Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Left is the New Right--Election behaviour and misbehaviour??

       Disclaimer:  There is a big fat post on the political fence with my name on it where I sit comfortably during election   time waiting to be pushed off in one direction or another.  The following is meant to encourage fair and productive voter behaviour whatever your affiliation.

Self-righteous, shaming, finger-pointing, backward-thinking--some fine qualities historically associated with the political right.  Did I say 'historically associated' as if that was past tense?  Wait a minute...Did I say 'political right'?  Because these are a few of the things I've seen this week...


What does that even mean?

 Well, there's my vote swayed.

No comment on this one.

And on my way to grocery store this morning...on a STOP sign, someone graffitied the word HARPER.  Yawn.

This is only a sampling of what I have seen this week, and, my sense of humour was generally in tact about it all until I came across a comment that summed up what I see as an emerging pattern in voter behaviour (or more accurately misbehaviour) over the past ten years or so, and that is this... "Is anyone out there a non-closeted Harper voter?"  This is not the first time I have heard the expression 'closeted' in relation to conservative votership, and I think I am right in assuming that the inference/suggestion here is that holding right wing political views is something one should be ashamed of or hide akin to the shame/hiding of one's homosexuality in years past.  I take great offense to this for a few reasons: One is that this is very insulting to the 40 odd percent of people that voted for a (ahem) conservative MAJORITY in the last election.  That's a LOT of people, and probably not many fit the archaic profile of a right-wing voter wearing a cowboy cat, carrying a gun, and driving a gas-guzzling SUV, though I will clarify that the last time I checked those are all totally legal and acceptable activities in this country. My guess is that plenty of these so-called 'closeted conservatives' are intelligent, contributing, even compassionate individuals with NOTHING to be ashamed of.  Two is that throwing around expressions like 'closeted conservative' is sadly to me a a sign that political left is simply taking over the self-righteousness and shaming that they have used to stereotype the right for so long, and I don't see that as desirable.  And worse than anything, I think there is some truth to this whole notion of 'closeted conservative'.  I think the outspoken self-righteous left have succeeded in marginalizing right wing voters to the point where they don't feel free express their opinions without fear of being cast as some awful environment-hating, capitalist, don't-care-about-the-poor-people asshole. And do you know how I know this?  Because I pride myself on always considering and representing both sides to a story... So this is the part where I'd like to post some less-than-desirable mud-slinging campaign material from the right, but you know what? I can't do that. Because I haven't seen any.  So either there are NO conservative voters out there (doubtful) or they have been silenced, and that is not cool and wholly undemocratic.

So the advice from my perch on the fence:

To the left: BE AN INTELLIGENT VOTER.  Get to know the candidates and the platforms.  And if you're taking part in this type of misbehaviour...Cool it with the shaming and the Harper-is-the-devil antics and the like.  Your opinion is WELCOME, but so is everyone else's.

To the right: BE AN INTELLIGENT VOTER. Get to know the candidates and the platforms.  And if you're so inclined, 'come out of the closet' with your conservative views. You are a valued citizen and your opinions are relevant and WELCOME.

I have often thought it a shame that political views be described as 'left' or 'right' as if opposites, but this a simply nomenclatural blunder that we get caught up in far too often. The reality is that most Canadians hold the same core values and goals dear--we want to look after our loved ones, we value health and education, we want to care for those less-fortunate at home and abroad, we value freedom and equality--I could go on and on.  The 'left' or the 'right' views we hold are simply a view as to the best way of achieving those goals.  They do not need to be as divisive as some would have you believe during the lead up to an election.  So, please, whatever your affiliation or lack therof, let that common ground guide your election behaviour into that which is intelligent, fair, and democratic.