I’ve always been interested in politics. Even before I knew I was.
When I graduated high school, I told my grade 11 Canadian history teacher that I was going in to computer science and she was horrified that I wouldn’t be going in to political studies or something of that nature. I think she knew something that I didn’t know at the time. Many years later… many, many years later. I’m still trying to figure that out. She went on to be a Canadian senator (not the hockey kind) and I went on to be software developer. Sometimes I wonder if I might have served the world better if I’d followed in her footsteps.
So I do what I think is my part. I try to stay reasonably informed. I always get out and vote and I try to vote with an awareness of why I’m voting whatever way I do. I’ve read Churchill’s History of the English Speaking People partly because the development of our democracy and why it works the way it does is so darn interesting. And I’ve recently read Joe Clark’s How We Lead and am working on Elizabeth May’s Losing Confidence.
Recently I’ve upped the ante. I suspect people have noticed. I’ve joined the Green Party. I’ve got involved with Fair Vote Canada and Lead Now. But the most obvious symptom is my almost daily, and sometimes many times daily, posts and shares and comments on social media about current Canadian political issues.
In a social media world of cute cats and (funny?) videos of skateboarding accidents, I often wonder if I’m being a terrible, horrible, awful bore. I can’t help but think a whole host of friends have probably blocked me on their feed because they are sick to death of my rants about our current Dear Leader’s destruction of, well, pretty much everything; from our environment to our democratic system to our social safety net to our international reputation.
But I’m not apologizing.
I think back on the Reform Party and while a lot of their far right agenda worried me, I really appreciated Preston Manning’s honesty and forthrightness. Most of all, I appreciated his desire to remake government to something far more participatory, open and grass roots.
Somewhere that great idea has gone horribly off the rails as Reform’s descendent, the Conservative Party of Canada, has taken power away even from the MPs and has concentrated it in the PMO (The Prime Minister’s Office). A group of party-loyal bureaucrats who now run our country with a tightly controlled message, a dogmatic party policy, and a secrecy beyond anything we’ve known.
This is not good for Canada. This isn’t good for taxpayers (although we might pay slightly less tax, we’re going to pay for this in loads of other ways that are not good), this isn’t good for the environment, for social justice, for children, for the sick, the poor, the middle class, the illiterate, the refugees, the military and servicemen. It isn’t good for anybody except the Conservative Party of Canada and some elite oil barons.
So maybe I’m boring and dull and interrupting a few cute cat videos but I’m pretty sure that the powerful elite would like to keep everyone doped up on the cute cats so we can all be herded around like the sheep we have become.
The worst thing we can do is be complacent.
Oh wait, when do we get to the fun part? That was all kinda depressing, you say.
The fun part is, that despite all the talk about all politicians being dirty and untrustworthy, I don’t buy it.
Remember my high school teacher? She cared passionately about this country and felt she could contribute something valuable. And she did introduce some very positive legislation. Preston Manning is still out there working hard for positive change in this country and has even, quietly, stated some disappointment with the current government. Joe Clark, another honest, forthright man who, more than probably any current politician, deserves to be called a statesman. Elizabeth May who cares passionately about environmental issues; so much so she took up politics precisely because of her concern for the environment and has now picked up the cause of social justice and good government as well.
There are caring, compassionate, interesting, optimistic, and inspiring people in politics. I want to share their passion and optimism and be inspired by new ideas and a positive vision for our country and society.
So, if you’re not inspired, or just plain bored, I hope I’m not getting on your nerves. But if you’re interested and want a good chat, let me know. 🙂