Political distaste
FTLComm - Tisdale - Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In many families politics is just something people don't talk about, in others it is sort of confined to issues that come up in the news from time to time. In our family, politics local, provincial, federal and international, were something we included in every meal, it was as important as dessert and seemed to give us all nourishment. As a kid, perhaps even before I could butter my own bread, I was butting in to the adult political conversations and our family encouraged the participation. When I came to have a family of my own, this tradition was maintained and my sons joined in with the conversations at every evening dinner. My sons, just as I had done, looked forward to family gatherings for this special part of each meal, dessert and political discussion.


Those who are regular readers of this web site will have noticed that in the past few years the political articles and illustrations have become less and less common. There is a reason for this, it has just taken me longer than most other folks, political discussion has lost its flavour. That's right, it just doesn't taste right and I have found that it is getting worse. There is only so much head shaking a person can do before you begin to feel frustration creeping into one's awareness and when that happens, instead of weighing issues and talking about them rationally, the terms of reference become laced with rhetoric and perhaps a fair amount of cynicism.

The nature of political thought is, that in a free and open society, we have learned that conversation and discussion and help us understand the issues that seem to be coming up and through disagreement and working out the ideas involved, we can refine our thinking and sharpen up our awareness. This is where the bad taste seems to be coming from.

Politics really should not be like religion, which is reliant upon faith. Blind simplistic beliefs that one either accepts or rejects. In religion there is not much room for rational thought, well that is the case in many sects where dogma and acceptance of so-called fundamentalism dictate that any and all questions are considered heresy. That is not what an open society would want for their political thought, in a democracy, criticism and disagreement are the grit that produce creative and positive resolution to problems and issues. But that sour taste that has been developing here and throughout our country, and most certainly seems to be the only kind of political discussion south of the border, is essentially highly polarized dogmatic belief oriented shouting. The sort of stuff, we in our family would refer to as "closed mindedness."

When leaders invoke faith and beliefs in setting the course for their action, we are seeing the sort of thing that produced World War II, the sort of thing that revolutions are made of, because with dogma, political discussion is a waste of breath and action, most often violent action, is the only option left.


I don't think that is what we want. We should be able to debate issues, learning from those with whom we disagree and reaching compromises whereby agreement can be reached and a course of action settled upon. The political party in the United States that lost the last presidential election seems firmly to "believe" that a black man has no place as leader of their country and that belief has turned the dialogue, that might once have been about political thought, to extremism and pure and simple anti-democratic outrage. They who hold these views call themselves "tea party" supporters and model their outlook on the violent revolution from which their country was born. The United States of America was not formed as Canada was, by people who worked out compromises and made peaceful agreements with one another. The United States was born out of violence, a plain and simple rebellion, where a country was formed with guns and swords.

This past week, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission granted the right to a company called Quebecor Media to establish a television news network with one point of view. Slanted news is the goal of this company and it is closely tied to the prime minister of our country, who's former top advisor was the company's head man until he stepped down from that role in October when it became obvious that the Prime Minister was being linked to their project.

Political leaders and politicians in the United States are quite simply corrupt. They get elected by using advertising that is dripping with venom and paid for by uncontrolled corporations and interests groups. That is not democracy, that is how Adolph Hitler came to power almost 75 years ago. You can see why I have lost my taste for politics, Canadians are already following the American model and by his actions, it is clear the present prime minister, is diametrically opposed to the kind of political discussion that my family and our country saw as fundamental.

Now I don't want to leave this discussion at this point, because you need to understand that drawn to its logical conclusion, a single political and economic view point that disparages and consorts to subvert anything that opposes it, cannot be dealt with in a fair and democratic society. The very nature of authoritarianism and totalitarianism is to rule by legal means, in such a way that any and all opposition is illegal. If you look at the current political agenda in this country, with crime actually declining across the country and the government entering into a massive jail building programme with "law and order" legislation to move this country toward a police state, you will begin to understand that we are in trouble. Alberta's government has a plan to create American style non-universal healthcare and you can bet the federal government based in Alberta will be eager to make that a national plan.


Your country is going backward. Canada's quality of life, once among the best in the world, is certain to succumb to American standards, where the main portion of the population are dramatically poor, with the national average of less than 70% of high school students staying in school to finish, while in Canada that percentage is well above 80% in almost all of the country. Canadians live longer because of our health care system and in general, we are better educated and the division between the wealthy and the poor is not the great chasm that exists in the United States. Health, education and financial well being are all in danger. Crime is low in our country, yet our lawmakers insist it needs to be hammered and the freedoms of all Canadians further eroded, just as the rights and freedoms of Americans are substantially inferior to our own. But, don't blame our politicians, it was many of you who voted Conservative and gave a mere 35% supported political party the opportunity to govern.

You do not need a majority to gain and weld political power. Hitler took over Germany and never had more that 35% support of the people, similarly Lenin was able to overthrow the democratically elected Russian Duma with a minority party, the word "Bolshevik" means minority and once in power, HItler launched programmes to gain world domination, exterminate minorities and all of what he did was completely legal. Stalin succeeded Lenin and took his country into a horrific civil war, killing and imprisoning millions while creating a massive famine.

The goals of a society need to be betterment through education, improved quality of life through universal health and social programmes, financial security for everyone, not just the wealthy and an intellectual environment where free and open discussion are honoured, respected and the means to formulating public policy.