Stand up. Use your voice. Be heard.

The question most frequently asked to election candidates – in some form or another – is “What about me?”

Each and every person has their own story of how they’ve been affected (or more aptly, forgotten) by government and politics. Most often what I hear are people wondering why they have been overlooked by those people they helped vote into office in the first place. 

And, consequently, at election time people are often heard speculating on whether or not there’s even  a point to voting. Will it make a difference? Does this person care about me and my family? Will they work to ensure that I find a job? Will they work to ensure that I have a family doctor? Will they protect my children’s rights to a good education?

Basically, what we’re really asking is “Do I matter?” OR “Is my voice important?”

We, as members of a democratic society, elect fellow members – no better and no worse than we – who will represent us and our needs. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it is really hard for one person to meet the needs of every single person, especially when many of those needs will inevitably clash.

However, the majority of people are the ones who aren’t heard. They’re the ones,  living in poverty, who seem invisible to government, to government officials, and oftentimes to neighbours. What about people on social assistance who want to work, but need help making that happen? What about people working minimum wage jobs who can’t afford to pay the rent or buy groceries? What about the single mom with three small children who is trying to work, take care of her children while maintaining her sanity, all on her own? 

There are so many people with so many stories from all backgrounds, culture, religions, age groups, and so on who need to be heard. Is it the responsibility of the elected representative to know what you – specifically you – need? Or is it your responsibility to come forward and ask for what you need?

Rather than sit back – complaining, moping and feeling victimized by the system – why not contact your representative, explain your situation, and ask for some help? Stand up. Use your voice. Be heard.

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