By: Korie Marshall, Editor
I was really never interested in politics, because most of what I heard or read in the news made me angry. The rest, I either didn’t see how it affected me, or I just didn’t care. That was the young and impatient me.
Nowadays, I understand more and more about how complex issues can be, and it is a little bit scary sometimes, because we often have to give up our own control and need to understand, and choose to trust other people with certain tasks. This happens with a lot of things – we get on a plane and trust someone else to fly it, get in our car and trust that someone else won’t run us off the road, we give the care of our children to teachers or family or babysitters while we do something else, we trust the manufacturers of the products and foods we buy to not harm us.
We still like to think we are generally in control of our own lives, so long as we are not hurting others. But one of the points of society is that we can band together and let certain people worry about some tasks, while the rest of us do other tasks. One of those important tasks is making decisions for our communities, and whether that is a non-profit organization, a band, a local government, or the provincial or federal government, or a group of businesses, we have various ways of choosing who will ultimately make those decisions, and of how much input they need to get from the rest of the group.
I’ve heard myself say recently “You can’t complain if you don’t vote,” but that is really too simplified. It doesn’t actually start with voting, it starts with paying attention to what is going on around you. It then becomes a choice as to whether or not you want to learn more about what is happening, why it is that way, and whether you want to see it change. Attending meetings, asking questions, trying to understand what is already happening is the first step.
But the other side of that coin is that someone (or many people) needs to step up and do the work. Anyone can say “We should do this,” or “Why don’t we do that?” But someone actually has to do it, not just think about it. And that follow-thorough is notoriously hard.
My mom makes a joke (at least I think she is joking) that she hates the internet and cell phones, because anyone can look anything up and instantly end an argument. That might be true of trying to remember the name of that movie star or a lyric from a song, but some of the important things are much more complicated. Organizations, boards, governments are all made of people, and each of us has our failings, but we have strengths too. There are reasons that governments and societies and businesses are set up the way they are – some might be good reasons and others may not be so good, but there is a history to most of them and a reason things are the way they are.
Voting is important, with local elections coming up this fall, and a federal election next year, but understanding who you are voting for and why is even more important. And you can’t make a good choice if you are not informed about the issues that matter to you. Of course we can’t all be informed about everything – start with the stuff that matters most to you right now.