Monday, September 17, 2007

outremont by-election

Democracy is so inefficient.

Tonight my ‘roommate’ and I headed over to vote in the Outremont by-election. We have had to do this trip three times since I moved here two years ago. The whole exercise has become routine. I fully expect to be returning to the polls in another few months when the new guy gets bored of his job like the last guy did.

I suppose we could have not gone, but I never don’t vote. Long before I formed my own opinions, I was taught that democracy was a ‘for the people, by the people’ sort of thing, and it only really works if we all participate. I don’t think I’m better than you if you don’t vote. My brain was wired in a way that forces me to do unpleasant things out of a distorted sense of duty. Some people call it a protestant work ethic. I call it not that interesting.

As anyone who got through junior high knows, democracy only works out on paper. Sure the popular kid wins, but that kid will do whatever she/he wants because no one else really cares past the popularity contest. Then it becomes a drag as the person in ‘power’ discovers that they have no control over the homework level and now have to organize the school dance and speak in public.

Adult democracy works goes more like this: you stand in a line, choose the least objectionable person on the little strip of paper, and then go home to find that the most objectionable person actually won. The main problem is that the people who want the job are exactly not at all the people who ought to have the job; democracy's greatest oversight.

When we lived in Edmonton, voting was a perfect excuse for a nice walk through the neighborhood. Here in Montréal it becomes a nasty sample of inept bureaucracy. We stood in line as three people, maybe four, tried to manage two separate lines into the school gym and failed utterly.

These three or so people couldn’t quite grasp that the lost little old lady didn’t speak French. I guess physically prodding her to go to the back of the line was easier than some simple instructions in English. It’s nice to know that Elections Canada has taken it upon themselves to allow manhandling of the electorate.

When it was finally my turn to vote, they read my very anglo-saxon name out loud. I guess this was the cue to speak to me rudely in English, even though I had spoken in French, and tell me loudly and slowly, ‘Now, GO VOTE!’

Jesus. Sorry. For voting. Or being an anglo. I’m not entirely sure what she was angry at. Such rude petty little folk, drunk with moderate authority. Sure her job sucks, but it only sucks for one day.

I won’t say who I voted for, because I was always taught that that is rude. Besides, why else would they put up the cardboard cubicle?

I will say that I did not vote for the NDP though.

It wasn’t because I have any real bias towards any particular party. In fact, they could have easily had my vote. But they lost it.

They called my house 3 times with humans, asking who I was planning to vote for. Then their phone robots called, 3 times, to tell me to vote for them doesn’t matter because I hung up on the robots each time.

To the guy from the NDP: I hate being bothered at home unless it is by my friends. You are a politician. By definition, you cannot be my friend. You are therefore relegated to leaving a flyer, outlining why I should vote for you in particular, or knocking on my door and asking if you can explain yourself to me in person. Don’t think you can win me over with telemarketers and phone robots. Nobody in the world likes those things, not even people who don't have phones.


Wilma said...

I was called last week by some flacky asking IF there was a provincial election called, would I vote for his candidate? I said no & hung up.

He lost all chance with me when his drone phone DURING a Roughrider game.

Wilma said...

Uh, yeah, that should be "phoned". I hate typos!