Election Time - Prioritizing What Matters
It's election time in Alberta. Many feelings surround this event, and not all of them are positive. For some sectors in the non-profit world, an election can mean uncertainty. A new government could mean new priorities, budgets, and funding. As a result, there is a level of fear and concern, not just for agencies that do good in many communities but also for the jobs and livelihoods they provide. It’s a shame that issues surrounding volunteerism, or even meeting basic needs, have become partisan instead of just being about helping people. Sometimes it's hard not to feel discouraged.
At times, it can feel as if we care more about the colour of the campaign billboard than the greater good. It's no longer about doing what's best; it's about being right. More than ever, we need to learn, or relearn, how to have healthy discourse. When we stop trying to understand where others are coming from, when we stop caring about opinions and perspectives different than ours, we lose our ability for empathy. Regarding politics, astrophysicist turned pop culture personality Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “Without rational discourse among ourselves and our elected representatives, we are non-interacting stovepipes on the brink of burning down the house.”
Committing to learning and understanding is vital if the goal is to better ourselves, our province, and our country. So let's get into the habit of hearing each other out. Let’s get into the practice of having compassion for each other's struggles and perspectives. Let’s make empathy commonplace in our discourse. If you're struggling with your decision to vote, I would encourage you to do two things. First, use the Vote Compass tool to see where you might lie on the political spectrum. Second, do your research. If you value community building and support for those in need, research different parties' policies surrounding those topics.
So where can you go from here? Find the needs in your community and equip yourself and those around you to meet them. How can you make a difference? Don’t wait for someone else to tell you where you should serve. VolunteerConnector exists for this very purpose, a way to connect volunteers to causes. If you are passionate about something, about helping somehow, there is more than likely a space for you to serve.
As always, I wish to encourage everyone reading to remember our privilege. Our privilege of democracy is the freedom to choose our leaders and not feel threatened or afraid to go out and vote. So honor this privilege, don’t take this freedom for granted, and go vote.