Raising expectations

What might most easily be done to improve the democratic process begins with the individual voter.

Municipal election season is upon us again. It’s more important than ever for people to pay attention. This year those fortunate enough to be elected will serve for four years. That’s a long time to go without the accountability part of the democratic process coming into play.

In the 2011 election Greenwood had a very respectable 70 per cent of eligible voters turn out to cast their ballots. The mayor’s race—for the second election running—came within a couple of votes of going either way.

That shows how valuable your single vote might be.

In Midway just over 50 per cent of eligible votes went into the ballot box. That’s fewer than either the last provincial or federal election. So improvement is possible there.

What can be done by the candidates to improve things?

Hopefully they will focus on the issues that are important rather than on trying to tear down their opponents. But the blame for negative advertising doesn’t rest solely with the candidates. Negative campaigning works—that’s why it is used so often.

Maybe there is some room for improvement on the part of the voter too. If the best reason a candidate can come up with for you to vote for them is that they aren’t their opponent, then maybe it’s time to reconsider putting your mark next to their name.

Something we voters can do to improve things is to start expecting better of our politicians.

Politician get stereotyped as dishonest liars.

People—all people, including politicians—rise to the level of expectation put upon them. So let’s cut the stereotype baloney and start expecting them to put their best effort forward.

 

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