Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ballots Are Cheaper Than Bullets

Like a lot of other people, I'm watching the federal political scene with interest.  It's no secret that the possibility of a federal election was very real, especially since the Conservatives are in a place where they can win a majority.  I'm mostly fascinated by what I heard on call-in shows yesterday.  Talk show hosts are stirring up the masses by asking if they really want an election.  The masses are responding appropriately by complaining about the cost of yet another election.

A federal election will cost taxpayers approx. 300 million dollars. (I got that number from a talk show host so it may or may not be accurate...)  That's a lot of money that could be used in other places for things that on the surface seem to be much more important than another election....  Until you think about it in broader terms.

Hosni Mubarak, former President and dictator of Egypt ruled for 30 years with no elections.  You could argue that the nation saved 300 million dollars every time they didn't vote but that didn't happen.  Instead, Mr. Mubarak was 're-directing' government revenues into his own offshore accounts. 

Muammar Gaddafi, president of Libya according to those closest to him is a terrorist, murderer and thief.  As I write this, he is waging on war on his own people who dare to demonstrate in their desperate quest for democracy.  They haven't spent money on elections in years and blood literally is being spilled on the streets to ensure there aren't any for a long time to come.  The government is saving millions and millions of taxpayer dollars by not having elections but spending millions on bombs and bullets.  Bullets might be cheaper than ballots in the short term, but in the long run democracy is a much better deal.

Over the past almost 4 years, I've attended the Legislature every day that it has been in session.  At times democracy is loud and obnoxious.  At times it is painfully slow and tedious. (It's like watching paint dry, except that you know within 24 hours, the pain will actually be dry ....) At other times it is a study in how to change a province or nation without a single shot being fired.

4 Elections in 7 years feels like a lot but give me a nation where I am free to choose and a system that allows me to choose without a shot being fired.  Men have died, are dying and will die in the pursuit of freedom and the right to choose our own destiny through a secret ballot.  Freedom is always worth the sacrifice.  In the end, ballots are much cheaper than bullets. 

In spite of it's messy dysfunctions, LONG LIVE DEMOCRACY!

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