20 April 2012

Dani wades into politics...does she drown or float?

Hello my faithful readers of 5. It's blog time. (a.k.a. I'm sick and bored out of my tree, and possibly picking for a fight...one that I will have no energy to actually fight back, thus rendering this post useless. But I digress.)

This has been an interesting election to say the least. The Alberta PC Party has been the monarchy government in power since well before I was born. I honestly thought I would die before they were ever remotely close to loosing power. The Alberta Liberal Party has been the official ghost opposition for just as long, with the Alberta New Democrat Party hanging on for dear life.

Then some weird things started to happen.
  • Cowboys and rig pigs started getting pissed off at their PC party for moving to the center, so every single slight from royalty taxes to land rights started to become a bone of contention. In response, they voted Allison Redford, who kinda looks like she belongs to the Liberal Party (through a screwy system in which the 3rd place candidate became the leader.)
  • Middle class white collar liberals started fracturing because of lack of leadership, vision, and fatigue at constantly sailing on the Titanic. So some left and formed The Alberta Party, which is what you get when you merge a Liberal and a Conservative...I think? So how did the Liberals respond? They elected to their leadership someone who used to be a PC Conservative party member, who quite frankly is a odd-ball who has great one liners, but shaky policy promises.
  • The NDP carried on as always, appealing to the hippies, students, and eco-warriors, continuing to be led by a blue-collar worker (who doesn't have the support of actual blue-collar workers) who has led the party down in seats after every election.
  • Remember those pissed-off cowboys and rig pigs? Well they got attracted to a shiny new party, the Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta. They elect someone who is a self-professed Libertarian to lead the socially conservative group, one that make's the PC's look like New Democrats. In the process, they nominated a pastor who hates gays, a man who thinks he's pretty fly for a white guy, and a member who likes to rub elbows with the KKK.
So are we clear? We have a liberal leading the conservatives, a conservative leading the liberals, a blue-collar worker leading the hippies, and a libertarian leading the conservative party, and a new liberal party led by another conservative.

You have a party that has ruled, unchallenged, for so long that they have ignored and pissed-off their base, and sometimes reek of corruption. You have a shiny new party with good fiscal policies, but scary-as-shit candidates running on scary-as-shit social issues. You have a party that has been destroyed by a scary-as-shit conservative pretending to be a liberal. You have a party that has no hope in hell of winning in this province because of good social policy but crazy-bad fiscal policy. And you have another shiny new party made up of mostly former liberals pretending to be Red Tory's. 

What this election has come down to is change.What kind of change do we want?

I will say a few personal thoughts:

  • Change for the sake of change isn't a great reason to change. I don't think the PC government had operated as badly as some claim, but I don't think they've governed as well as they should have. If they do get elected back into power, let's hope they remember how close they came to losing it all, and get back to being a government, not a monarchy. *Note: I like monarchy's, but only the royal kind...not the political kind*
  • On that same note, as scary as some of the candidates are, I don't think the WRA is as bad as some make them out to be. They do have some good policies. Every time Danielle Smith speaks, I am scared less and less, and more sure that nut-jobs will be tempered. For that matter, as scary as some of the new parties candidates are, we are also the same province that let a government sit in power for 41 years with members who thought the same thing (Ted Morton, Doug Elniski, Tony Abbott etc...). So why the outrage now? If Alberta was ok with nutters for 41 years without speaking out, I suspect they will be ok with nutters for 41 more years....
  • Don't discount the other parties. They have good policies, and who ever wins the election amongst the two leading conservatives party, it would behoove that leader to sit down with these other parties and cherry-pick the best they have to offer. It makes sense.

Despite the craziness, I think everyone should vote. But instead of voting strategically, vote for who you truly believe in, and let the election be a true reflection of Alberta's views. It may surprise people in ways they didn't suspect and lead to a better balance of power amongst all parties.

Also, one final note: I know we are tempted in social media to use it like a bully field, tweeting punches left and right. I know we can get upset about issues, people, viewpoints. But remember that we are all human. No one person is one-dimensional. Allan Hunsperger is also a caring family man, father, husband, grandfather who does mission work in third world countries, and served his community in good faith for many years, and maybe in the fullness of time will come to see the error of his thinking by meeting people of the LGBQT community.

People vote for parties for many different reasons. A vote for the PC's does not necessarily mean a vote for pay nothing committees. A vote for the WRA does not necessarily mean a vote for bigotry. A vote for the NDP does not necessarily mean a vote for stricter environment regulations.

We all have our views. We all have our issues that are important to us. And we vote accordingly. If the vote doesn't turn out your way, people aren't stupid. They are informed on the issues important to them, which don't necessarily mean the issues important to you.