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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Friday 15 June 2012

Time To Renew

Politics is about more than just governance - it's about competition, being oneself at the expense of someone else.  This is as true between political Parties vying for dominance and control as it is between nations fighting over land, resources or economic supremacy.  

Partisanship is as much about tribalism as it is ideology.  In fact, when all ideologies are taken to extremes, they tend to bleed in to each other.

Brand is the flag we veil our tribalism in (my country right or wrong, etc.) that allows us to identify competitors as Other, thereby skirting around the Golden Rule.

Policy, on the other hand, must be inclusive and balanced to be effective.  This cannot be achieved if policy makers - partisan politicians - are putting tribal interests ahead of the common good. 

There is not a single political institution in history that has continuously overcome the temptation to skew the public good here or there for partisan gain.  Of course, no government in history has been held to the mass scrutiny that is possible today.  The politics of the present is projected in HD; every blemish is magnified a hundred fold.  Increasingly, we don't like what we're seeing reflected - and increasingly, there's no where to hide from the truth.

There is an undeniable reality emerging.  I'm going to one-up Andrew Coyne and say it's not just Political Parties or even our political system that needs a revamp to meet the needs of the time.  The changes happening out there are too vast for that; society as a whole is chafing under the skin of outdated institutions

It's us that needs to change. 

Identity is about the trickiest form of governance - over oneself and the face one presents to the world.  Our selves don't exist in isolation; we are surrounded by id.  Of course, we have always been more than islands; human beings have a deep yearning to belong, to be part of something greater than ourselves, to know and be known. Which is why we became tribal, or partisan, in the first place.

To make space for ourselves in an increasingly interwoven social landscape, we must become conscious of who we are, as individuals, and where we fit in the broader social organism.  The process of doing so will redefine how we see ourselves and, frighentingly, remove some of the barriers of perception that have made us feel safe, like a garden wall.  It's as those walls come down and we are forced to define ourselves as individuals whose actions have broader, social  consequences that we will begin to experience true freedom - not of body in space, but of mind in body.

For some, this process will be too much and seem too cataclysmic, almost sinful.  Those who cling to the comforts of tradition in the face of progression will fight against change, as they do every generation.  That is their choice, but they will inevitably get washed away in the tide of social transformation. 

After all, there are some laws that transcend short-term societal conventions: first among them, adapt to survive.

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