IF NOT THIS, THEN WHAT?
This is the fundamental existential election question for the majority of moderate Albertans who are non-partisan, non-tribal individual citizens. Can independent individuals press for change by applying their personal agency through effectively engaged citizenship?
Elections are prime time to use your power of citizenship through how you will mark your ballot. How will you act up as you determine what you want as a voter? The choices for some are simply between the socialists and the capitalists Left or Right options. Others will lean in on the character, leadership perceptions and ideological approaches of Smith and Notley.
Some significant numbers of Albertans will be issues oriented voters. Their issues will be diverse including health care, education, social justice, environment, economics and more. They are looking for champions of change candidates to vote for and support. Their decisions depend on what policies and programs they want to see started, stopped or improved in party platforms and primary personal interests of candidates
As Gandhi advised us to “Be the change you want to see in the world.” What is the change you want to see in Alberta, as a person, a citizen, a community member, and a taxpayer? Being the change means we will have to show up, stand up, speak up in this election process, and even act up in more ways than merely mindlessly voting.
There are other real serious choice considerations in this election, like between being ruled by rightwing autocrats or served by social democrats. Let’s not be naive, the autocratic UCP will be seeing you as a Subject and the communitarian NDP will see you mostly as a user and Consumer of public services. How can you make them see you as a Citizen in this election, and afterwards? How will you assert your personal agency in our democracy?
To be seen as, and taken seriously as a Citizen, we need to assert ourselves as such. That means you and I, acting as citizens, need to Reboot Alberta and take back control of the divisive and debilitating Alberta political culture. We need to create an alternative narrative and create better options about how we are to be governed, and by whom. We will have to work hard to delete those outdated attitudes and dangerous mindsets embedded in Alberta that are threats to our democracy.
We need to design and deliver new ways to behave as citizens and voters that gets us above and beyond the Left-Public versus Right-Private political spectrum model. This adversarial approach to politics narrows our choices, and hampers our ability to adapt and deal with the increasingly complex realities of being Albertans in the 21st century.
MODERATE ALBERTANS MUST ACT MORE POLITICALLY
Reboot Alberta is making a call out to our community to take action for the benefit of our province. We need to personally commit to do the work to become a better voter, regardless of how you decide to vote. We need to take up our democratic role and responsibility as a citizen to protect, preserve and promote our democracy.
We must be sure to make intentional, thoughtful, and purposeful choices as voters this May. We know the more partisan, tribal, and “strategic” Alberta citizens will show up and vote for no other reason than to defeat the “Other” as an enemy. So be it, but We the Citizens must fid ways to get above and beyond the adversarial enemies approach to politics.
I worry more about the non-voters and what it would take to encourage them to be effective, intentional, and purposeful voters. Indifference, apathy, and complacency are not viable citizenship options in the May 2023 election. Not showing up is not an option if you take any personal responsibility as an Alberta citizen who values democracy.
What we have seen of the Smith political agenda, she is very Authoritarian and even Fascistic in some ways. That means our Democracy is on the Ballot this election. We have seen how fragile and frail democracy is simply by observing what is happening in the USA under Trump’s power and influence.
Alberta is not immune from these efforts to destroy democracy from within. For proof we merely need to look at the anti-democratic actions of the so-called Freedom Convoy. It started in Alberta. We also have the very disturbing Coutts Border Blockade and the inability of the Alberta government to respond effectively.
Add in the RCMP discovery of heavily armed and organized paramilitary factions in the Coutts blockaders, Many are charged with criminal offenses, including some with criminal conspiracy intended to kill the police. That’s a Trumpist insurrection level of anarchy.
And now we have the separatist supporting, fascist facilitating, actively authoritarian and Smith sponsored Alberta Sovereignty Act, as the law of the land in our province.
VOTING IS VERY PERSONAL AND MOSTLY LOCAL
How can we, as mere individual citizens, change this? By taking our roles and responsibilities of citizenship more seriously, especially at this particular election time. Elections are about change through individual choices.
Citizens who will thoughtfully and intentionally vote based on their values, personal policy concerns, informed analysis and make judgements based on serving the greater good can, and will make a big difference. We who are in the moderate majority of non-partisan, non-tribal citizens must actively engage in making our voting choices known to the candidates, the parties and their leaders, this election.
For most of us the answer to the “if not this” part of this question is obvious and relatively easy. Deciding what is wrong is not the only effort we must make. Elections are always about changes and choices, even when we re-elect a currently sitting government.
The “then what” aspect of the question is harder to grasp and understand, but is the more significant part of your voting challenge. Will we, as individuals, do the hard work necessary, in preparation for this election, to become better citizens and better voters as a result? Will we take the time to be more aware, better informed, and actively engaged as citizens, taxpayers, and in electoral politics, as our voting decisions this election?
Citizening is social. Voting is personal. Citizenship is both, and more. Start taking your election decision and engagement as deeply personal. Commit to voting your values, vote based on your issues or concerns, and vow to vote for a Better Alberta as part of your Citizen’s Journey.