The problem with politics?
Here we are, like it or not, an election looming. The public has great cynicism and occasional despair when we consider our options. After all it is not about us and what we want; the political process and governance is captured by a tiny fraction of citizens and their representatives, in total about two per cent of Canadians belong to or are active in political parties, yet this small group largely sets the agenda for and the tone of politics and decision-making. Those in power or seeking it seem to be relatively satisfied with this arrangement perhaps most Canadians are not, we can only hope.
We lavish on our children the directions for social conformity and civility, and then we allow our leaders to behave in a highly public and highly dysfunctional manner. The media loves it, it is their bread and butter. One key problem, old men and most importantly the outdated, calcified ideas of old men; age may be an indicator but it is not the definer here. Young men and woman that act, behave and think like old men serve us no better.
To the young set some advice. If you want change, get involved but not on the terms the current politics would dictate. Change the thinking. Ask questions about honesty, compassion, honour, civility, equality, fairness and justice. These are not political terms or ideas they are societal concepts that indicate whether the person in power believes in all of us or just their friends and allies.
Look your candidate or elected representative in the eye, not the iPhone, and see if they squirm or can fix your gaze. Deception is almost impossible to shield face to face, many politicians only surround themselves with supporters so rarely get this test.
If you really wish to see change, here is some counterintuitive advice, remember that two per cent. Join a political party you do not support, encourage friends to do the same so it won’t be so lonely. This is both daring and subversive; change from the inside is always more effective and enduring than battling at the ramparts.
In the end recognize that politics is broken and may never be fixed. Remember also that it is ultimately the public, not the politicians or politically connected, that can change things or that will sit on their hands and complain. That is how we got here to begin with; the public trusted others to do our job in a democratic and civil society.