Guest Column on the Election
First off, I'd like to say I know it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, but considering that my first article was on the 2016 American election, I figured it would be a nice return to form to write on this upcoming Canadian federal election. Now I’m not writing this editorial to convince anyone how to vote, I’m sure by the time anybody reads this thing you’ve already decided who you’re going to choose, but rather I wanted to talk about an issue I’ve been faced with as a youth in general but especially during this election.
As a person who was pretty active in this community I’ve gone to a pretty sizeable amount of political gatherings and while I’ve always learned a ton of stuff, I always tend to come away with one quite sinking feeling, that many people don’t think I can have my own opinions, or be a contributor to a discussion just because I am only 19. Over and over again people make comments or outright tell me that my personal views don’t mean anything or aren't even real because I have a politically active parent, which is true if you’ve ever met my mom. What most people don’t realize is just like anyone I form my own opinions, and just because I agree with the same party she does, doesn't mean that I haven’t done my own research and certainly doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything she does, considering the healthy debates constantly raging in my home, in fact, it ensures I have done due diligence in knowing why I support who I do. In preparation for the enumerable questions of people needling, in an attempt to somehow reveal that I don’t know anything I research just to prove a point; it is fun to launch a well-researched tirade on the Conservative Climate change platform or the Liberal importation of Saudi-Arabian Oil. However, even if I can manage to convince people that I at least know what I’m talking about it is an absolutely entirely other issue to get people to see me as someone intellectually equal to them. People love it when I agree with them; they get to spout the same rhetoric they would with anyone else that agrees with them, waxing poetic about reserves or natural resources, anything as long as it doesn’t let me get a word in edgewise. This certainly becomes an issue when these people refuse to believe I can add anything to a conversation, which really stops it from being a conversation at all. I suppose that happens to everyone when you get an old conservative riled up about his/her politics. What I find to be a much worse issue is when you disagree with someone's politics, on either side of the spectrum. If I, at any point, bring up a differing opinion I am once again suddenly a simpering child who is either too idealistic, too young to know how the real world works, or not thinking critically about the impacts of said opinion, more often than not it’s all of the above. This is obviously ridiculous, not only does my age not dictate at all my ability to have a well thought out opinion but also as a younger person I have the unique ability to look at problems from a different perspective, now of all times this is most clear as youth and child activists make bigger impacts than any other.
Greta Thunberg is only 15 and she’s going around the world raising awareness for climate change, sure it may be a little ridiculous to tell Canada it has to get its act together considering we emit less then 2% of the world’s greenhouse gasses, but climate change is a big issue right now and to really get the ball rolling on talking about it the world needed a youth to come in and start a campaign, but lets be reasonable in our expectations. We can have resource extraction in this country, a country with the highest environmental standards in the world. Let’s hold countries like India and China accountable. We are not the issue; it’s our lack of holding those who are the worst emitters accountable. That’s the real issue. We don’t have the power to hold them accountable and therefore we go after places like Canada because it’s easy and it makes them feel in control of the climate situation.
If you take away anything from this guest editorial here's my call to action if your a politically minded person or you meet someone who is, especially if they are a youth, don’t dismiss them out right. Talk to them, debate with them, treat them as you would any other intellectually stimulating adult, because age is not a deciding factor in forming opinions, values and choosing things to care about.
As we move into a more sensitive and open-minded age, they most likely will give you something to think about.