Don’t Want to Vote, Then Don’t

Is it a privilege or an obligation to vote?
It’s an interesting debate and one that has the knickers of some Facebook users in a knot.
When former television broadcaster Ken Evraire took to Facebook recently to say he wasn’t going to vote this upcoming provincial election, the floodgates opened up an intense debate.
“It’s gotten to the point that I won’t vote for anyone, be it Liberal, PC or NDP. I simply do not trust any of the candidates. I know I will have people tell me that I then become part of the problem. Fact is, I don’t think any of them represent a solution,” Evraire wrote recently.
“WELL THEN, AS A CANADIAN CITIZEN WHOSE GRANDFATHERS WENT TO WAR, PROTECTING OUR WAY OF LIFE, YOU SIR ARE A TYPICAL WHINER, WHO COMPLAINS ABOUT EVERYTHING VIA SOCIAL MEDIA, BUT COPS OUT WHEN YOU HAVE A VALID OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE WHAT YOU WHINE ABOUT, SO IN FUTURE kwitcherbitchin!!!,” posted Jim Lalonde, clearly not happy!
One of the next posted entries from Juan Carlos Noria, who did give me a chuckle,  ‘Why caps Jim? You like to scream?”
“HELL YEAH, SIT ON YOUR LAZY ARSES, CLAIM WELFARE, SIT BACK N SAY GOTTA LOVE TRUDOPE, HE FEEDS US, CLOTHES US, YOU ASS, IT IS MY TAX DOLLARS THAT SUPPORT BYOR LAZY ARSES,” Lalonde continued.
Not sure Facebook brings out the best in Lalonde!
Clearly Evraire wasn’t phased by Lalonde’s caps!
“Your solution is to vote for someone for the sake of voting to say I participated. Bring me viable candidates. Bring me less spin. Bring me a leader who hasn’t lost touch with anything she originally believed in. (Wynne),” Evraire responded.
Lalonde wasn’t the only one letting have Evraire have it.
“Disappointed you’d say this! I’m sure you understand that a HUGE part of the problem is voter apathy. Why would you want to contribute to that???” asked Sally Thomas.
“Not voting is not the answer.We only have one time to make a change.That is on election day.More people need to show up and vote,” Rich Bowie wrote.
Bob Richer:  “Are you kidding me??? Many people in other countries die just attempting to vote! Don’t disrespect this right and privilege that we have in this country. Don’t let voter apathy take over!!!
Frankly, I just can’t believe – and have seen no reason to waiver from my opinion – that the men and women who fought for our freedom – did so to force us to vote. They fought for freedom, not obligatory, sometimes ignorant voting. It’s our right to vote, to feel forced is just wrong.
Why should someone who hasn’t educated themselves on the issues or the candidates; who doesn’t see anyone on the political front they believe in enough to have to vote?
“iF HE DOES NOT VOTE, WHO CARES, BUT HE FORFEITS HIS RIGHT TO BITCH N WHINE IN FUTURE,” the angry Lalonde wrote.
Those this is Lalonde not caring? Hate to read his rage when he does!
And I couldn’t disagree more.
We all have the right to protest decisions, actions, taxes and all of their ramifications. Not voting doesn’t take away our right to be a citizen of this city, this province or our country. And voting when you don’t know the issues or don’t like choices is just ridiculous.
I’m not alone.
‘”I would say your grandfathers went to war to fight for our freedoms. Be it free to vote for any candidate or free not to vote at all,” Tim Dunn wrote.
And this from Warren Andrew: “Our democratic duty is to be aware and participate in our democracy. Taking a step not to vote is much different then not caring. I applaud his decision if he doesnt feel any of the platforms or candidates appeal to the values and principles of he and his loved ones.”
Perhaps the best Facebook posting came from Jeff Morris, who didn’t let himself get drawn into a somewhat ugly debate
“I’m voting for ReMax. If you drive around Barrhaven they have the most signs.”

Yes, the haters are going to hate

 

If you’ve been reading Twitter lately, you’ll see I messed up. Big time.
And as such, I’m being vilified on Twitter as a bully, as someone who doesn’t care about first responders and a big part of the reason people don’t feel comfortable opening up about their mental health.
In a tweet, I suggested Innes Coun. Jody Mitic might consider not taking a city paycheque given that he hasn’t been feeling up to the job.

Unfortunately, it’s not the first time in recent weeks I’ve let Twitter get the better of me.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote what I thought was a light-hearted tweet and ended up hurting someone I care a lot about. That’s all on me, though this time the repercussions are far more serious.

I can’t keep up with the tweets telling me what an insensitive idiot I am, so will try to address some of the issues here.

Here’s the thing. Mitic bravely came forward with his mental health issues and acknowledged he wasn’t going to seek re-election because he needed to take care of himself. And that is what I hope for him. So in my awkwardly worded tweet, I wasn’t trying to suggest in any way that people struggling with depression should lose their livelihood. That’s ridiculous.

But as anyone who has an illness, visible or silent, there are avenues to continue to get paid while acknowledging your health is your priority. It seemed to me Mitic shouldn’t be worried about his job as a city councillor because he clearly has acknowledged he needs time for himself and his family. His health is the priority here. And he could take care of himself and ensure there’s someone available to take care of Innes ward voters.
I wrote a tweet in haste – that didn’t at all convey how I feel. Now I know the haters will say I’m back-pedalling. I can live with that and don’t much care.
Actually, I don’t care at all.
(Think I feel a Taylor Swift song coming on.)

What I do care about are the accusations that I don’t care about first responders. That’s a lie. My late brother Bill Sherring was the proudest firefighter I have ever known. He saw things he couldn’t block from his mind or his heart. He had people die in his arms and couldn’t deal with the images, the guilt or the heartache.
And through him and my work as a reporter, I’ve met countless firefighters, police officers and paramedics who put their lives in danger on an almost daily basis and sometimes struggle with what’s out there. They do a job I could never perform and they have my undying respect and thanks.

Some people choose to go public with their mental health issues, like Mitic did. That’s not a route I’ve chosen. But again I won’t sit quietly by with people saying I don’t know what I’m talking about. I do.

Of course, the irony of my situation isn’t lost on me. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column directed at Mitic advising him that social media isn’t for the faint of heart.
When I write a tweet that many find offensive, I’m fair game. And Mitic and lots of his supporters let me have it. That’s how social media works. If you don’t like it, stay off of it.

But as I gave Mitic the opportunity to have his say about the negative comments written about him following his Facebook posting, I get mine.