Tuesday, April 24, 2012

confessions of a strategic voter

In the end, I opted for the devil I know.  I never dreamed that I would be casting a vote for a party that I could never support, but given the spectre of the right-wing extremists who seemed poised to take over, I, like so many other left-leaning Albertans, chose to hold my nose and vote strategically.

I know I did this to the detriment of the parties that I philosophically support, and I feel awful about that, but I really don't feel as though I had any choice.  In this election, for the first time since moving to this province, my vote was not wasted.  Although it was a vote made out of fear and it was a vote against something rather than for something, my little vote finally made a difference.  Even if it served to maintain the status quo.  

In my riding in particular, the results were very close.  In fact, so close that they are still not official - a couple of dozen votes separating the top runners.  The incumbent, who has ruled the riding for the past 300 years, crossed the floor to the extremists last year, leaving a great deal of uncertainty as to how this staunchly conservative riding would vote.  Were my neighbours red-neck enough to follow her or would they stay the course and continue to vote the same way they always have?  Sadly, none of the other parties have ever stood a snowball's chance in hell in this riding.  In fact, only four parties ran candidates in my riding during this election, having learned from past experience that there is no return on time, effort and money to run here unless you are a conservative.

I simply could not take the chance of allowing the Wildrose to form the government.  

To be honest, I rather like our premier.  She strikes me as intelligent, compassionate, and measured in her approach.  She seems open to reaching out to others, building bridges, as she would say, rather than firewalls.  As a former human rights lawyer, one hopes she understands the importance of a humane inclusive government.

I feel less dirty casting the vote I did, knowing that many of the most right-wing in the party had already switched allegiances to the Wildrose.  My hope is that this PC government will demonstrate more centrist values, in deference to those of us who elected them.  

Remember us, because we will certainly remember.

Edit:  Looks like my neighbours were indeed red-neck enough to follow the incumbent in my riding over to the dark(er) side.  The official final count now shows that I live in a Wildrose riding.  Uck.


Conky said...

If you are in a WR riding thats good b/c you can send them mail on a regular basis and tell them how much they suck. ha!

I don't even live in AB and I was horrified hearing ,yself say in my head "gawd I hope the PC wins!" MY GAWD! Horrifying...but necessary. Not being able to vote your heart and mind blows...I live in an NDP riding and it is an easy vote every time...

The McIlrath Family said...

I would have done the very same thing. We were all watching with shock and horror at the rise of the Wildrose Party from here in BC and I know my brother was doing the same in Manitoba. I think everyone is breathing a collective sigh of relief.

John Mutford said...

I found myself wondering at some point if the Wildrose party ever really stood a chance, or if that was something drummed up by the PCs in order to sell themselves to the more centrist voters. But then, if your riding is a Wildrose riding, I guess that theory is gone-- I guess some really did take them seriously. Scary times.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It was pretty awful, Jen. Normally I feel free to vote my heart because it doesn't make any difference. This time was different.

I could not believe how many people were buying into their message, Toccata. Scary stuff.

I find myself eyeing up people in the grocery store now, John, wondering if they are one of those damn Wildrosers.

Toccata said...

I just read your comment to John! That's a hoot.

Allison said...

It felt like something you'd except to see in a US election. I honestly could not even believe they were a party with some of the statements their candidates had made. Very worrying.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

They lurk amongst us, Toccata.

I know, Al! They're even too extreme for Alberta.