has to fight everyone else for a chance elect someone.
We could have SAW voting. You get to the polling station and you have an invisible marker or a pen that uses your own blood for ink. Which do you choose? How badly do you want to make your choice known?
A different perspective
Maybe we need a softer option. Voting is legal and easy, but we call it something else to distract ourselves from what we’re doing. I propose Hold Your Nose, Inspect, and Elect or HYNIE. It sounds like a lot more fun than vote and HYNIE sums up how I feel about our current political state.
I doubt my ideas will be implemented before May 2. But please, please, please vote. Even if you think everyone’s a crook and you write HYNIE all over your ballot, just get your name highlighted on the voter’s list. The alternatives are scary.
A personal request
To all politicians, I challenge you to do one good, noble, decent, selfless, honourable thing that makes me weep with Canadian pride during your campaign. Do that, and you’ve got my HYNIE.
This excludes you, Mr. Harper. Between your “only the cool kids” rallies, and violating your own legislation and just plain lying to everyone, I think you will understand your current relationship to my HYNIE.
And Mr. Harper, you can’t hogtie me with promises of guaranteeing the Muskrat Falls loan either. I don’t think you’ll ever back us up any more than I think you’ll support same-sex marriage or buy me a pony.
Another personal request
So come on everyone, especially you amazing, yet under-represented 18-24 year olds, get out there and make your voice heard! Let’s rock the HYNIE!