A few weeks ago, I sat in the High Holy Day services looking around the room at the omany folks who make their annual pilgrimage to the synagogue that time of year. Most of them are there out of guilt or a sense of obligation instilled in them from when they were kids. Momma said, “You go to services on the High Holy Days!” And that was that! Most of them also hang onto a sense of Jewish identity and feel that attending that service once a year keeps them connected and fulfilled.
A few rabbis might wince as they read this, but I say there is nothing wrong with that. Religion is whatever we each want, need or don’t need it to be. It is personal. However we wish to acknowledge or pay attention to it is up to us. We don’t owe our beliefs or religious commitments to anyone but ourselves – and maybe our mommas.
This certainly isn’t just a Jewish-specific behavior. All sorts of folks in all sorts of religions follow a similar path, engaging at certain key times of the year to fulfill their personal obligations or commitments.
Unfortunately, too many Canadians carry on a similar mentality when it comes to national politics, with election time being the one time they feel compelled to celebrate their democratic rights by heading to the polling stations and voting.
While participating in a religious service without understanding the issues or knowing what it’s really about can still offer personal benefits, influencing politics and voting without knowing what it’s really about is concerning.
Everywhere I look on social media for the past month I see folks pleading with the country to show up and vote. We live in a democracy, after all. We are lucky to have the opportunity and the right to vote and, thus, we should. Many people sacrificed their lives so that we can have these choices today, with the right and freedom to vote for our leaders.
But it’s not just about stepping up to a pole and filling out a ballot. Important decisions are being made while every single vote carries the same weight.
It’s not just about the action of voting. It’s about contributing. It’s about respecting the rights and privileges we once fought for and now defend in this country. So please, don’t vote blind. Don’t vote based on the color of the lawn post you prefer. Don’t vote because the person in your riding has the same first name as you. Don’t vote because your momma told you who to vote for.
Everyone should vote! But if you can’t find some time to have at least a basic understanding of who or what you are voting for I am suggesting that you do not vote.
If you think you might fall under that category, take the time to read the posts linked here – both great places to start. Then get out there and vote!
Everything you need to know about the platforms, and JI interviews with the Liberals, Conservatives, Greens and NDP for all you need to about the federal leaders’ views on Israel, Iran, security, and more. And there’s even more at Federal Election 2015.