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Friday, 29 July 2011

Doug Ford and Margaret Atwood (Cont.)

Doug Ford is alleged to have challenged Margaret Atwood to run for office if she has opinions on public matters. I hope she ignores him. Ms. Atwood has a very noble and respectable profession on which she has worked long and hard. Delving into the cesspool of politics should be beneath her.

Thinking about Mr. Ford’s alleged challenge raised a few questions. Does Mr. Ford assume that riding on his brother’s coattails gives him some type of authority? Does riding the crest of the current political mood grant him the right to act like a school yard bully calling someone out? I hope not!

Riding the crest of political trends is trilling while it lasts but in the longer term it is like getting drunk and the hangover waits. It wasn’t that long ago when Ontario’s electors bought into Mike Harris’s ‘Common Sense Revolution’ though few not openly admit to it.

I once worked for Elections Ontario where a wall poster proudly proclaimed that: ‘The Informed Voter is the Sword of Democracy.’ I never disagreed with that but I do take task with the notion that many voters are actually informed. Most are guided by advertising campaigns that reinforce whatever discontent they are currently feeling. Electors are, for the most part, mobs to be led.

It has often been said that we do not elect Governments – they just throw them out. If that is true then it is a very short-sighted way of doing things. But have we not become a very short-sighted people? We seem to stagger and reel from one political fad to another. Back when I worked for the Government I met people who were born into their ideology! Really! Their families always voted for a certain party and they continued the tradition regardless of the fact that we live in an ever changing world.

It does make me stop and consider what we mean by ‘qualified’ voters.

When I think about it Democracy is just another con-job. The will of the true majority is never proportionally represented and is constantly twisted. Most of us are not informed and less of us would consider the long term good over our own immediate needs; and even less of us would be willing give up what we have for the common good. Democracy is nothing more than pandering to the largest single mob to the detriment of others. It produces politicians whose own views are less important than their need to pander to public perception – if they hope to be re-elected. Who among them would be willing to sacrifice popularity for the common and long term good – good that they might not get credit for?

I know there are a few; good decent people that have convictions and are willing to suffer slings and arrows for them. Likewise there are good ‘informed’ voters who seek to support the common good. But the problem is that most of us do not pay enough attention to them, preferring instead to focus on the louder, brasher voices that speak to our personal peeves.

I think we should all go back into the hills and think about we are heading.

I would recommend bringing a few good books along, perhaps something by Margaret Atwood?