The Canadian federal election is Monday, and I can’t remember ever feeling so conflicted about casting my vote. Do I vote with my head? With my heart? With a pink pencil crayon? So many variables!
It’s especially hard here in Quebec where we have one more contending party than most Canadians, and the sole mandate of that party, the Bloc Pro-François, is to ensure that all federal legislation and initiatives are cast in the best interest of guys named François.
And while they don’t come right out and say it, the party really has it in for white guys named Murray. In fact, their policy includes legislation that would force white guys named Murray to cover up their faces at all times and never be allowed in the 12-items-or-less checkout. I mean, I understand the face covering, but the cats need their Fancy Feast!
Naturally, I won’t be voting for the Bloc Pro-François. But, surprisingly, support for the party is rising as people come on board with the whole face-covering thing, which I have to say is a bit hurtful, but, again, I get it. My friends tell me the only way to stop them from winning is to vote for the Smelly Fish Party, which is running on a platform of continuing to shove toothpicks under people’s fingernails but in a totally charming way.
Plus, if Pro-François does take away seats from Smelly Fish, that means the Flaming Turd Party will win the election and form the next government, which will mean cuts to social programs and thugs coming to your house every Sunday to drag you to church. And also toothpicks under the fingernails but in an entirely off-putting manner.
So people say I must – absolutely must! – vote Smelly Fish, in order to stop the Bloc Pro-François and the Flaming Turds.
But what if I don’t want to vote for the Smelly Fish?
Certainly I don’t want to vote for the Dead Puppies Party. Those people are nuts. Sure, they really like white guys named Murray, but they hate puppies! Especially foreign puppies!
But why can’t I vote for, say, the Let’s Play Nice Party? Or what about the Magic Rainbow Unicorn Party? “You can’t vote for the Magic Rainbow Unicorn Party,” they say, “because no one votes for the Magic Rainbow Unicorn Party, and if no one votes for the Magic Rainbow Unicorn Party, then voting for Magic Rainbow Unicorn Party is a waste of your vote.”
But if you remove “winning” and “losing” from the equation, you get a whole new perspective. Take, for instance, this whole issue of burning down houses:
- The Smelly Fish say they will no longer burn your house down except when they do.
- The Flaming Turds say that, in order not to burn your house down, they will burn someone else’s down.
- Let’s Play Nice say they will continue burning some houses down, but here’s a garden hose.
- The Magic Rainbow Unicorn Party says, “Call us crazy, but let’s stop burning houses down.”
Pundits do say that’s crazy. If we don’t keep burning houses down, they claim, houses will no longer be burned. It’s hard to argue against that logic. Not to mention the positive economic impact of replacing all those burned down houses with new houses that we can burn down again.
Others say that if we stop burning houses down, the government will need to stick even more toothpicks under our fingernails, which is bad for Canadians although great for the toothpick industry.
(The Dead Puppies Party, incidentally, wants to burn down all the doghouses. The Bloc Pro-François only wants to burn down my house.)
There are so many parameters when it comes to voting: the party platform, the party leader, the local candidate, whose campaign theme song is Foreigner’s “Feels Like the First Time,” which is just plain weird.
This isn’t the first time, though, and it feels like this election is different, requiring more than gut instinct and fear that the toothless Bloc Pro-François will make me feel vaguely uncomfortable on an entirely theoretical level.
In fact, it’s not about me at all. Nor is it time for you to get ahead. Instead, it’s time for all of us to think selflessly about what’s best for our country and our world. That means thinking differently, maybe voting not strategically or out of fear but positively in favour of something, considering all options. If we keep voting as we always have, nothing’s going to change. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different tax break.
So put some thought in your vote. And if you want to vote Pro-François, go ahead. I’ll put on a brave face. Which will be covered.