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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 24 May 2013

When society is indifferent, democracy erodes - and hate flourishes

A Hungarian philosopher states the great challenge of our times - people are turning inward and becoming indifferent to the plight of others or the subtle corruptions of our governing institutions. At all levels, it was this “take what I can get” mentality that fuelled the European debt crisis. It’s beginning to happen here, too.

Stephen Harper told us that Canadians "don't care" about the operations of Parliament; his subsequent majority government proved him right. As long as taxes get cut and programs that don't impact "me" get cut, why should I care?

As a result, the attempted bribing of Chuck Cadman, the utterly false robocalls implying Irwin Cotler was resigning, fake lakes, billions of lost funds, "political truths", stifled representatives and Senate entitlement draws ire, but not action.

Note the trend - like a kid testing their boundaries, these "leaders" are pushing the boundaries of to see what they can get away with. The more they get away with, the more they do. These partisan operatives may pat themselves on the back , but this isn't about increasing cleverness - it's about eroding ethics.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's team has boasted of creating fake identities and spreading untruths to further their candidate's cause; what's unspooling now in Toronto politics is seen as "a distraction" rather than the crisis it is.

Oh - and that's at least three City Councillors who've been caught in DUI incidents getting off with a slap on the wrist. Would an average citizen have gotten off so easily? Would a Somali Canadian have gotten off so easily? There are other examples out there, past and present, of Political Parties who knew they had Members suffering from substance abuse problems but chose to do nothing for the individual, so long as the brand wasn’t tarnished.

Elie Wiesel tells us that "the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference." Edmund Burke said something similar: “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Mark Towhey, at the very least, tried to do something to help a leader in need. Can the same be said for others in political inner circles? Can it be said for citizens at large?

The wrong boundaries are being pushed – bitter, cynical and selfish approaches to politics are being overlooked while attempts at moving the ball in the opposite direction get ridiculed with attack ads.

We can’t turn our backs on these structural, social and personal problems much longer. Nobody is going to come down and solve our problems for us – it’s up to us, all of us, to take ownership of our society and make it whole again.

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