I voted today.
In an advance poll for the first time ever.
On a holiday Monday when I had a myriad of other tasks to complete.
At a polling station where I felt like an outsider in my own community.
And I stood in line for close to forty-five minutes.
In the heat of a community centre that has already turned off its air conditioning and it's 22C outside.
My ID was checked and double-checked. (I don't ever recall that kind of scrutiny in the past.)
All to vote for a candidate who has absolutely no hope of winning my riding.
Because for me voting is far more than just a right, it is a privilege. A privilege that is denied to far too many women and far too many citizens of far too many countries in 2015.
Because my voice matters. The vote itself might seem lost in a ballot wave for another party's candidate, but my voice and my opinion will not be silenced. Many may loathe my opinion, but this is Canada and in spite of the many ways devised to keep me quiet and sedate, I will express my views through my legally exercised franchise.
Because I need to be a role model for a generation behind me that, while starting to get more involved in politics, still feels isolated, ignored by, pandered to, and tremendous apathy towards today's leaders, so much so that their voting numbers in past elections have been positively anemic. The youth vote could absolutely sway this election if their numbers double. Today's young people must be encouraged to get off of the sidelines and engage themselves through voting. This is their country and their voices matter.
Because I live in Canada and I voted for the best needs for this country, not another. I care deeply about my ethnicity and I live by my religious values, but I refuse to be marginalized in my own community nor will I allow another group to be victimized in an ugly and sustained campaign of "us against the other." As a Jew, I know full well what it is to be treated as "the other". My Canada has no room for this kind of repugnant behaviour toward its own citizens and my vote clearly and loudly expresses that opinion.
Because in spite of my tremendous concerns about every single party leader, I believe that holding my nose and voting for the least objectionable candidate is better than an abstention or a destroyed ballot that makes absolutely no impact, even as a personal stand. When this election is over, I will be able to face myself in the mirror and know that I did the best that I could have done.
Because this election and its disgusting campaign have been interminable and I truly just want it to end. I want an end to the ads, an end to the pundits, an end to the polls, an end to the opinion pieces, an end to the polarization, and an end to the hijacking of my social media feeds....an end. By voting today, I ended it for me.
If you voted in these advance polls, I commend you. If you haven't yet voted, I urge you to spend a few minutes on October 19th to do so, no matter where you live in this country. Your vote and your voice matter and need to be counted.
I will now focus all of my attention on the baseball playoffs.