Over the years, I’ve voted in many federal elections, in many different parts of this country. I’ve always voted NDP.
As often as not, I’ve marked my X beside a name I didn’t recognize, someone who had never knocked at my door, someone who, I never had any doubt, lived far far away. Wherever I am, I vote for a political party, and to be honest, I can’t relate to those people who say they vote for the candidate or who say, “they’re all the same.”
Whenever I’ve voted for this stranger on the ballot, I’ve spent a few sweet seconds imagining that people all over the riding are suddenly deciding to do the same thing I’m doing. I see myself watching the returns in great excitement later that evening, seeing my stranger, with the orange logo, elected or leading in my riding.
It never happened, of course. A couple of days after those elections, when the local paper printed the poll-by-poll results, I’d look at my poll and see my household’s two votes. One time, there were three and we had some interesting discussion trying to figure out which one of our neighbours might have joined us in voting NDP.
If any of my strangers had ever won, perhaps I and my fellow NDP voters would have been scoffed and sneered at and pitied as if we didn’t know any better and had really intended to vote for someone else. Oh yes, the way the mainstream media has now turned on the voters of Berthier-Maskinongé, having had their collective wrist slapped once too often for the despicable sexism they displayed in their coverage of the new MP, Ruth Ellen Brosseau.
Ruth Ellen is young and inexperienced and doesn’t live in the riding, not unlike many candidates across the country. She won. Some other inexperienced young people also won but they have not become household names.
There’s something about that long blonde hair — and her general attractiveness — that media people seem to think gives them licence to say whatever they want about her.
I’m excited about Ruth Ellen and her fellow first-time MPs. I’m envious of the experience her constituents had. For me — and for anyone who has ever voted for the faceless stranger — it’s a vicarious little victory and I’m happy to sit back and take pleasure in it.