Editorial: Election fever

Trent Ernst, Editor

 

Two more weeks until elections happen. Are you excited?

Anyone? Hello? Is this thing on?

Okay, fine, so most of you view voting as an obligation, a requirement, like a trip to the dentist or cleaning up after your dog: an unsavoury requirement.

And I suspect that there’s a lot of people out there who won’t vote, just like there’s a lot of you who don’t clean up after your dogs.

Why not? Because you don’t feel like it will accomplish anything. Oh, I’m referring to voting now. Picking up your dog poo? That accomplishes things. It makes your neighbourhood cleaner and healthier for your dogs, as a variety of diseases are transmitted from dog to dog via feces. We did a story about it last year.

You feel like voting won’t accomplish anything. And you know what? You’re right.

Wait, what? Yes, you heard me, your vote doesn’t accomplish anything.

Unless.

Unless it is backed up by a willingness to participate more fully. To care about what’s happening.

I know a lot of people, especially younger folk, who feel like their voice doesn’t matter. They don’t have any way into the established political system, and so they abandon it, not because they don’t care (though that might be what they say), but because they feel powerless.

Federally and provincially, that is more an issue, but municipally? There were 2,710 people in Tumbler Ridge in the last election, and that number is dropping fast.

Of those people, about 500 are under the voting age.

So, we’re left with 2200 people of voting age.

2200 people. Put that many people into BC Place and you wouldn’t even fill a section.

Even at the much smaller Rexall Place, 2200 people would be a disappointing turnout, barely filling it to one tenth of its capacity. Heck, the Metropolitan Opera house would only be half full. Think about that. More people can go see an opera in one venue in one day than live in Tumbler Ridge. Seriously. Opera.

That’s not a lot of people here.

Which means your potency? Goes up. Your ability to affect change and influence the course of this town? Is radically different.

Council recently changed the name of Founder’s Street to Iles Way in honour of one man who changed the course of this town. Whose actions made this place different.

He’s not the only one. There are so many people who, simply by standing up and being counted, by pursuing their passions, have made Tumbler Ridge a different place.

So once again, I’m going to encourage you to not just vote, but participate. That’s what democracy is. Write letters. Talk to people. Ask questions. Read the paper. Question what you hear. Volunteer. Take part. Care. Get out there and do something, not for yourself, but for the community as a whole.

Because the more you do, the less it feels like you are powerless. The less it feels like your vote, your voice doesn’t matter.

Because you know what? If you just sit around and complain and whine and offer opinions up to anyone who will read them on Facebook, but don’t participate in the community, then there’s a good chance your voice won’t matter. It won’t be heard, because you have nothing invested. But if you take part and participate, then people will notice you, and listen to you, because you’re the one who is so passionate and concerned about this town. You’re the one who is pitching in and taking part and working to build the community.