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Tomorrow We Make a Big Decision
Tomorrow Canadians go to the polls. Our election was called six weeks ago, so we haven't lived through two and a half years of an election circus like most of you readers; we have only lived through six weeks of it, and that's enough for me.

Currently we have a Conservative minority government, which means that the Conservatives have the most seats in our Parliament, but they don't have enough to guarantee that anything they want passes. So they've had a hard time getting their agenda across. The called the election hoping for a majority; at the time, the polls seemed to support it. Today it looks much more bleak.

One of my favourite columnists, Michael Coren, wrote this about our election, and I think it applies to the American one, too (just insert "America" rather than "Canada"). So I give this to you to muse over today:

It's about people who bemoan the lack of public childcare as opposed to those who know we already had the best childcare and it's called parenting.

It's about those who feel Canada as a home and a heart as opposed to those who think of Canada as a concept and a social experiment.

About those who view taxation as a necessary evil to be used to help the most unfortunate as opposed to those who want to use taxes to change the very nature of Canadian society.

About those who believe that Canada is public broadcasting, state education and the Charter of Human Rights as opposed to those who see it as pioneers, personal initiative, sacrifice and courage.

About those who want a clean environment for the sake of their children as opposed to those who want a clean environment because they prefer the planet to its inhabitants.

About moms and dads rather than caregivers and nannies, about real communities as opposed to artificial communes, about having a thick skin and a sense of humour as opposed to being constantly oversensitive and complaining about and demanding an apology for any remark that offends your politically correct sensibilities.

About a Canada based firmly on our traditions and values as opposed to a Canada destroyed and then rebuilt on notions that are entirely foreign to our way of life.

I'm always amazed by people who switch back and forth between parties at each election. I suppose if you're truly in the middle it doesn't matter. But most of us have a concept of how life should be; we either want more government to take care of the problems, or less government so that fewer problems are caused in the first place. You must fall on one end of the spectrum or the other! I think it's just that people don't always realize which side of the spectrum the political parties fall on, because they don't always articulate it easily. But it is simple: Republicans (and Conservatives) in general want less government and more personal responsibility; Democrats (and Liberals and the NDP) want more government to solve our problems. So which are you?

I know that's an overgeneralization, and that Republicans have done little to curb spending, but that is the ideological framework the parties fall under.

And I think of it like this: the main way that people learn is through consequences. There's a reason for that, too: God set up the principle "you reap what you sow". It's present in nature; and it's present in human nature, too. We are supposed to reap what we sow, and that is how we learn.

That's also how we turn to God. The Prodigal Son returned to the Father after he had reaped what he had sown. When he had completely hit rock bottom he realized how much he needed the Father. He repented. And he returned.

When we interfere with the whole reap-sow continuum, I think we interfere with a very important part of human nature. If we try to seal people off from the consequences of their actions, it's highly unlikely they will learn from them. And it's even more likely that they will develop a victim mentality, where everybody is supposed to fix my life for me. If things go badly for me, people should pick up the pieces. And that's not right.

But there's another philosophical problem that divides the two parties, and it's this one: which is the basic social unit, the family or the government? Does it take a village, or does it take a family to raise a child? I believe it takes families. In fact, I believe that without families, villages will fail. The basic social unit must be the family. It is how we were created, it is where our allegiance lies, and it is family that keeps us rooted.

Not all families are great, of course, but we have the ability to form new families as adults, and to escape dysfunctional ones. But who should we rely on in times of trouble: the family or the government?

Right now the government is getting so large and failing so miserably because it is attempting to do things that the family should be doing on its own. So many family functions have been offloaded onto the schools. Many health issues have been taken up by the government. And so on and so on. And it's no wonder that families are now very fragile.

If the family is the basic social unit, then people's outlook towards government and society is one of responsibility. I am responsible for myself, and I am responsible to act appropriately. If the government is the basic social unit, on the other hand, and it solves all problems, then people's basic outlook towards society and culture is one of rights: you owe me, you can't criticize me, I have the right to do whatever I want.

