I have to admit I always feel good when I vote on election day. As I lined up at Ellison Elementary last Saturday and saw so many familiar faces, and everybody in a good mood on a sunny day, one felt part of a much larger thing, part of a community, part of a democracy that has evolved over the decades thanks to the sacrifices of the past…..
Cue the O Canada music here.
Now I don’t want to get too sappy, or worse, self-righteous, but it was just nice to see so many people taking the time to happily do their civic duty and make their mark for the future of the city they love.
Oh, oh, too sappy.
But it’s hard not to get too carried away.
I congratulated one of my son’s buddies who came in a wheelchair to make his mark for the very first time in his life, with the help of his family, and explained that my youngest son had hoped to vote but his December birthday didn’t allow that to happen, so he has to wait four more years, at least for the municipal election.
But my other son voted, even though he worked that day, although he could have done a little more research about the councillors, but, hey, he’s a relative rookie and he’ll learn there are sources for stuff like that, you know, like the newspaper.
And, plus, he voted.
Yup, he and 9,643 other residents of Vernon, out of 32,045, took the time to participate in democracy, took the time to affirm the commitment those who were brave enough to step forward as candidates, took the time…..well you get the idea.
That’s a 30 per cent turnout by the way.
Enderby had the best turnout in the North Okanagan with 39 per cent, with the rest hovering just above or just below the 30 per cent mark.
I know the civic elections are likely the least sexy of the three levels of government and don’t get a lot of attention from major media but I always argue they’re the most important and the most accountable as it’s local, local, local…..the people you live with on a daily basis, your community, your friends and neighbours, your kids.
Now there are many reasons people give to not vote, and I’m sure some are legitimate, but I’m thinking most are just excuses and all I’m going to say is too many of our residents missed out on a great, feel-good exercise that truly makes a difference in the community and honours a tradition that never should be taken for granted.
…..again I want to thank all the candidates, win or lose, who put themselves out there so the community could have a choice. I know it’s not easy to step into the spotlight and be judged by your fellow residents on what you have to offer as a potential councillor, or mayor, or regional district director.
So thank you. And if you won, congratulations, now the hard work and real scrutiny begins, so good luck and all the best.
And if you didn’t win. Don’t take it personally and please, please try again as the list of famous and even legendary politicians who didn’t get elected on their first try, and sometimes numerous tries, is long and varied.
Thanks to Google, I know Winston Churchill lost five times at the polls, although all weren’t at the beginning.
Nevertheless, the point is it takes guts to run and it takes effort to vote and I applaud all who were engaged in the political process and I strongly encourage all to get onboard in the future.
And, like I said, it feels good.