ELECTION RANT: Castlegar residents need to wise up
I don’t think it will come as any kind of wicked surprise to anyone that I’m a supporter of democracy – I’ve always pushed people to rock their vote, participate and be involved. I usually totally enjoy elections.
This one? Not so much.
I can’t wait until it’s over – which will be in roughly six generations, if the ugliness I’ve seen at work in our community of late is any indication.
I said LAST general election that it was the ugliest election cycle I had ever seen. This one eclipses its predecessor by a factor of thousands.
I’ve heard the criticisms that I’m not negative enough in my coverage – usually from the people who have benefitted most by my failure to engage in smear journalism – and I think it’s ironic, given how hard-hitting I am when I disagree with what I see happening. Back in Grand Forks, I actually had a lady spit on me in response to my negative coverage.
I’ve grown up and learned a lot since then.
I now can look at the school trustees all-candidates forum and be outstandingly grateful that all five candidates showed each other (and by extension, themselves and the electorate) respect. There were controversial issues discussed, to be sure – but with regard, care for, and respect of, everyone at the table.
This has NOT been the case in the larger election, in my opinion. I’ve been watching the vague slurs, ugly innuendos, and outright lies and insults on Facebook – even name-calling and bullying – and asking myself: how stupid can our community be? The election will end, the strike will be resolved … and every friend, neighbour and coworker will remember who called them venal, ignorant, uninformed or unethical in a public forum, for the rest of their lives.
These are people you WILL see in the grocery store or at hockey games, long after you’ve forgotten who even ran in this election.
So let’s all stop being collectively stupid, shall we?
I’ll start the ball rolling: To the union members: I’m not sure how I feel about your tactics (that’s honest, I can’t decide if what you’re doing is smart or dangerous, and I don’t feel I have the expertise to make that call), but there is no member of this union for whom I bear any ill-will, and I promise that if I ever have anything bad to say about union ideas, I’ll do it without despising you as a person, calling you names, or in any way intentionally belittling you as a person, particularly not in a public forum. To council: you guys get to hear very publicly when I think you have your heads up your collective tushies, but I promise to never offer vague slurs or innuendos implying a lack of integrity on your part. If I disagree with you, I will say so, and I will offer fact and record to back up anything I say. I’ll never make it personal. To the newcomer candidates: I’ll ask hard questions, and call you out if I think you’re being innaccurate … but I’ll never call you bad people, not ever. In fact, I’ll openly respect the courage you showed in putting your name forward and standing up.
To residents: I think your largest responsibility in this election is to watch, not what people say, but what they are doing and how they are interacting with those around them. It sends a very clear message about how they’ll behave on council, as your representative, and how effective they’ll be at any table that includes them; here, at the Legislature or via Parliament. As your representative.
Our strength comes from our sense of collective community. Really, really consider how much support you want to offer those who are trying to tear said community apart, as candidates or as incumbents.
Elections come and go. Community doesn’t.
So let’s all stop being morons and start remembering who lives beside us. Disagree, for sure – but do it with a tiny modicum of respect and decency.