Exercise voting freedoms

Today’s column inspiration comes courtesy of poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht,

Today’s column inspiration comes courtesy of poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht, a man who saw the world from the left side of the political spectrum.

His words, however, bear reading:

“The worst illiterate is the political illiterate,” Brecht wrote.

“He doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions.

“The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.”

I know people who don’t vote and are so stubborn in their beliefs it’s pointless to try and convince them otherwise.

They’ll grumble and complain, express deeply held opinions on the country’s political leaders — an attitude that can be summed up pretty much by “a pox on them all.”

They’ll disagree when told they have no right to complain if they do nothing to shape the system.

Here’s the thing, though; it’s that kind of attitude that has given rise to the perplexingly large number of bigots who cherry-pick the Bible and now believe they can be the president of the United States.

It’s that attitude that gives rise to the truly silly debate I see on my Facebook page between a couple of avowed right-wingers and an equally rabid pair of left-wingers who seem to think logical political discourse is to fling insults at each other.

A caller this week said his belief in the obligation we all have to vote comes from history — and from the thousands of Canadians who died in places like Vimy, Ypres, Passchendaele and, more recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the caller put it, he votes because of the sacrifices the Canadian military have made.

Frankly, that’s good enough for me but I belong to the generation that was impacted by the Second World War, who met Americans fleeing their country to avoid the Vietnam War.

I’ve listened to the stories of Canadians who survived and came home, many of them disabled physically or mentally.

Those reasons aren’t always good enough for the younger set, that lost group of souls so disillusioned with society that they don’t take the time to vote.

It’s possible many of them will never be swayed from their stance — but let’s try anyhow.

Reasons to vote:

• Government creates the infrastructure we live in.

• Government sets the rules that guide our economy — you know, that place where jobs come from.

• Government even influences where you vacation; when our dollar dips, a lot of places look less inviting.

• Government tells you who our enemies are — and, in this election, if that’s not enough reason to go out and vote, I don’t know what is.

• Government decides how much privacy — another human right — we actually have and, again, that is a major issue in this federal election.

Finally, the best reason to vote?

Because we have the freedom so many others in the world do not have.

– Dale Bass is associate editor of Kamloops This Week. Contact her by emailing dale@kamloopsthisweek.com or find her on Twitter @mdalebass.

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