Wow... didn't think I'd ever be using THAT particular series of words in the title of a blog post... but, there you have it. Clear as day.
Yup. Still there.
Nation, there is a clear and present danger to our democracy out there. It lurks in the shadows, hides behind the steering wheels of mini-vans, walks the dog...
The scourge of the Uninformed Voter.
Now, I want to be perfectly clear on this point: EVERYONE who is eligible has the absolute right to vote, and that should never change. Your vote, informed or uninformed, is just as valid as mine.
Therein lies the problem, though.
Because I've spent hours researching these candidates, and their opinions. Chances are, as someone reading this, you've spent a lot of time doing the same. The very act of reading a blog or one of those ancient proto-blogs that they print on paper (whatever happened to those things?) is a sign of your engagement. But, thousands of people who have done no research, attended no forums, or asked no questions even of themselves about the future of their city will be walking into the polling place on Monday, and they will be casting a ballot. A ballot based on name recognition. Or on which candidate appears at the top. Or who has the most vowels in their name. Or because their neighbour has a sign on their lawn.
That ballot cancels my ballot out. It renders my vote moot. And the next person who comes into that polling place, and votes from a place of ignorance, cancels out YOUR well-researched ballot. Casting an uninformed ballot is, in many ways, more damaging than casting no ballot at all.
It is my fervent hope that the majority of voters are people who have taken advantage of the plethora of media opportunities, be they traditional, print, or social, to make an informed decision. But if you know of someone who HASN'T done so, I want you to try to point them in this direction. Give them the URL to CalgaryDemocracy.ca, or CalgaryPolitics.com. Talk to them, in as unbiased a way as possible, about what you've observed from the candidates in your area.
And if they won't engage, I want you to look them in the eye, and tell them to stay home on Election Day. Stay home, because their ignorant vote is cancelling out the informed vote of someone who went out of their way to get informed.
Because they have the right to vote.
But with that right comes a responsibility to engage in the electoral process, and get informed.
And if they're not going to engage, they should stay home on Election Day.
Because just because you have a RIGHT to do something, doesn't mean that you SHOULD do it. ESPECIALLY if you've ignored your associated responsibilities.
And this is one of those times.
Get informed, or stay home.
Don't steal my vote from me.