Oct. 16, 2015
Part of my job, every time an election rolls around, is to arrange meetings between my association’s leaders and our local candidates, a task made unduly onerous by a seeming obsession on the part of would-be pols with knocking on innocent and unsuspecting people's doors:
“I can’t come and meet with you on Tuesday; I’ll be knocking on doors.”
“Can we schedule something for 7 a.m.? Once 9 o’clock rolls around, I have to be knocking on doors.”
“I’ve been knocking on doors throughout the riding and, I have to tell you, the response has been terrific. Just terrific."
Really? Knocking on doors? Whose doors? And who is even at home when you’re out knocking on doors? Old people? Dogs? Me, because I work from home and am old and have dogs.
And yet, I can truthfully say that no candidate has ever knocked on my door when I was home. And I'm home a lot. Oh sure, campaign literature has been jammed into my mailbox, but I have yet, in my sixty-three years on this Earth, to hear the door bell, stop whatever semi-important (at least to me), thing I'm doing, descend the stairs two steps at a time, yelling, "I'm coming! I'm coming!" grab hold of the collar of the golden retriever barreling down the hall in the direction of the door, totally psyched about greeting the stranger at the gate, and attempt to wrangle said exuberant creature while opening the door the merest sliver . . . to encounter an actual candidate on the other side of it.
Not even once.
And that suits me. I’m not lounging around waiting for someone, anyone, to ring my doorbell so we can ... you know ... hang out. I’m working. Sometimes I’m on the toilet. Or cooking. Important stuff.
Having said that, I am sure there are still people who are impressed if a candidate shows up at their door. “What a nice young man!” they’ll say, or, “She cares enough about what I think that she came to my house and asked me!”
News flash, folks. Candidates are not running to be your best friend. They don't think you're special. They’re running to be entrusted with important decisions that will impact your life and those you love perhaps for generations. When just showing up gets your vote, you're setting that bar pretty low.
Some years ago I did encounter a candidate wandering around our old neighbourhood, trailed by a car bristling with yard signs. It reminded me of Halloween, when over protective parents anxiously trail Trick or Treaters, hovering just out of sight, but ready to spring into action should action be warranted. On spotting me, this candidate lit up like a jack-o-lantern, pasted a big grin on his face and strode with disturbing energy towards me, thrusting out his hand as he advanced. "I'm so and so," he said, "and I'm running for the Whatzit Party. Can I count on your vote?"
My vote is not a box of Girl Scout Cookies or a raffle ticket supporting junior hockey. I don’t give it to you just because you ask and there are zero brownie points for just showing up. In fact, I am far more likely to vote for you if you spend less time harassing the electorate and more time figuring out ways to create a Canada based on caring for the Earth and one another, no door knocking required.