“What”, you ask, “do vegetarians and voters have to do with each other?”
Well, apart from the obvious – they both start with “V”, the letter of the day for the A-Z Blogging Challenge – they are both about choices and outcomes.
Eating a strictly vegetarian (or vegan – hereafter any reference to vegetarianism can be assumed to include the more restrictive prescriptions of veganism unless otherwise noted) diet is a matter of choice, just as eating meat products is a choice – and there are further choices within the confines of each type of diet which lead to different outcomes: conditions like obesity, malnutrition or heart disease being the result of poor choices.
For example, a poorly planned vegetarian diet can be high in fat, potentially increasing risk of obesity. As well, there are some nutrients like essential amino acids which can’t be synthesized by the body. These are readily found in meats, as well as dairy products and eggs, but are only found in a handful of plant derived foods – fortunately, the correct combination of foods (beans and rice, for example) in a vegetarian diet can combine to deliver these essential amino acids. But not understanding this can lead to malnutrition.
There are certainly benefits – both physical and possibly psychological (if you object on moral grounds to eating foods derived from living creatures) – to a well balanced vegetarian diet, and even choosing a “mostly vegetarian” diet can have very beneficial effects on health.
And that brings us to voters – they also have choices, which result in outcomes. In this case, however, it is often much less easy to determine whether a particular choice in an election will have a positive or negative outcome. The fear of making the wrong choice often seems to lead voters to throw up their hands and not exercise their franchise, leading to poor turnouts and a government elected without the support of the majority of the population.
In Canada, we are presently in the final few days of an election campaign and there is once again a real possibility that voter turnout will be extremely low. If you’re eligible to vote in the federal election, I urge you to make the small effort required to get out and vote. I won’t try to sway you to vote for any particular outcome, but if you don’t vote you will have no say at all in what the results will bring in terms of future policies and the fundamental nature of the country we live in.
I’ve already cast my ballot in one of the advanced polls – if you have too, congratulations. For the rest of you, make sure you get out to vote on May 2nd, 2011.