commodorified: the words Anglican Socialist Weirdo on a Green and Yellow abstract background (Anglican Socialist Weirdo)
Because we're headed into a federal election, and I'm already cranky about lefties and their infinite capacity for coming up with reasons why marking a ballot for the NDP is incompatible with their personal philosophy.

Also, I voted last week, because I'm going to be travelling in October.

1) Because whatever your other political activities and options are, there is absolutely nothing about voting which is going to interfere with them. Really. You can vote on the 19th, write letters on the 20th, march in the streets on the 21st, and organise a program to assist children living in poverty on the 22nd. Maybe take the 23rd off, in that case.

If you feel like casting a secret ballot for a party you think will do a somewhat better job than the Conservatives at looking after the vulnerable and assisting the struggling, so that more Canadians can lead decent lives of reasonable comfort and basic dignity, is going to eternally stain your soul, I invite you to consider that it is perhaps not the business of a person to save the shining purity of their own soul at the expense of others' lives. You can go after dark, if you're really concerned.

2) Because First-Past-The-Post and Parliamentary Democracy may be broken, but they are presently the systems on which we have conferred legitimacy. You don't have to like it, but this is the deal. As a private citizen, this is one of the most important ways you can affect how Canada is run, and it is not an endorsement of how either presently work. Really. Operating realistically and sensibly under the current deal does not constitute giving up your right to fight for a better one, and in fact will probably improve your odds:

3) Because voting actually does make a difference. Why do you think the Conservatives have enacted legislation to make it harder while kneecapping Elections Canada? If voting were pointless, the Conservatives would be tryng to get their opponents to do more of it, not less.

4) Because low turnout favours the right. "It has been well established that a low voter turnout will benefit the Conservatives. Duncan Cameron writes, "The 25/60 rule says when only 60 per cent of Canadian citizens go out to vote, 25 per cent of the voters can deliver a majority government." Elections Canada says there were 24.2 million eligible voters in the last federal election. The Harper Conservatives received their majority with just 5.8 million of those votes. But more than 8.8 million Canadians voted for other parties and 9.4 million Canadians did not vote. 5.8 million Conservative votes from 24.2 million eligible voters is 23.9 per cent. Cameron says, "The disengagement from the electoral process is the key to the success of the Conservatives in Canada and of right-wing politics elsewhere."

And the right knows it. They get their vote out religiously. Whatever you think you're doing, if you don't vote you're improving the Conservatives' position, and I do not think you want to do that.

5) Because voting for a candidate does not constitute a ringing endorsement of their party's entire platform, nor an agreement to support them or refrain from putting pressure on them. Come October 20, we are going to have a government. They are going to need their asses kicked. The question is not, is there a leader whose ass won't need any kicking. The question is, which party do you think you have the best chance of persuading of the rightness of your cause?

6) Because political parties respond to their base. If you make it painfully clear that nothing on earth will compel you to vote, nobody is going to chase your vote. If you consistently vote for the candidate who comes closest to reflecting your views, you send a message. If you actually talk to that candidate, or their representative, about said views, you send a larger one.

I am sorry to tell you this, but if you feel like the NDP is chasing the middle too much? They are doing so because the middle is avaiable to be caught. Making it clear that the left is even more available to be caught - because currently underrepresented - is your best possible move. Hell, you don't even have to vote NDP, though if you're in a heavily-contested riding I strongly urge you to. Vote Green. Vote Communist. Vote Liberal, if it's obviously a Liberal-Conservative race in your riding. But make it clear that your vote is out there, available to be gained.

Just vote. It's important. Just get on the bus, or on your bike, or power up your chair, or get in your car, and vote.

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