I am late in writing this. Events and their transpiration – and an afflicted hippocampus – are to blame. Ontario recently held an election, an election I was not permitted to vote in. I have no criminal record, am -as far as I know- a part of no watch-list of CSIS, and unless provoked I have little political agenda – aside from voting and the occasional bitch. I even received my voter card in the mail at the appropriate time and had it fixed to my fridge with magnets in preparation for the date. I broke one very important rule. While the politician’s accountants of souls took a photograph of the registered voting demographic, I moved. I blinked from one city to the next and by the time I’d looked back up from rubbing my eyes it was over.
Around the turn of the industrial 20th century, a common grievance here in the North America was, quel suprise, political corruption. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Upton Sinclare outlined one such dastardly account (among many) in the worlds most monotonously depressing novel, “The Jungle.” The particular practice to which I refer is that in order to vote, people needed time away from their jobs, time the working class didn’t have. Some would make it to the polls and, in Upton’s view, sell their votes almost unanimously over lunch-hour. But for many, voting was a temporal impossibility. Polls closed before shifts ended. Routing people around polling stations stalling for time is something Hunter S. Thompson griped about in 1970, during his brief career in Aspen politics, too.
To vote today you must appear at your registered polling station between such and such hours. This station is determined by the geographic zone in which you live – not necessarily the closest to your house, but determined by arbitrarily drawn demographic cell. If you fail to appear, your vote is forfeit – like failing to appear in court to defend yourself. The only exceptions are mail-in votes (extremely tedious and circuitous to apply to do) or advance polls – also to be done at the designated polling station. But what if you cannot appear at your appointed station? Perhaps your geographic reality was unexpected?
Such was my condition on voting day when I found myself unexpected stranded in another city, just over an hour and a half by highway away from my home and polling station. I turned in to the nearest polls I could find to be informed that, despite the fact that I am an Ontario resident and Canadian citizen, I would not be allowed to vote in provincial elections (I was still, for the record, in the well within the province). Now, I realize that the local candidates are directly elected so it would be nonsensical to count my vote for the Rep in the area I attempted to vote. But despite the physical ballots, all votes are tabulated electronically and I am not prepared to believe in the difficulty of pooling my vote into the proper region on some bureaucrat’s latte soaked computer.
The nature of my profession requires me to be highly mobile from day to day. It is often only day by day that I know where I will be. Call me a sort of itinerant laborer. I am involved in affairs in more of these arbitrary ridings than most Ontarians however my deep interest in the state of the Province has rendered my political voice, small as it is, silent. It is this that has me indignant; that the domestic moral priesthood of the sprawling sedentary societal model still wields such a veto over other life-styles and ways of living. Human beings were originally nomadic, hunter-gatherers with a tight-knit and egalitarian or at least merit-based social structure. The hierarchy would have been a very flat and malleable one, based on expertise and collaboration. The brutal pyramids of the power-structure we recognize today, between the stones of which we live and grind ourselves down to meal, were raised only once mankind was told by one of its own to stand still. So that the lazy can eat and the greedy can amass palaces of wealth, homo-sapien-sapiens sacrificed their wiser motions, shared knowledge, rituals of power. Only thus, by the single-minded hand of authoritarian leadership, becomes possible the co-ordination between parts of a large agricultural – and eventually Industrial Capitalist – social model.
Bullshit! This is simply a lingering prejudice from a very old reform undergone by our species. A voice for those without rest or swampy contentment, if you please, who only wish for a home they’ve built to come back to.