Full disclosure: I’m a volunteer for the Don Iveson for Mayor Campaign.
I love elections. They’re a time of renewal, ideas , and civic spirit. Oh sure, they bring out some weirdos and some downright mean-spiritedness, but I always find that to be the exception rather than the rule. And I try my damndest to focus on the issues more than the people and personalities — though these are certainly part of the equation, especially in municipal politics.
I can take the negativity, the posturing and even the sock-puppet accounts on Twitter. At best they’re amusing; at worst, they’re pretty easy to ignore.
But one thing I cannot abide is people telling others how they should decide to vote.
Democracy means each person gets a say. And getting a say means deciding what’s important to you, and then casting your ballot. Sure, I wish people would consider all the factors before making a decision on who to vote for. I wish some people wouldn’t make their decision based on appearance — I’ve seen a few folks online say they’ll cast their vote for the most fashionable of the most handsome.
But you know what I won’t do? Hound, pester or denigrate someone for HOW they decide to vote. Because my views are not “better” than anyone else’s, and they’re certainly not complete and comprehensive.
My perspective isn’t of a greater value than others. And I will not tell someone how they should make their decision. I’m happy to discuss, debate and try to convince others, but some people are going to say, “I don’t give a shit about transit,” or, “Sprawl isn’t a concern of mine.” And I won’t put those people down.
The stakes and issues in elections are different for everyone. I’m an urban-dwelling white dude. For me to presume that I see the world the way everyone else does is hubris.
So I’ll listen — to everyone. Even the crazy ones (and not the Steve Jobs Crazy Ones, either). And I’ll draw my own conclusions based on what I feel, know and hear.
And on October 21, I’ll mark my ballot my way. I hope you do the same.