Elections bring a lot of speculation. Polls try and follow the changing sentiment of voters. Pundits look for advantages to capitalize and determine risks to avoid.
In all the speculation, ordinary citizens can feel like pawns in the election scheming. But that is far from the truth. Citizens determine the outcome of elections. Polls can guess at our choices. Campaigns try and influence our choices. But in the end, individuals each cast their one single vote. And nobody knows what that vote is but the ordinary citizens themselves.
I pray that citizens will research well the various party platforms. I yearn for citizens to clearly articulate demands for justice. All politicians must heed the collective voice of citizenship.
If citizens demand accelerated, concrete actions towards clean renewable energy, politicians ignore such a demand at their own peril. Corporate businesses can threaten politicians with decreased funding and suggest a blow to the economy. But a citizenry committed to doing the right thing for the environment and the most vulnerable can determine who will make it into parliament.
Communities of faith can turn the tide of election results. A concentrated commitment to eradicating poverty, and securing rights for refugees will produce a society where only those dedicated to the same causes will ever be voted in. That is the kind of society an informed and compassionate citizenship can create.
For this to happen, historical voting patterns must be replaced by clear concrete demands for the safety of a sustainable future. Apathy must be replaced by active concern. Disinterest must be replaced with engagement.
A citizenship that does not demand change from those seeking election cannot demand change from those elected.
So as citizens concerned about public justice – with an interest in how policy affects others as much as how it impacts us – our vote matters. It matters a lot. For our interest is not so much about who’s interests are considered, but those who are left out.