Losing Power to the 40+%

In my previous post, we saw that just a minority of BC voters voted in favour of the political party that switched BC from first to worst in higher education access.

As detailed there, this was a minority for two reasons. First, the popular vote was split quite closely between two major parties. Second, more than 40% of BC voters stayed home.

Some of the no-shows said they were waiting for a better political system. Some said that they forgot or they were too busy. Some said politics didn't affect them.

Some even said they didn't vote so the government would smarten up and take notice.

Yes, when pigs can fly.

 You can hear all kinds of reasons. But when I talk to people about why they don't vote, the common theme is "it doesn't make a difference". So why bother.  

 Some of the 40+ % of non-voters (and maybe it's already 50+% where you live) now look down at those of us who vote. They can see the game is fixed, so why can't we?

But that's not the issue.

We're not going to get a better game just by discarding the little we've managed to get so far. Throw away half a loaf and all you have is none.

Until well into the last century, only a minority of adults in 'developed nations' were allowed to vote.

Women were barred. Some racial or economic groups were also barred, depending on the time and country. Courageous people sacrificed their lives to win the right to help select their government.

But now we're back to square one. The vote is split between more than one party (which we want, so we have choice). So unless we get back to those high vote turnouts of the past, the minority choose how the rest will live. 

Don't blame the minority. They can't help it if so many don’t vote.

It's the 40+% - the growing band of non-voters - who turn 'majority rule' over to that minority.

So when it comes to discarding the limited tool we call democracy, BC is no different than most places. 

There are many other examples you could find of the damage that results. But this is an education website, so let's get back to that. The turnabout in BC's higher education tells the story.

Sadly, it's a story few seem to mention. Which begs a question.

Isn't falling from First to Worst worth any outcry from BC students and their families?

Isn't it worth campaigning for improvements?

Or if that’s too much work - isn't it worth bringing ID to a voting place once every 3 to 5 years?

Given BC's election turnouts, a great many people don't think so.

It seems that BC's 40+ percent don't care if their province goes from best to worst. At least, they didn't care in the last election, which gave the same government 5 more years in power.

It seems the 40+% don't care if student debt soars - even if they must pay it themselves for years and years.

It seems they don't care if their children's futures suffer by getting shut out of their own universities and colleges.

By this kind of apathy, people invite government to do more of the same. So problems get worse - and worse after that.

These problems become our own individual problems. And they take a great deal of effort to overcome. If they can be overcome, that is.

Take the example of people who lose affordable access to education. They now need several part-time jobs to get through school (so much for their studies). Or they spend years paying debt, sometimes postponing marriage or children. Or they just give up.

I've met people who have dropped their high school plans for university. And, judging by BC's declining enrolment numbers, there are many others like them.

 This was just one example. These 'political' decisions are life-changing stuff. So why not use every tool we've got to make them work for us?  

Yet the 40+ percent (exhausted by problems they helped cause by default) sigh and say there's no point even voting.

And that's something I may never understand.

© Jeannine Mitchell 2014