Alright, put down your torches and pitchforks. Maybe the title is a bit of an overstatement. Hear me out…
Don’t get me wrong, democracy is great. For the people, by the people! Everyone has a say! Let’s elect officials that represent our beliefs and ideals that will help shape our world so we can have a better tomorrow! Yet, too often do I hear people say things like “My parents are conservative. I was raised conservative. I will be conservative until the day I die! Screw you, you dirty communists!”. The issue I have with people that have this thought process is that on many occasions they say they are conservative, yet their ideologies align much more with a more left wing government. They wish they had access to more reasonably priced child care. They take advantage of the safety nets offered. They complain that they are taxed too much and that the wealthy aren’t taxed enough. They talk about how awesome it would be to live in Germany where post secondary education is free. Yet they go into the polls every four years and mark the box next to the right wing option. They are actively voting for the option to keep child care privatized, to reduce safety nets, to give the wealthy tax breaks, and to keep post secondary education privatized. Can you see my problem yet?
I want to make clear that I am not here bashing conservative parties or ideologies. That was simply an example that I have seen time and time again that is relevant to my argument. The issue with democracy is that people are stupid. They don’t vote with their brains. They don’t do their research. They just blindly stumble into their little cubicle and vote for whoever their parents told them to vote for when they turned 18.
The solution to fixing our broken democratic system is easy. Do your research. Vote with your head. Don’t be bullied or intimidated into voting for one party or another just because your parents, spouse or friends do. Come up with your own ideals. Form your own opinions. Think for yourself. Do your research. Figure out which party you identify with the most. Maybe you were raised liberal, yet don’t think we are in a place that liberal ideologies aren’t in our best interest. Maybe you were raised conservative, but think the Green party best suits your needs. Maybe one of the other small parties, that can’t win the election best suits your needs. No vote is wasted, no matter what party you vote for. Democracy is great when people educate themselves and vote for the people that represent their ideologies. But as it stands now, democracy sucks because we make it suck. We don’t need to change democracy, we need to change how we approach elections. We’re lucky enough to live in a country that gives us a say in how decisions are made, so we need to take advantage of that. The government won’t represent your interests if you’re not voting for the party that you identify with, not the party you were born into.