Sometimes it is all too easy to become jaded. We are voting today to decide between three parties, or five, or seventeen–that our friends to the south would consider socialist…all three of them. After all, we have an experiment of democracy going here, since 1867, but the real experiment was since Tommy Douglas (can you really have a national leader named Tommy? We do, and we love him) of a National Health Care plan.
We recognized a long time ago that illness was often unpredictable, and that when things went really bad, it could be financially devastating. So we have a National Health Care plan, a single payer bureaucracy that serves us all very well. We Canadians are actually very proud of it. Even our most right wing party supports it. Appropriately, as an exercise of free speech, we complain about it the most.
This means that all–ALL–of our citizens have access to very good, often excellent, heath care, regardless of their income. Oh, we rail against it, complain about it, we doctors get hissy about it, but we all know it is the best system, really, in the world, and none of us can understand the people to the south, and why they do not embrace a system like this.
We have a safety net for our people. If life goes bad for them, it is still worth living, no matter how bad it gets…that is as it should be, and we look down our noses at our southern neighbors who make their less fortunate people truly suffer as if penance is somehow appropriate for them, as if their lives are only worthwhile if they descend into drug abuse or crime or suicide.
Don’t they know that success is dependent on more than just merit half the time? Opportunity has an awful lot to do with it…and who your parents are.
So we can be extremely proud to be Canadians, and we should be.
I walked into our local polling station today, passing a young Asian couple who were just coming out, passing an older Afro-American, Black…whatever is politically correct…who sported an earphone and smiling, passing two teenagers…no, wait, teenagers don’t vote yet, I’m just getting old…passing a young family with two small children who came with their parents to exercise their voting rights…passing a middle-aged Eastern European couple talking to each other in one of several languages they already know…including English…because the Eastern Europeans always know two or three. Or four. More than we do, anyway.
My polling station offered instructions in both official languages, and my transport through the whole process was hampered only by the older man who was there to help guide me through it. Nice old guy. He officiously reviewed my documentation of my existence and then let me proceed to two other nice ladies who documented my existence, and I voted in secrecy without undue harassment or exposure to advertising or excessive external pressures. And it took, maybe thirty seconds, maybe a minute, but surely no more. The biggest delay was in getting past the nice old guy who was helping other people–on my way out.
Nobody–NOBODY–there cared a wit how I voted. Nobody. They just wanted my voting experience to be efficient and convenient and productive and fair.
They wanted me to understand what I was doing, and they wanted me to exercise my right of democracy, and bloody hell, that’s all they wanted.
God I love this country!