The Enduring Importance of Democracy

My plan today was actually to publish a journal entry that spoke to a political issue in our municipality and province. But in the wake of what has happened in the United States last night that almost seemed tactless. Especially after the sad news this morning that 4 people have died.

The imagery of seeing the steps of Congress overrun with protestors turned domestic terrorists was heart-wrenching. It wasn’t surprising, after the continued rhetoric coming out of the Whitehouse. However, the visual imagery on the CNN cameras portrayed a democracy in peril, a system of government in jeopardy. A very scary image to see and one that was difficult to understand.

The focus in the aftermath of what has happened in that country, as well as throughout the world, is hopefully going to be about unifying two sides of the same spectrum.  About working toward the continued preservation of democratic principles that make our society function as well as it does. About focussing on what can unify us rather than focussing on the political divide.

 

However the history books chose to describe this awful footnote: whether it be as a violent insurrection or active attempt at a Coup D’etat, these actions mark a dark day for democracy as a whole.

 

In Orillia, I am very proud to be a City Councillor and be able to bring about change. But there are also times when I am not able to achieve the objectives I have and I lose. It happens.

 

Accepting that defeat is sometimes difficult to do too.

But just as winning is a part of politics so too is losing. Understanding why and how the defeat came about is important.   Additionally, while the ability to protest a decision is an absolute essential part of our democratic system. the system itself is dependent on us respecting its basic principles: votes matter, laws matter, and respect for one another matters.

Whether it be the Orillia City Council, the Parliament of Canada, or the US Congress, a democratic body is something that is wonderful and beautiful and needs to be cherished. While I might disagree wholeheartedly with the result the system sometimes produces, for example the passing of a bylaw I object to, I have to remember that my grudge is with the bylaw itself, not the system that brought it about. A system that we truly cannot afford to lose because the alternative is absolutely worse!

In all of this commotion, the one thing I am continually reminded of is how lucky we are to be living in a free and open democracy like Canada. We have opportunities to have our say and voice our opinions even though those opinions sometimes get drowned out. We are also especially lucky as a society that our democratic systems are designed to work incredibly well.

It is a system meant to give everyone a voice, not just a select few.