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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, 28 April 2014

Olivia Chow and the Iron Sheik

Politics isn't about saving the lost.  If anything, it's about culling the weak.

As such, Matt Gurney makes a valid point when he questions Olivia Chow's recent meet-up with the Iron Sheik.  If her opponents follow best practices of The War Room, they'll be making hay of this all the way to election day.

The Iron Sheik is a homophobic racist who promotes violence as means to subdue opponents! 

Mayoralty candidate befriends rape-culture advocate!

It's a reach, to be sure, but so was blasting Rob Ford for having his picture taken with Jon Latvis when everyone knows Ford doesn't care who he gets his picture taken with.

The same holds true for jeering over the fact that John Tory has pictures of himself with Rob Ford on a golf course.

Such is cheap politics, designed to titillate and infuriate  - which it does.  Provoked, angry people mobilize, but they also plan to act out of emotion rather than from careful consideration.

Which, I would argue, is why we ended up with Rob Ford as Mayor in the first place.

Politics is about throwing the biggest stone first, regardless of personal sin, and keeping the barrage up.  
This begets a cycle of recrimination, a debasement of dialogue and importantly, a tendency to walk away from those people who need society's help the most (and as such, present the greatest threat to social sustainability).

It may make for smart politics, but poor leadership.  Real leaders don't cherry-pick people and opportunities, nor do they cherry-pick arguments to suit narrow, selfish needs.  Leaders understand that the chain is only as strong as its weakest link; strong individuals for a strong society, etc. 

In the parable mentioned above, Jesus called down Zacchaeus the tax collector not to validate his practices, but to provide him an opportunity to change his ways.  Had Jesus not reached out to Zacchaeus, that would never have happened.  

Do I think this was what Team Chow had in mind when they rushed their candidate to meet the Iron Sheik?  Of course not; it was a cheap shot at Rob Ford.  Team Chow is practicing politics as usual, throwing stones in glass houses just like everyone else.

Like everyone else, though, that simply means that there's opportunity for improvement.  

What is a good man but a bad man's teacher?
What is a bad woman but a good woman's job?
If you don't understand this, you will get lost,
however intelligent you are.

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