Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Democracy Prevails, I Guess

I'm all for democracy and all, but I really have to question the mental sanity of the voting public sometimes. Last night, Toronto elected Rob Ford, who as far as I can tell is a right-wing nut job hell bent on destroying the city. His election message was clear: stop unnecessary spending. So to do that he talked about doing things like cutting the number of city councilors in half and eliminating certain city taxes.

Before I delve a bit further, let's get some things straight. I'm not a fan of paying taxes any more than the next guy is. And I am certainly not a fan of paying taxes when I don't know where my tax money is being applied. The latter is obviously a big issue in politics, and the public is certainly tired of misspent tax dollars on useless state trips (hello, Governor General...what exactly do you do?). At the same time, people have to realize that in order to have certain social services, like say, healthcare, public schools, community centers, libraries, garbage pickup, police, and fire fighters, we need to pay taxes. That's just the harsh reality of it. These services don't come free. The people working in these areas don't work for free. These are their jobs. They make actual money for a living to be able to do things like eat and live in some type of housing.

So back to Rob Ford. First of all, people voted for him because they wanted change - the "anything but what we've got right now" mentality. That's all well and good if he happens to be better than what we had with David Miller. Sure, people were pissed over the garbage strike. I was too. But my dear voting public, please, for the love of god, why don't you seek to better understand a candidate's platform rather than just voting for the exact opposite of what you have in office now? That type of move is impulsive and uninformed, and will ultimately screw you over in the end.

Take the Harper government, for example. His government was voted in because people were pissed at the Liberals for the sponsorship scandal. Hey, don't get me wrong - I wasn't too pleased about the sponsorship scandal either. But folks, look who you voted in? A tar-sands-loving, UN-hating, environment-hating, controlling, big-business-loving nutjob. You didn't punish the Liberals. You punished the country! And twice, for that matter, because you seem to think that the Harper government was doing an okay enough job to elect them to a second minority government. Honestly people. Honestly...

And while we're on that topic, let's take a look at our neighbors down south. This Tea Party movement is just baffling me. I mean, basically all of the hillbillies in the US (which apparently is most of the population) have rallied together around these guys, because they're not happy with what Obama has been doing on the economy. (The funny part is that they're pissed at the traditional Republicans too, but that's actually kind of scary because these guys make the Republicans look normal.) Newsflash here: it took the Bush White House 8 years to destroy the American Economy. Do you honestly think that Obama and his cronies are going to be able to fix it in 2 years? Seriously? Where did you learn math, anyway? Unfortunately, people are unemployed, some homeless, and barely able to get by. When that happens, they'll grab onto the first thing that gives them hope, even if it's the wrong thing.

My point is, people these days seem to be voting on anger, hatred, desperation, and plain impulse. They are not stopping to think about what the candidates are really about. They hear a few key words that are music to their ears and they're hooked, without actually being properly informed. And then they vote for people hell bent on screwing over the general public. And the people who didn't vote are just as bad too. You had a chance to voice your opinion, but you chose not to, and therefore you put the fate of your city in a small percentage of the population. Shame on you.

But alas, democracy has prevailed in the end, hasn't it? After all, people did vote for Ford out of their own free will. I am worried about the next four years. I am worried for our public transit. I am worried for our city services. I don't trust this guy at all. At the same time, what can I do when the people have spoken?

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