Improve your Mental Health and Stop Voting Strategically !
“When we develop the right story, and learn how to tell it, it will infect the minds of people across the political spectrum.” George Monbiot
Look at this graphic. What do you see?
Data Above from the 2015 election
I see a bunch of unhappy voters who ‘held their nose’ and voted for a party, even though they preferred another party. I see people who will be probably disappointed by their choices. Their mental health is bound to suffer from this way of thinking which inevitably sees the cup ½ empty instead of ½ full. However I also see, dramatically among the Green party voters, people who have decided that they are finally going to vote their conscience and voted for what they actually believe. I see the latter with better mental health and an ability to see the opportunities in life instead of the threats, dangers and risks as obstacles that stop them from being true to themselves. Have you ever thought that how you vote may influence your mental health in this way? Now, I am NOT saying that you should vote for the Greens; however, I am saying that this data has much to teach us. Before I begin we need to define two things: strategic voting and mental health.
Potential strategical voters are only those who are in a district where their preferred party is not expected to be in the top two most likely candidates to win. Indeed, why would a voter act strategically if her preferred party (candidate) is expected to win or is the second most competitive option? Potential strategic voters are thus citizens that have a sincere preference for a candidate that is not in the top two contenders. The logical consequence is that the size of the electorate that will have an incentive to desert strategically goes down to 25%. (the Canadian Election Study data)
Mental health is the ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs. – Scott Peck
As a five time candidate I have perhaps a bit more of an insight into the political process than most. So enjoy my little rant and do your mental health a favour:
Stop Voting Strategically!
Vote for the person/party that aligns with your beliefs & worldview
As I go door to door I encounter frustration, a total lack of enthusiasm for any of the major party leaders – even among those committed to voting for “their” party, a sense that the political parties will say anything to get your vote and then not deliver. This means, at least for this election, even voters from the two big parties are thinking of voting strategically because many of them are actually less than thrilled with their leaders. That’s the bad news. However, there is good news. For the first time I am meeting many voters who have told me that for the first time they are no longer voting strategically. They have tried it – and it has not worked for them. As a matter of fact, their level of frustration has actually increased because they are never satisfied but feel betrayed.
I am going to digress a bit now. Being alive is FANTASTIC! Think about; you are bundle of random carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen atoms sprinkled with a bit of salt and iron that is self-aware, that can make choices, that can laugh and cry and imagine. What an amazing gift, what a miracle. [Watch the Miracle Planet to get a sense of wonder for life on earth – a joint CBC/Japanese production from the 90’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOd3SAtoIgw ] However, we all die. Once we have to courage to admit to that the only way to remain mentally healthy to find some meaning and purpose in our lives that will transcend us – some cause or some person [ie. your children] that will continue to exist after you are gone. Since we are so much what we believe, including Mother/Father, the result is that we have a great desire, more than that – a need, for what we believe in to continue after our deaths. Call that religion, call it ideology, call it a delusion – whatever the name – it is a powerful force. Here is a concrete example.
Alisha Lamers’ unconscious and badly burned body was pulled from the floor of her basement suite in an unregistered rooming house in the early morning of Nov. 20, 2013. “The government thinks that if they fine the landlord $75,000 that everything is OK. That’s not OK,” Moore said, her voice thick with emotion. “We lost our daughter. We lost a child. Somebody was killed that was trapped in a house, that couldn’t get out, and that should never happen. I would never want to see what happened with Alisha to happen to anybody. I would never want to see another parent have to go through the pain that we have gone through. “For the first two years that this happened … I dreamt that I saw Alisha being trapped and I kept trying to get to her and I would wake up,” Moore said. The parents are now suing the landlord for $5 million. Moore and Lamers say it isn’t just about justice, it’s about bringing some meaning to their daughter’s death. “The firefighters put their own lives at risk to save her life. The paramedics, everybody in the hospital staff did everything they could to bring her back to life,” Lamers said. “They tried really hard to let her live. And it’s gotta mean something. Note: I heard them on CBC radio. They emphasized that now they feel that their lives have no purpose, no meaning and that they are drifting in an ocean of grief and loss, that all their joy in being alive is now gone. How do you heal from that?
Basement apartment where Alisha Lamers died
So this election, choose to see the cup ½ full instead of ½ empty. Be courageous. Believe that we can cooperate for the common good while simultaneously encouraging and developing the unique skills of each individual. And yes, believe that believing this can change the world. If you still need more convincing try watching
Monbiot explain how stories change the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDKth-qS8Jk