Time for a rant.
Fellow Canadians. I have a few questions for you.
Are you worried about the 2019 election?
Are you worried about what the consequences will be from this election? Are you worried about the dishonesty, deceit, and division that can result from this campaign?
Are you scared?
If any of the answers are yes: Good.
We have to come to terms with the challenges ahead of us. We have to prepare ourselves for the ugliness that will mark the 2019 campaign. It has already been an ugly campaign, and it will get more negative. We have to steel ourselves for what it is going to take to be heard over the static.
It isn’t insurmountable. We know what we have to do. It is okay to feel fear, to feel overwhelmed. It is only natural to feel this way heading into an election with stakes this high. Do not let Canadian media understate the importance of this election. We have seen what happens in Ontario when apathy reigns. Engage those who do not vote on social media, call people that you know and ensure that they know when and where to vote, offer rides to the polling stations. Do whatever you can.
Take a deep breath. There is always a path from helplessness to hope. Sometimes that hope is harder to find.
This is where political engagement has to move from social media to the streets. When we have to put the phone, laptop, or keyboard down and reconnect with the issues and local concerns that will inform the election.
If you are scared? Contact your party’s local riding association, and see what can be done.
Are you worried? Volunteer in your riding. Make phone calls, bang signs into the ground, knock on doors.
Find out who the Liberal, Green, NDP, PPC and CPC candidates are in your riding. Find their social media, start combing through their posts looking for offensive or untrue posts, inconsistencies, etc. It is never too early or late to start opposition research.
Educate yourself on important local/national issues and where each candidate stands. Knowledge is currency. Knowing the issues inside and out make you extremely effective on Social Media and in any campaign role you occupy. Challenge their fiction with facts.
Learn the record and platform of all parties inside-out. Learn the costing, the process, the short and long term goals, and any possible relevance it has to your specific riding. Politics is a participatory activity; it is open to all of us. Campaigns matter, and the campaigns with the best ground game often win.
We all have the power to make a difference in the upcoming election, you are able to have your say long before you vote.
It is okay to be worried, scared, and overwhelmed – take that negativity and turn it into positive action.
This past Friday, the students and youth in Canada took to the streets to demand action from not only Canada’s political class but from their parents, uncles, aunts – and those who sometimes take the simple act of casting a ballot for granted. We owe it to those who come after us to make our stand.
I have been a part of winning campaigns, and losing campaigns, and have felt the joy and despair that both bring and it has always given me far more than I have given it: lifelong friends, networking, employment opportunities, and that satisfaction that being part of something greater than yourself gives. I was always proud to have been there.
For those who say that your vote doesn’t count? Casting a ballot does not have to be your only act of political engagement in the 2019 election.
I am ready. Are you?
You may think I am naive and overly idealistic. I don’t care.
I’d rather get back to cleaning the mirror instead of talking to it.