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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.

Monday 1 October 2012

Tim Powers - Taking Partisanship Too Far

Partisan politics isn't about doing or saying what's right - it's about what will either build up your brand or tear down your opponent.  Fair's got nothing to do with it - judgements are crafted by the victors.  This is why virulent partisanship fails our country.
I think sometimes the backroom folk get so caught up in their quest for political dominance that they forget how to see their opponents (and even their own teammates) as people.  Respected adversaries, perhaps, but ones to be torn down by whatever means can be gotten away with.  That's where spin comes in - as much as spin is about reframing the narrative for an audience, it's about dopping your own integrity to do what you feel you have to do in the darkness.
Yeah, that's right - I'm looking at you, Tim Powers.
Powers seems to be really good at this.  He sees no reason to question some of the questionable acts committed by the State of Israel.  He suggests that, by casting aspersions on the actions of a State actor, Omar Alghabra is expressing Anti-Semitic sentiments (although he very carefully, or very fearfully, never says this plainly).  Correct me if I'm wrong, Tim, but there are a fair number of Jews in the broader diaspora that question some of the State of Israel's choices.  Does that suggest they are Anti-Semitic Jews?
How about Canadians?  I definitely question a whole host of actions - some that seem pretty blatantly bigoted  - committed by our current Conservative government (PS - the parrot is dead, Tim).  Does that make me anti-Canadian?  I'm sure both Tim and I take issue with Quebec separatists - does that, then, make us anti-French?
Of course, if you follow the thread of Powers' argument carefully, you'll realize it's all just a slight of wordcraft.  He uses analogies that aren't apt, but in so doing never addresses the matter directly.  He talks around the issue, rather than saying what he's suggesting in clear prose.  But we're not meant to look behind the curtain of spin and Powers rests assured that, busy as we are, we won't.  He wants to make this dig stick, especially as his professional spin-meister skills are being challenged, but it gets harder for him to keep his top from tilting as he goes on.  How much of that is out of professional pride and political gamesmanship - and how much because deep down, he's got a big case of cognitive dissonance going on?
I get how politics is played.  It's a two-dimensional arms race for political clout and voter blocks; with us or against us, our guys are perfect, yours are out to destroy the country.  We're not sanctimonious, we're justified - it's the other guys who have sold their soul for a seat at the table.  What partisan politics loses, however, is sincerity and integrity
That's as true for individuals as it is for Parties on the whole.  I wonder, in his quiet moments, if Powers questions whether he has abused his position and gone too far.  I imagine he does, and that this doubt lingers like a splinter in his mind.  Some of his fellow political warriors pour their challenged faith into songs or blogs or prayer.  I wonder if Tim does something like that.
Don't worry, Tim - if not, I'm sure somebody's praying for you.

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