Yesterday, Ontarians rejected a new, more democratic system that would enhance the power of voters.
Why? Fear. Fear of something new. Fear of something a bit too complicated for comfort.
All arguments put forward to defend First Past the Post and defame Mixed Member Proportional can be boiled down to fear.
This is yet another example of the current shameless trend of rationalization, or "truthiness", meaning thinking with your gut (or places south of it) and then dreaming up something pseudo-logical to defend that gut feeling. Mr. Bush's neocons perfected the art, and now Ontarians have borrowed a page from his book.
Some things you may have heard about MMP:
"It's too complicated."
Really? And you drive a car?
"Parties can appoint whoever they want, and we'll have hacks not accountable to voters."
Yes, they might, even though most parties have promised to elect candidates as they do now. But if you don't like that you can directly punish them at the polls, which today is not a clear option. Look at the rest of the world, has this fear been realized? No.
"Majorities will become extinct, and they are needed to force change."
If someone deserves a majority, like Danny Williams, MMP will give them one. Otherwise, minority governments will force the benefits of compromise, creativity and deeper analyses of issues. This is sure to be a better long-term strategy than the juvenile tactics seen today. Recall the actions of recent Ontario majorities, from wholesale Conservative sell-offs to private nepotism to the Liberal's wildly unpopular health tax. Are actions like this worth keeping?
Fear won today, and in the long run we all lose. Our children will not thank us for using our guts instead of our brains.