Now rights, of course, have their good sides, just as government has its good side. I realize that I have painted a very black and white picture here, and I know it's not as simple as that, but this is a blog, not a treatise on government.

That, however, is what informs my political views, and it's why I'm voting Conservative tomorrow in Canada's election. I hope more Canadians join me, but I know that ultimately every election is in God's hands, and He knows the outcome. He sets up kings and deposes them. I have to keep telling myself that right now as I look at both elections.

I feel so privileged to be able to vote. And as much as I disagree with the other parties, all the parties we have to choose from are infinitely better than the governments that run many of the world's repressed countries. We are truly blessed.

And since today is Canadian Thanksgiving, that's one of the thing I'm saying Thanks for. Thank you for the freedom to vote; and thank you for our good, though imperfect, political system. We are blessed indeed.

To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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At 11:13 AM , Blogger Terry, Ornament of His Grace said…

"When we interfere with the whole reap-sow continuum, I think we interfere with a very important part of human nature. If we try to seal people off from the consequences of their actions, it's highly unlikely they will learn from them. And it's even more likely that they will develop a victim mentality, where everybody is supposed to fix my life for me. If things go badly for me, people should pick up the pieces. And that's not right."

Amen, Sheila! This is the biggest problem with the direction my country is headed, and it seems your is as well. I wonder if proponents of what is becoming a world wide government bailout will feel about the values you espouse here.


At 12:37 PM , Blogger pedalpower said…

I agree with you about reaping what we sew and personal responsibility. Unfortunately I think the Republicans are wrapping themselves up in those words and concepts..but they don't walk their talk. Usually their version of that translates into doing away with pensions and such....which in the end translates into more $ for big business...and people who are poor in retirement. And that's just one issue. So we part company when it comes to picking a party.

Also, I'm with you on the family being the building block of society. We need strong families or it all falls apart. And I do think it takes a in friends and family and churches who take an interest in helping and being community for young families. For a while we lived away from our families and friends while we had young kids, so we know how important that is. If you read Mrs. Clinton's book you see that that is what she was talking about. The Dems may want more options for childcare (while I think we need moms or dads home with kids) but I don't think they want to take our kids away.


At 1:10 PM , Blogger Terry, Ornament of His Grace said…

At the risk of causing dissension on your blog, I have to politely disagree with pedalpower. if youread a detailed review of Sen. Clinton's platform or Sen. Obamam's platform, it is abundantly clear that the base of the Democratic party (on which the NEA has a strangle hold) wants more and more influence over our children at younger and younger ages. this is why California homeschoolers have had to fight their battles in the courts this year. And we all know that every activist group goes to NY and CA first to build precedent for their position. They may not want to "take our kids away" but they certainly don't want parents to be the dominant influence. Especially if the parents are religious or conservative.

For the record, I am neither Dem. or Rep. I lean libertarian more than anything else. And I do agree with her that the Republicans have their share of problems as well.


At 3:14 PM , Blogger pedalpower said…

Goodness, we could argue all day about both parties...and they both have problems. I find myself a rather conservative democrat...which is frustrating because rarely does either party give us a candidate who is not radically right or left. I also vote based on many issues not just one. I vote who I think will be the better influence on our nation, state, or city (depends on the election) and not strictly party line.

Anyway Sheila, I hope your election day goes well and things turn out the best for your country.

Reap and sow. Good grief, I need to watch my spelling! LOL


At 10:59 PM , Blogger LisaM said…

Good thinking! I'm not a citizen of your country yet - though I live here - and this year I cannot decide who to "vote" for or even lean towards in my home country to the South. My husband is a conservative Canadian, and I tend to agree with him on the political scene here. But, we live near a big city, and I am always concerned about the way that the bigger the city is, the more likely that the majority will be dissatisfied with the way things are and vote for a change, regardless of what the change is. Pity.

Found your blog as a link on Ornaments of His Grace.


At 8:05 PM , Blogger BarbaraLee said…

So you have problems w/your gov. too.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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