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May 03, 2011

Did Democracy Just Break Your Heart?

If democracy just broke your heart, this post is for you.

Sometimes democracy can do that to a person. And when it happens, it feels like you've just been betrayed by a lover.

You trusted democracy to safeguard something sacred, only to discover too late that the sweet-nothings that were being whispered between democracy and other voters were nothing like the sweet-nothings that were being shared between the two of you.

So what do you do the day after your heart has been broken?

Allow yourself to grieve. Your dream of a better Canada has been ripped away. You invested in that dream with every action you took during and leading up to Election Day.

Don't indulge in "if onlys." We can't turn back the clock. We can only move forward.  Honour the passion for democracy that erupted in you by vowing to continue to work for a Canada that reflects the hopes and dreams of the true majority of Canadians.

Understand you're not alone. Because of the way our voting system works, there are more people feeling sad than celebratory today: 60 percent versus 40 percent, in fact. If misery loves company, there's no better way to find company than by voting in a first-past-the-post election.

Find strength in your community -- the community of Canadians who are not satisfied with the outcome of last night's election and who will not be satisfied until Canada finds its way back to its more progressive, socially conscious, democratic roots. We have four years to map out that journey. For today, just commit to supporting your fellow travellers.


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If I understand the numbers correctly, while 60% of those who voted didn't vote for the Conservatives, nearly 80% of all Canadians didn't vote for them. While we have no way of knowing what all the non-voters might have done, it's pretty clear if we had a decent system, this result wouldn't have happened. Quite frankly, I no longer consider us a democracy when just over 20% of the population was able to force their choice on us. There must be steps we can take to at least somewhat keep Harper's minions in check and remind them, regularly, they are there to represent us, not the corporations and not their personal agendas.

Excellent post Ann. I needed that.

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