The apathy towards democracy in Newfoundland and Labrador seems to be alive and well with respect to the candidates running for office. In Pasadena we have had six individuals come forward to present themselves as candidates for town council... my colleagues and I have been elected by acclamation as Councillors. In countless other communities throughout the province this pattern has repeated itself and I am wondering if voter apathy isn’t rooted in or even a side effect of “candidate apathy”.
I think you would be hard pressed to find a candidate or elected officials who wouldn’t agree that apathy is an issue. Everyone talks about increasing voter turn-out... but is this any more than lip service? The Western Star has given all candidates equal footing to voice their ideas and thoughts on their respective municipalities. Although when looking through the ‘soapbox’ webpage, I note I am the only one who has voiced a thought or idea. In theory I don’t need to maintain a blog as I have been acclaimed; I have no goal of winning the hearts of voters... but a blog of this nature means more than just earning a vote. It allows the residents of our communities to connect with their potential officials. It is a pathway to ensure accessibility and accountability.
One could certainly say that the written word may be outside the comfort zone of some candidates... but to only have one blog active of the countless individuals seeking your vote is shocking. It is a display of apathy amongst candidates which has trickled down to the voters. My own command of the written word may be described as a feeble attempt at best but my goal is to make sure my constituents understand my thought processes and ideas... It is more than just writing for the sake of writing. It means letting the voters know you care. It means letting the voters know you can be counted on.
I suppose some candidates are cautious not to make claims or promises they may not be able to keep. I myself have some goals to accomplish over the next four years, but to quote Springsteen, “Is a dream a lie if it doesn’t come true?...” Voters know we cannot change the world... but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
P.S. I should note that some candidates have active blogs which exist external to the ‘soapbox’ however it would be prudent to at least have a link to help the voter. It would be helpful to have all links in one accessible location.