melagee

work in progress

Guest Blog: Truth in Politics

Posted by melagee on July 25, 2009

When Melanie asked me to write a guest post for her blogathon run, I accepted, but really had no idea what to write.  In fact, I’d held off of worrying about it ’till Thursday night when it occurred to me that a running argument with my parents might make for good content.  It’s something that’s been nagging at me since I ran for an MLA seat in the last provincial election and I suppose if I never write it out, it will never be written.

The thing is, I am so very tired of people complaining about how all politicians are liars.  I hear it all the time, especially when I talk about how I want to get deeper into politics: “Why would you want to do that? You seem like a nice guy and politicians can’t be trusted”.

The ugly truth though, the truth I didn’t really begin to understand until recently is that honesty will never exist in politics so long as the public continues to have unreasonable expectations for their leaders. We want free health care, but want taxes as low as those in the United States and we want movement on environmental reform, but flip out if the price of gas goes up a few cents.  The truth is that nearly every key issue in modern politics is just a balancing act between trying to do what’s Right and not pissing off too many people to lose your job.

Don’t kid yourself, this is our problem, not the politician’s. They’ve been trying for years to do what’s Right while everyone else has been screaming that it’s either (a) not good enough, or (b) scary and/or wrong. If we want responsible and honest leadership, we as citizens of a (pseudo-)democracy have a responsibility to inform ourselves and make the same efforts our leaders are making to understand the situation.  Only then will a politician be able to stand in front of the lot of us and be honest, because they’ll be giving us the good news with the bad.

So here’s some truth to get you started:

  • Real environmental change is going to require sacrifice.  Not too much though if we do it Right.  We need to move away from unsustainable suburban lifestyles and begin converting these communities into self-contained, rail-based communities that aren’t dependent on private automobiles. This is going to hurt, but it has to be done if we expect our grand kids to enjoy living.
  • Movement on copyright reform and net neutrality is the Right thing to do, but if we’re going to do it, we have to be willing to stand against the US and to a larger extent NAFTA and the WTO and whatever they may do in retaliation.  These entities profit considerably in the areas of copyright and telecommunications and to move on this will piss off a lot of powerful people.

I’m running out of time, so I’m afraid that I can’t add any more, but that’s a start.  Remember that a necessary requirement for a strong Democracy is an educated public.  This isn’t just so we can’t be duped by pretenders to the crown, but it’s equally crucial for us to be able to accept the bad news that comes with the change we know we need.

Daniel Quinn is a close friend and the source of many thought-provoking conversations.  He is always growing, and always expanding his base of expertise by trying new things.  He’s also one of the few people I know that doesn’t lie down in the face of adversity; when he sees something wrong,or room for improvement, he does something about it.  He’s not just empty words, though it is worth noting that his words are also pretty awesome.  You can check out more of them at his own blog, Searching for Tao.

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3 Responses to “Guest Blog: Truth in Politics”

  1. […] This post was Twitted by searchingfortao […]

  2. Thanks Mel! You make me sound fabulous 🙂

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