How I Became Enfranchised on a Cold Monday Morning

A January election in Canada. Who the heck drew the short straw on that decision?

Voting is the heart of the democratic process and today was my first taste test. It kind of feels weird. Politics is my major interest in life and I’ve never actually voted. It’s like studying art history and ranting on about Michelangeloâ??s Sistine Chapel with great articulation but without ever having been there to see it.

I’ve never voted in Jordan as I was in Canada during the last parliamentary elections. And the last Canadian elections in 2004 I was sick.

Canadian Politics is pretty jaded. Take for example these elections. In the campaign attacks, the worst one was basically the Liberals saying no one will be happy about the Conservatives except President Bush. That’s right, accusing the other party of being loved by George W. Bush has now become an offense option for political operatives. No accusations that the candidate fathered a black baby or that he’s in allegiance with the devil.

What I learned is that politics is different wherever you live and who you vote for comes down to many factors. Your political ideology, your religion, your stance on social issues. So I suppose if such elections were to be held in Jordan I would factor in many more things than I did today. Today it all came down to who will benefit me and not who I feel most politically aligned to. People tend to be traditional voters, once a liberal always a liberal. It shouldn’t be that way. Loyalty to a party is great but a party changes, it’s position on the political spectrum shifts and what it believes in today, when you’re say 22, is not what it may believe in 30 years ago when you’re 52. That’s what political parties do, they change. Conservatives are only as conservative as the times and the same for liberals.

For example: both the Liberals and Conservatives, the far left and far right, represent a lot of things I don’t agree with as a Canadian citizen, but I’m not evaluating them based on textbook definitions, rather on the times. I’m sick of, as many Canadians are, of the Liberal party’s corruption. As for conservatives, well I don’t support anyone that wanted to join the U.S. invading Iraq. In fact I don’t see a bright future for a Canadian government being too aligned with American Republicanism at a point in time when the latter is pushing for a new world order I’m not too fond of.

They’re still counting the votes but the Conservatives as predicted will most likely lead a minority government. So for my first election ever I voted for the New Democratic Party. The NDP has a socialist platform I can get on board with and if Conservatives are leading the next government I’m hoping the NDP can a least have a stronger voice while the libs and the cons battle it out in the House of Commons over legislation.

To most people reading this post right now (if you’ve made it this way give yourself a pat on the back) this probably means very little to you. Like I said, Canadian politics is not the most interesting in the world, so who Layton, Harper and Martin are and what the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP stand for is not something that grasps one’s imagination.

But what important here is the overall process of voting. Like I said, while political allegiance and party loyalty is great I don’t think the forefathers of modern democracy had that in mind. A politician and a seat in parliament or an administration in office represent a platform. A citizen should review that platform in the context of the present time and how it will affect the future, and then vote for it. Because at the end of the day your vote is giving power to someone.


  • Well said Naseem, in our region, sadly, most of the people vote according to the family name regardless of any other backgrounds or plans a candidate may have! True, I only was once to vote in a Jordanian Parliament elections, several years ago, when my father woke me up and said: â??Go vote for (Flan)!â?. At that time, I was like: â??WHAT?!â? the: â??WHY SHOULD I GO FOR HIM?!â? the reply was: â??il zalameh ma7soob 3alainaâ? (He is one of us).

    Yet, and up to now, I donâ??t think that the Jordanian parliament is elected based on the qualifications or political streamsâ?¦ we still need a lot of education till we start to think of it as â??Politicsâ? as long as we think about it as â??Wastaâ? (a reaching hand)

    A couple of days ago, I watched the debate on Al-Jazeera channel for the Palestinian electionsâ?¦ it was a mess, everybody shouted at everybody, everybody interrupted everybody, and as an audience, and if I had to vote on those elections, I would choose someone that is most related to my family, because I didnâ??t see anyone that deserve to be a decision effecter!

  • I find my self always trying to decide bewteen the NDP and Liberals.. I was happy to see the NDP grab more seats
    what I hate is when people can vote and refuse to becuase their “vote won’t make a difference”

Your Two Piasters: