One of the things I impressed upon my children growing up was the importance of voting. To this day, I still harp at them to make sure they get out and vote with each election. I do so because it is a right that could so easily be taken away should a corrupt government gain power. It is the one social exercise where the people decide the outcome with their voice and choice. And it is every eligible citizen’s responsibility to participate to ensure that voice remains strong.
Declining voter turn out numbers in north America hint at the fact that not everybody feels as passionate as I do. Is it because they don’t feel their vote can make a difference? Are they just too busy to get informed? Or is the population as a whole becoming complacent; caring more about their own personal little worlds while choosing to ignore the world around them.
It was only a few years ago that Saudi Arabia finally allowed woman to cast votes in their countries elections. That makes only Vatican City as the last place on earth where a woman can not vote. But there are many countries that may allow woman to vote but because of strict religious laws, find it very difficult to do so. So it is still not a universal right in this world.
Even in western countries the right to vote for all, regardless of gender, race or economic standing has only been enshrined into constitutions within the last 50 years. We think it is such a basic liberty and yet it is a relatively recent concept all over the world and the best way to protect it, is to exercise your right.
So why am I writing about this? Why has the need for you to get out and vote never been more important? Because the times they are a changing. The past decades have favored the individual, the “what’s in it for me generation” and we need to shift towards a more collective, caring world outlook. We need to start thinking in terms of “we”.
The perspective of the modern masses has been to look out for number one, to be focused and driven to achieve as much as possible. From the individual to the largest of corporations, the goal has been to be the best, profit the most and crush the competition. We have been living in a consumer based world. Consume the market, consume the resources, consume the competition (even if the competition is another country) and rise to the top.
But the resources and the markets are not endless. At some point this lifestyle will hit critical mass and the empires that have been built over the previous decades and centuries will begin to crack and crumble. We are already seeing some countries economic structures begin to fail. Our endless desire for natural resources is effecting the environment and consumerism is starting to lose its lure for the masses.
Never before have we seen so many displaced populations. Even in our own back yards the homeless numbers have skyrocketed to the point where one can no longer turn a blind eye to the issue. People who last year had a roof over their head, find themselves this year living in a tent. The cracks forming from the breakdown of our greed based society is beginning to swallow up the citizens on the fringe.
The people in power have a vested interest in seeing this consumer/competition based society continue. They profit dearly from it and because they have wealth and power, they want to continue to keep it that way. You can’t blame them, they are the top dogs, the winners of the very consumer/competition based economies that the western world has created. And who doesn’t want to win?
But the tone has shifted in recent years. It has become harder to stay on top and so in order to remain there, those leaders have become cutthroat in the defense of their positions. Remember, we live in an “I” society, and so we are becoming protectionist, trying our best to cling to that brass ring of success and power.
But what if we shifted to a more middle ground? Not “I” but maybe “me and you”. What would happen if we just thought about our neighbor once again when we make our choices in life. That wouldn’t be so hard. It’s not like I’m asking you to consider the whole world and shift your view from “I” to “we”, just you and me.
And what would happen if cities and towns and states and provinces and even whole countries shifted to a you and me perspective? Would the world not be a little more pleasant to live in? Just a simple turn outwards to the person, or community or country next you and included them in your perspective. A little dose of cooperation, a drop or two of consideration, a kind thought for someone besides ourselves. Would that be so tough to do?
Many folks in Canada and the United States will be heading to the polls this autumn for various levels of elections. If you are one of them, you will get the chance to exercise the right to change not only your perspective, but shift the collective consciousness of society as well when you cast your vote. The time has come where we need to think outside ourselves, to consider someone else and begin to understand how decisions of the individual, effects the whole. Society needs to change to survive.
The best thing that you can do is get informed and then filter that information by using a wider angled lens of perspective. Start at the very least with one that takes in the views of your neighbors, then if you dare, focus outward even more until the world view of “we” comes into view. Once that picture is clear, honor that image with your vote.
And if you still think your one vote will not change anything, then you are still thinking as an “I”. It’s time to join your neighbors and find the common ground that will collectively create change. But no matter what, you still need to vote.