Elections today are very different from what they were even 15 years ago. Today they are besieged by false news stories, fear mongering and misinformation spread by agents both foreign and domestic. All of this is happening at the speed of hitting the “share” button.
There is an old saying, “I have a right to my opinion.” I think we can all agree on that. However, now – more than ever – it’s important for us to develop an informed opinion.
Let’s avoid voting based solely on stories and memes shared online, that are largely partisan propaganda. Read platforms and watch debates. Have cool-headed conversations with people who may not vote the same way you do. Think about what you want for this province and think about what you are willing to give in order to help the entire province grow better and stronger.
As voters, we recognize our duty to be informed and considerate; let’s also challenge our candidates regarding their duty to speak truthfully and thoughtfully. If we have invested the time to develop our own informed opinions, why should we have any patience for any politician making their opponent seem like the harbinger of the apocalypse? They must discuss topics in a way that shows they have a plan forward, not just a gift for spewing sensationalized slander across the aisle. Listen to their plans and their values, and pay attention to how they conduct themselves.
Every person running wants a better Alberta even though their plans and their priorities differ, but I believe differences can be presented in positive, constructive, ways. Someone who only throws punches likely has nothing worth defending. When a boxer wins a match, they honour their opponent; they don’t spend the next four years trashing their opponent. That is acting like a champion. Expect your politicians to act like champions in victory or defeat.
As voters, lets conduct ourselves with a high standard. Consider the facts. Study each party’s platform. Listen to what they say and how they say it.
Online, think about where the news is coming from. If it’s a story in a major paper that’s been picked up by other news organizations, it likely has more veracity than a meme circulating on Facebook. If a quote seems particularly strange or heinous, look it up for context. If a statistic seems particularly dire, find it in other sources to confirm.
In person, be respectful. Discuss and debate but avoid insulting or belittlement. Remember, everyone wants what’s best for themselves and the province, and everyone wants and deserves to be heard.
Alberta is still the best place to live but we all know this province can be better. Let’s start with ourselves; we each have a responsibility in this upcoming election. We voters need to exercise our vote, and our parties and candidates need to present themselves and their platforms in a positive, constructive, and classy manner.
Let’s be better!