Disillusioned citizens avoid ballot boxes in droves

Dear editor,

A tip of the proverbial hat to Norm Reynolds — “Left left field to the right wingers” (Record, Nov. 25).

Dear editor,

A tip of the proverbial hat to Norm Reyolds — “Left left field to the right wingers” (Record, Nov. 25).

His perspicacious reflections rarely fail to hit the mark. The referred-to contribution contrasted money, business, developments, self-interest with family concerns, employment, neighbours, often altruism — if not in so many words. Just, Right versus Left.

Of course, a middle road is taken by many.

Sad thing about epistles like Mr. Reynolds is that they are a waste of time. As will my remarks prove to be. Yet, to do or say nothing is to capitulate. Silence “only augmenteth grief,” as Lord Brooke had it.

The problem is far more fundamental than electoral trickery and deceit — as in the HST untruthfulness, as in the Common Sense Fifth Column, as in allowable size of signs (often, it seems, in inverse proportion to the intellect behind them).

The problem is that democracy, granted more often in principle than in practice, as currently implemented is largely a farcical conjuring act based on illusion.

The one-man, one-vote egality envisions votes existing in a vacuum. But votes are merely an end result. Not all are able to see through empty promises, false prophets, and capacity to resist bribery (buying votes using the voters’ own money).

People vote out of fear, or ignorance, or greed, or even caprice. ‘Civic duty’ exhibits such a surround of emptiness that it reeks of fatuousity.

Another letter in the same issue uses words like “class” and “honourable” in connection with Don McRae, MLA for the Comox Valley. Wasn’t he one of the authors of the HST deception? Next, he will likely become high commissioner somewhere where they hopefully don’t know.

The same letter-writer labels the low voter turnout, “Shameful.” Wrong. Not apathy compels voters to stay home, but a sense of righteous indignation at how the system works. Or rather, does not work.

Clearly, if 70 per cent or so abstain from voting, then that is the vote that really matters. Those see who have eyes to see.

The Record itself published a spurious letter from a former city councillor naming those he did not want to see elected. A practice that I cannot recall ever having seen before in a reputable newspaper.

Thus, it  clearly voiced an editorial policy best not to proclaim officially. Which appeared the only reason for publishing such low-road, uncalled-for denouncements. Yet, it should not surprise. Newspapers live largely off advertisements, and almost all fair-sized ones are paid for by business. Editors, too, like to stay employed.

Finn Schultz-Lorentzen,

Courtenay

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