Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks

You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous

A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray

 

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Al is on the campaign trail, so Dana, his daughter, is taking his place on this week’s front page.

 

YOU MUST CHOOSE OR YOU LOSE

By Dana Jones

 

I am the most indecisive person on this planet. One time, when I won a game and was allowed to choose a stuffed animal, I stood there for 15 minutes staring at all the little fake eyes staring back at me. Another time, when I went for ice cream, I was so full from trying every single flavour that I didn’t even need a cone by the end of it. Needless to say, at election time, how do you choose from so many options? In school, I was taught to write down what I want for myself, then listen and ask questions. Whichever candidate related to your issues and your concerns, well, “X” marks the spot, right?

I was seventeen years old during the last municipal election and I’ve lived here my entire life. So now, at age twenty-one, this is my first opportunity to actually choose who I want to run my city. I’ve never done this before, so I thought I’d better do some research.

I sat at the forum the other night and listened to so many platforms and had the privilege to hear so many opinions and questions. Lots of us want lots of things that cost lots of money. Every single statement I heard was a want or a complaint which, I understand, is what the forums are for, but holly heifer, those candidates must have been ready for a slumber after all that negativity. Election time really does bring out the worst in people. Look how far we have come with the leaders we have now. We DO have road work being done, there was improvement done at the local Urgent Care, the recreation centre expanded beyond success, and yet those were the three things nearly every single person complained about. Can you see how far this city has come, or are you only looking at the perfect picture that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to create? We all want perfect done now… with a snap of those fingers and a wave of that wand, we want magic… even magic shows can have mishaps and intermissions.

I used to come home for lunch, turn the TV on, and there would be a soap opera on.  One actor bickering at the other over something silly. I would then turn the channel and see sports where competition is high, efforts are sky rocketing, and people are cheering them on.  Election time feels like one big sit-back-and-see-what’s-gonna-happen-this-time. That, ladies and gentlemen, is our problem. We sit back and see how things unwind.  We tell ourselves it isn’t our problem when, really, it is. You live in this city, too. Out of 65,000 people in Airdrie, there were still empty seats at that forum. Either you all know what you want already, or you feel your voice won’t be heard so why bother.

I felt my voice wasn’t heard for awhile, until I realized these candidates are not going to ask every single individual out of 65,000 people what they want. Sometimes, we have to approach them and there is no shame in that. We are lucky.  We are privileged.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I am excited to be able to vote. My favourite quote is, “If you don’t like the world, change it, if you can’t change it then get a new perspective.”  This is our chance to make a change, if you want it.

So, folks, on October 16th, get out of your soap opera, pause the game, go pick an ice cream flavour, choose a stuffed animal and finally… choose the people that you want to be your people. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the outcome.

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