Search This Blog

CCE in brief

My photo
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, 16 May 2014

Caveat Emptor: Ontario's Ballot Question

I've got bad news for you, folks.  Our democracy has been hijacked.

No, it's not by self-serving politicians, conniving backroom operators or biased media.  It's not greedy corporations or naive special interest groups that are the problem, either.

It would be so much simpler if we could wrap up all our woes and hang them around one neck, then hang that neck from the nearest tree.  But the world isn't that simple.

Our democracy has gone awry not because of any one of us, but because of all of us.  

When we hear political pundits talk about what citizens care and respond to, they may sound cynical, but they're basing their arguments on experience and data.  All the messages we hear repeated on campaign trails or in sound-bites are focus-grouped to death before they see the light of day.

The reason they don't think that we care is because that's the message we're giving them.

If we only pay attention to the sensationalist stuff - over-the-top attack ads, oppositional framing, sound-bite messaging et al - that's all they're going to give us.  It would be silly of them to waste time developing complex, thoughtful policy solutions like The Green Shift if we're never going to take the time to figure it out. 

Yet we're growing disillusioned with politics-as-usual, aren't we?  Change is the mantra, again - but change to what?

The political players are trying to narrowly frame The Ballot Question as something they feel works to their advantage - jobs for Hudak, Strong Hands for Wynne, Common Sense for Horwath.  

But we don't just want jobs, or security, or a simplified bureaucracy - we want all these things in conjunction, and a whole lot more.  We want opportunity, health, movement, enjoyment.

It's time we stop letting political folk frame the ballot question as something that serves their purposes. It's time we stop tuning out between elections.

What we need to ask ourselves is - what kind of society do we want to live in?

One where we complain from the sidelines as unions fight with government, parties fight with each other, special interest groups with money set the agenda while special interest groups without suffer?

Or one where we all pitch in, give a little, gain a little, try to understand and build shared solutions - strong individuals for a strong society?

They - the politicians - can't do that for us.  How could they?  They are part of us.

If we can't live together, we're going to die alone.

That's the message we need to be hearing.  That's the big secret that's missed by all these people trying to position their bosses as the solution.

Leadership isn't about solving problems - it's about empowering the people to do so together.

If we want to reclaim our democracy, it's time we all start taking some ownership of it.  

When we choose to outsource our democracy, well - we get what we pay for, don't we?

No comments:

Post a Comment