To the Editor:
I have been a teacher for a few years now and return to my classroom day after day for two reasons: hope and love. I look at my students and see a reflection of the same passion, idealism and optimism that is too often cast aside by their grown-up counterparts. As we grow, our passion turns to idleness, idealism devolves to realism and optimism gives way to despair.
Canada has, for too long, been driven by these motives. We feel as though our voices don’t matter and hence we fail to vote — idleness. We succumb to want and desire and accept our consumer reality as the only one — realism. We fear the unknown, distrust our neighbours and abandon compassion — despair. And yet an entire unrepresented and unheard demographic could easily point us in the right direction.
Fairness is very important on the playground. If you try a first-past-the-post vote on whether to play dodgeball, basketball or kickball, the unrepresented majority get really pissed off! Why then are we all too accepting of a party that represents less than 25 per cent of the Canadian population? Have we become so complacent that we regard this as democracy?
Children are also wonderfully compassionate and generous. When they witness an injustice they are not afraid to speak out. They are eager to help and to share. They are quick to understand that a compassionate and loving classroom is better than one dominated by greed and mistrust. Why then do adults accept year after year of political inaction on social injustice? Why can’t our federal government put aside partisan division and actually collaborate on solving Canadian issues as easily as my students can solve problems in the classroom?
My sixth and seventh graders will soon be hitting the voting booth with the rest of Canada’s eligible voters. I hope that we adults can put aside self-interest, fear and division for a few moments on Oct. 19, electing a government that will give my students a fair, sustainable and beautiful future — one driven by passion, idealism and optimism, reimagining a Canada founded on hope and on love.