Musings about the current state of Canadian politics and why voting still matters, maybe more than ever. And that baby face? It’s not what you’re thinking.
I have edited billions and billions of pages (OK, OK, maybe just tens of thousands), preserving technical accuracy, adding marketing sizzle, confirming contractual compliance, and converting unclear, tedious prose into clear, easy-to-review, and even readable text. Says me.
I have struggled to satisfy three groups with competing (and often opposing) interests: the original writers, the executives reviewing the draft, and the clients evaluating the submission. The biggest part of the struggle has been working with the folks who fight every change on the basis that their perspective is the only one. That what they care about is all that really matters.
To the degree that I am good at my job, it’s not so much because I can read and write English, but because I can develop options, and generate compromises. It wasn’t always so, but in 25 years I’ve learned a few things.
I’ve learned that there is more than one way to say anything, and that not everything is a hill to die for.
I’ve learned that there are no perfect solutions, that I can’t make all the people happy all the time, and that, sometimes, it’s not about choosing the best option, but about choosing the best of a bad set of options.
Why do I mention this now? OK, OK, why do I belabour it?
Today marks two weeks since the federal election call (Two weeks down, nine to go. Sigh.) and I find that the world as I would like it to be bears little resemblance to the options I have before me. Dagnab it.
What do I want that I don’t have? I’ll tell you.
I want a believable story about Senator Duffy.
I want an acknowledgement that the years of deficit spending were urged on the government by the opposition parties that now decry it.
I want an adult discussion of terrorism and of crime in our streets, instead of what I see as fearmongering.
I want a calm discussion of the economics of building oil refineries in Canada, before we hammer any government for exporting jobs along with unrefined crude.
I want feasible suggestions on First Nations’ issues. You remember those folks: They’re the ones who hit the news cycle every six to twelve months.
I want constitutionally viable options for Senate reform, not bullshit. Oh, sorry, was that my outside voice?
Oh yeah, and while we’re at it, I want leaders I wouldn’t mind having as neighbours.
It doesn’t look like I’m going to get any of that, anytime soon. Well, dagnab it. I definitely feel like pouting.
For anyone who feels as I do, even if your specific issues are different, I say this:
“Don’t pout: Vote. Accept that you can’t have perfect, identify your non-negotiables and your priorities, and vote. Hold your nose if you have to, but vote.”
Although I can’t validate it from scholarly research, I have a sense that it’s exactly when the options aren’t great that it’s most important to weigh in.
And for any happy souls who don’t know what I’m talking about, who see only one possible choice and are delighted with it, I say this:
“Vote if you must, but please, please, stay away from my proposal teams.”
For a rather more considered treatment of this subject (at least one without the baby faces), see John Robson on why he can’t vote Conservative, John Pepall’s response, and John Robson’s next piece on why he can’t vote Green, either.