Sour grapes politicking

McMurray Musings Connects

By THERESA WELLS, Connect Contributor

It is with a sense of both intrigue and dismay I watch as petitions pop up on social media demanding our current Premier resign or our new provincial government be “recalled”. It is with similar feelings I view those who demand our government (which was elected less than a year ago) call another election to “prove their mandate”, one that seemed quite decisively proven when the NDP swept into power in the election held in spring.

And for the record, the NDP didn’t sweep themselves into power – Albertans did when they voted for a change in government and did so in quite a convincing fashion. What we seem to be seeing here is some degree of something quite common in politics: sour grapes.

Just to be clear, I was not one of those who voted for the NDP, although many of my fellow Albertans did. Enough of them did so that the NDP now form a solid majority government, and while they are still quite new they are busily devising budgets and legislation that impacts our province and our people. And yes, there are some decisions about which I have concerns, and some about which I have definite qualms – but the reality is that this government is in power because Albertans put them there.

It actually doesn’t much matter if some now have buyer’s remorse and wish they had voted differently. It doesn’t matter if some think the rest of the province went crazy and voted badly.

It actually doesn’t much matter if some now have buyer’s remorse and wish they had voted differently. It doesn’t matter if some think the rest of the province went crazy and voted badly. This is the democratic system at work, and those who think you can just force a government or Premier to call it quits because you don’t like their decisions aren’t exhibiting a full understanding of how democracy works (particularly the nuances of a majority government).

You can dislike what the government is doing. You can protest it, you can write about it, you can object to it – but to suggest they should simply pack it in and call another (costly) election is at best an absurdity as they are doing nothing different from what all governments do when given a mandate: govern.

We will have an opportunity to effect some changes, of course; it’s called an election, one that will likely take place when they are required to hold one and not a moment sooner.

It is almost disheartening as it seems far too many of our citizens don’t really understand how governance works. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to inform our electorate, we teach democracy as part of our school curriculum and yet we still seem to have people who think we can “fire” our government when we disagree with them, but without having to go through that pesky process we call “democratic elections”. It seems there are those who believe we not only can but should circumvent that process, perhaps not even realizing that to do so imperils the very democracy of which we are so proud in this country.

So, what happens if you think our current government stinks? What should you do? Well, instead of petitions demanding resignations that will go nowhere and Facebook posts that might gather some attention but have real little impact, do the things that matter:

Get involved in the party of your choice. Buy a membership. Support them financially. Volunteer to help the party in your area. Get educated on the issues so you are ready when an election actually is called. Be vocal about your concerns, but put aside the calls for resignations and recalls that just won’t happen. Understand our democratic process.

Support democracy – in fact, celebrate it and put the sour grapes in the trash, even if you don’t like the government of the day. Be happy that we have the right and opportunity to elect ANY government, even one that you don’t like.

Be grateful that we have the privilege to vote and guide the direction of our communities and country, and do your part if you think the direction needs to change (and trust me, the sharing of memes is not going to change the direction the ship is headed).

Democracy is a precious gift. When we attempt to subvert it we diminish it. Don’t be one of those who are so zealous in political passion that you forget that in the end it isn’t about parties, but about people and the opportunity we have to participate in guiding our own future, rightly or wrongly. Celebrate the people and the process, and the politics will have far less sting, turning even the sourest of grapes into pretty decent wine.

– Connect Weekly –