Tuesday, October 14, 2008

election day

Here it is again, another day in which we collectively decide who's going to make decisions for the country for the next few years. I am always puzzled by the emphasis on voting for the party leaders: Vote for Harper! Vote for Layton! Vote for Dion! Vote for May! Gee, I don't know if these guys know much about the way the Canadian voting system works, but uh... I can't vote for any of those people.... None of them is running in my riding.

I need to vote for the person who is best going to represent me and my views in Parliament. I don't think the person I'm going to vote for will win, but that's OK. My vote still counts because I will have made my views known. I don't approve of every policy of every party. In fact, several views have been expressed with which I heartily disagree, throughout the election campaign, and previously. But I believe we need balance in government: we need representation from all the parties in order to best make the best decisions; choices that reflect what Canadians want.

What bugs me is when politics get...well, political. When politicians try so hard to say what they think Canadians want to hear, instead of asserting their views, speaking up for what they believe. This is pretty idealistic, I know, but I do wish politicians would just be (oh I can't believe I'm going to use this word...) honest! When there's an issue being discussed in the House of Commons, why must they vote according to what the party wants? Why not vote the way they truly believe is right? or the way that best represents their constituents? (Remember Chuck Cadman voting in favour of bill C-48? He listened to his constituents and made his decision. Regardless of the result of the vote, Chuck Cadman earned a lot of respect for that move).

Oh, these are rhetorical questions... I already know the answers. But I can dream, can't I? Have you noticed, though, that the individual who is most successful in the debate is the one with the least pressure on him or her? The one who isn't trying so hard, but just being honest and straightforward about their position. Maybe if they all worked that way we could feel we were making an educated choice. Maybe we would trust our politicians more. (That's pretty funny.)

To quote Michael Franti of Spearhead (this was at a concert just before the 2000 US election): "Vote for your hopes, not your fears."

1 comment:

Ron Wodaski said...

About politics and honesty.

There is (actually serious) research on this. One can start with a simple question: what works better politically, honesty or lies?

The advantage goes to the liar most of the time. Why? An honest person has a simple job: tell the truth. However, you can't bend the truth to your requirements or the mood of the general public. You're stuck.

A liar can bend and twist and spin and, yes, even completely reverse their argument at any time. They just have to be smart enough (and often, merely persistent enough) to sell it.

In fact, the only time that an outright lie won't work is when you get caught, and for whatever reason, people care about it. Because if they don't take your getting caught seriously (cf Sarah Palin being officially reprimanded for abuse of power in political office), you might still get away with it.

This is probably some general principal of sociology, that a lie, being more flexible, is a more useful way than the truth to present your arguments.

Makes you want to write something to get even, doesn't it?