Think of it as applying for your licence to complain. (Here on the editorial page, see, we don’t actually need a licence — complaining isn’t recreation, it’s a career.)
Tuesday is municipal election day across this province, your chance to finish pondering and go out and actually vote for the people who want to run your towns and cities. It’s a chance to weigh the issues, get past the signs and leaflets, and make your voice heard.
Of course, you don’t have to.
You can come up with any number of excuses: “It’s too hard,” “They’re all the same,” “I didn’t get around to finding out what they stood for.”
In fact, you don’t even need an excuse — you can just be lazy and silent.
But if you choose silence, live by that credo and remember that you have effectively chosen it for yourself for the next few years.
If you can’t be bothered to make your voice heard at the polls, then your voice doesn’t really matter any more, does it?
Politicians, after all, are expected to answer to their constituents — and constituents vote.
So, vote now, or forever hold you peace. (Or at least hold your peace until the next time, some four years from now, when you’ll get your next chance.)
In St. John’s, many have no doubt already sealed up their yellow envelopes and posted them off to be counted (if you haven’t you’re out of time for that particular method of exercising your franchise). It may well be that many seats on council are already decided.
So here’s a little message for both the winners and the losers.
For those standing for election in councils right across this province — thank you. Municipal politics offers some of the most thankless jobs in the political pantheon. There’s often little in the way of financial return, and plenty of demands on your time. Everyone knows where you live, the provincial and federal governments can simply reach down from on high and turn your whole world upside down, and, as many councillors will tell you, it will seem like half your town has you on speed dial from the moment you’re sworn in.
Plenty talk the talk, but it takes real guts to walk the walk. Heck, you have to have editorials to get people to do as little as walk the walk to the polling station.
For those who win on Tuesday, welcome to a world that will hopefully garner you at least as many kudos as complaints, and may your councils be filled with work that you find satisfying and fulfilling.
For those who don’t get the nod, remember, even defeated candidates are a critical part of the political process; without them, critical issues don’t get raised and voices don’t get heard.
Now, do we need to say it again? Vote!