Grace had a very progressive political philosophy for a product of the WWII generation. She grew up in a house with a male feminist. In previous posts, I have talked about how my grandfather believed this his ‘girls’ needed to be educated and knowledgeable. A pretty radical thought for someone born in 1860’s Scotland. She wasn’t all that far removed from the generation of women who weren’t able to vote. Those people included her grandmothers, aunts and mother. Voting was a sacred trust.
Grace’s rule 525 was Vote or Stop Whining and Don’t Ask for Anything.
In her words, the nature of politics is to pander to the lowest common denominator. Take from the rich and give to the poor. Better known as the Robin Hood Syndrome. The problem is that the definition of rich has changed a lot. In NDP parlance, it is anyone making more than $150,000 a year. Highly unlikely, in Manitoba, someone making $150,000 a year is paying better than 60% of their salary in taxes (income tax, sales tax, education tax, gas tax and so on).
She was always the person the local politicians feared. You see my mother might have been one of the few people at the time that could take your speech verbatim in shorthand. She was the only one who could read it and it caused a lot of angst when she got out that pad and pencil.
In order to get Grace’s vote, the candidate needed to be
- a candidate for who this wasn’t going to be a full time job. She always asked where you worked, how long you had worked there and what your contribution would be to the betterment of the planet. You see Manitoba is part of the planet. She detested double dippers. You know the ones. They worked for the Federal or Provincial government, retired and are now looking to re-retire after 4 to 6 years with a better pension. We have one of those in my riding. She was a big fan of term limits. She often said it prevented organization stupidity.
- a candidate who passed basic arithmetic. Someone more worried about spending what they have rather than getting more from those of us who already pay through the nose. There is no middle class in Manitoba. There is only the taxed class.
- a candidate who understands that the government has NO money. The money they have comes from the Bank of The Taxpayers. We, the taxpayers, don’t have unlimited funds. If you tax us into the poor house, there will be no money to spend and all the taxes will go unpaid. Maybe, it is time to consider a flat income tax. Everyone pays, let’s say 10% of gross. No rebates.
- a candidate who was willing to challenge the status quo. There could be no sacred cows. Everything must be one the table. Processes haven’t changed in some parts of our agencies for 50 years. It is time for change. Change isn’t necessary bad but it is necessary.
- a candidate who will take the money for health care, education and other agencies out of general revenue and put them in proper cost centers. She often said the government didn’t know the real cost of anything. 85% of money for health care and education is salaries. So the next time, you start whining about equipment, remember it is salaries or equipment but not both.
- a candidate who is willing to say no and not worry about their next election results. Not every special interest group is worthy of money. She grew up in an era when you did for yourself and your family. You didn’t expect others to do for you. Her take on universal child care would frequently start a fight. I can remember her telling me, you are responsible to ensure she has what she needs. Not the rest of the world.
- She would make sure that people who talked about staying away where abdicating their responsibility to the rest of us. The bottom line is VOTE. If 100% of the eligible voters turned out, imagine:
What a message that would send!
She would tell you:
- Be informed.
- And … damn it, get off your backside, got to the polls, and vote. Silence means you agree with the minority who vote.
- Your vote is your voice. Silence isn’t golden when you refuse to vote. It is an abdication of responsibility.
She would tell you that it is apathy that caused the NDP to win with about 34% of the 54% of people who voted. That is not a majority. It is a crime against democracy.
She is right. Those who didn’t vote gave the NDP a mandate to stop listening, to be unaccountable, and to spend our province into a debt that my and your great great grandchildren will pay for.
Just Act On Grace’s Rule 525: Vote. Because … If you don’t vote, don’t whine. If you don’t vote, you are owed nothing. If you don’t vote, you compromise the future of your parents, children, family and society.
A word of caution: The TV series, House of Cards, is more real than you would believe.