Odd Thoughts: Vote for dysfunction

With no elections in the offing, federal and provincial politicians are naturally talking about fixing how we vote.

That is, they’re not talking about vote-fixing, but about changing how we choose our representatives to Parliament and the B.C. Legislature.

It’s the politicians’ way of subtly blaming us for the dysfunctional democracy that has evolved out of the power struggles that have engulfed all of the political parties.

Trudeau the Younger promised to look into proportional representation to replace our first-past-the-post riding-by-riding election format.

Perhaps rolling the dice down the table instead of across it will magically keep elected candidates from turning into party fence posts seconds after the polls close, voting at the whim of their leader instead of representing the people who elected them to… well… to represent them.

It doesn’t matter how we elect our candidates. Current parliamentary protocols force members to represent government to the people, instead of the other way around – the way it was when the world was younger than it is today.

And speaking of younger… BC Green leader Andrew Weaver has his own version of “It’s their fault, not ours.”

He wants to lower the voting age to 16, to exploit the political intuition of a demographic that traditionally all wear the same clothes and hairstyles to assert their individuality, and express their disdain for their parents’ generation by listening to music that their grandparents’ generation discarded.

Listen, I think it’s sweet and romantic to think that giving children an opportunity to vote for candidates who won’t represent them any more than they do the rest of us will bring about prosperity and world peace.

But you know what? That’s what some men thought when they let women vote.

Instead, there was a recession, followed by another war – because, when push comes to shove, women will push and shove just as hard as any man.

Women should have got the vote, not because some dudes thought it would change things, but only because they are intelligent human beings with powers of thought equal to men’s.

The same cannot be said of teenagers.

It has been scientifically demonstrated that teenagers are handicapped by a battle between the white and grey matter in their brains. They literally have difficulty with comprehending complex long-term consequences over a short term.

We already have enough adults with that problem.

When the minimum voting age in Canada was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1970, a prominent reason was tied to military enlistment: “If they’re old enough to be sent to war, they should be old enough to vote.”

Significantly, I don’t recall anyone suggesting we shouldn’t be sending them to war.

If you want to enfranchise children, let’s treat kids the usual way: let them vote – by proxy through their parents.


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