Editorial: Here’s mud slung in your eye

Trent Ernst, Editor


I hate to admit it, but I think it’s finally happened.

With the election coming up, my facebook feed has been filled with political cartoons, photos, stories and opinions.

And rather than promoting the strengths of the party the person agrees with, they are, nearly to a one, attack ads on the other candidates. The other parties.

You’ve probably seen similar. There’s the one with a photo of Tom Mulcair, saying that he  called a fellow political a name and ordered to pay $95,000. “He refused to pay,” says the photo, because the ‘law’ doesn’t apply to him…”

Or the one with a photo of Harper, saying “Identifying signs of Fascism”, with a checklist of all the things the conservatives have done that define fascism.

Or the photo of Trudeau, atop a photo of George W. Bush, with the caption: Justin Trudeau: Because electing the son of a former leader always turns out well.

This is just the tip of the ever-growing iceberg. Every day I see dozens of these in my Facebook feed, as what were once reasonable, sensible Canadians descend into American-esque other-bashing.

While these are meant to appear to be things that regular people have put together, I don’t doubt that all these campaigns have a war room where all they do is put together social media-friendly jpgs and posts to bash the other parties.

And instead of being left with a sense of the strength of one party, I am left with the general attitude that all three main parties are weak and ineffectual.

And, heaven help me, I don’t want to vote for any of them.

I am becoming one of the politically … well, not apathetic, because I do care, but politically ambivalent.

I don’t know that I’m falling into the undecided category so much as the decided that if this is the way that these parties, that the supporters of these parties are going to behave, I don’t want any of them in power.

And yet, because we live in a first past the post society, voting for any other party seems … pointless. Just as good to spoil my ballot than to vote for anyone other than the big three. Heck, in this riding, there’s not much choice past the Conservatives.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that if a political leader does something stupid, (s)he should be called out on it. And parties should be held to account for their platform.

But if all we do this election is focus on the negatives, focus on why this party or that party shouldn’t be in power, then all we are left with is reasons for not supporting any party or any leader.

Rather than pick the most beautiful flower of the bunch, we are forced to plug our noses and vote for the one that seems the least bad, according to our own definitions of what “bad” is.

Maybe it’s more pie-in-the-sky thinking that I’m famous for, but I’d rather the election be a little more beauty pageant, and a little less mud-wrestling.

True, the mud wrestling is fun to watch for a time, but after a while, all you’re left with is a kiddy pool filled with dirt and water. Both are demeaning, but at least in the beauty pageant, you get a picture of what these people look like at their best, not their worst.

Am I going to vote this election? Yes. It’s my civic duty. More than that it is a right, a responsibility and a hard won liberty. But I don’t know that I’ll vote for the any of the big three:  Liberals, Conservatives or the NDP, because they’ve done nothing to deserve my vote this campaign.

Which leaves three other choices in this riding: the Green Party, the Progressive Canadians, and the Libertarians. Guess it’s time to go start reading some party platforms.

And maybe before you share that biting satire about how terrible Harper/Mulcair/Trudeau is, ask is it worth it? Will this convince anyone of the rightness of my cause? Or will it just alienate someone and turn them off ?