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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.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Fish and The State

It's unfair to make gross generalizations about groups of people by the actions or inactions of a few, so I'll try not to do that.  I will, however, point out certain observations.
Jason Kenney is considered to have his eye on the prize - replacing Stephen Harper as Leader of the CPC.  He's got his fans and his detractors, each of who can easily justify their positions.  In this particular instance, he leapt at the opportunity to pillory an opponent before doing some fact-checking.  Even now, when his source has issued a retraction, Kenney has done no such thing.
Previously, Vic Toews made a statement about being with his Party or with child pornographers, then said he never uttered any statement of the kind.  Dean del Mastro was shocked, shocked when people he'd smeared didn't have his back when he got caught out on unethical behaviour.  Peter McKay doesn't seem to get why people may be suspicious about his sincerity, especially given his penchant for hiding behind others in defense.
Nigel Wright, upstanding citizen, behaved badly.  So did Michael Sona (whether on his own or not), so did Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, on and on.  Alexandra Constantidis, a young staffer who spent time in the employ of Rob Anders (not particularly a model parliamentarian) has been behaving in a less than ethical fashion. 
Why are apologies less than forthcoming from these individuals when they are caught behaving badly, or when the foundation of their attacks crumbles?
How they self-rationalize their positions is their business; how they actually arrive at them is another matter. 
To leap on an opportunity to tear down an opponent with over-the-top messaging is to dehumanize them.  To expect humane treatment from those you treat inhumanely is a form of narcissism.  To speak through your emotional relationship with a context - ie, Toews denying the words he actually said to Don Martin - is to react before understanding or contemplation has a chance to set in.
To fabricate an identity, lie to others and try to disappear so as to avoid accountability is a combination of all of these things.
What happens when you believe that the people have short term memories, not like yourself?  Are you setting yourself above the people?
What does it say when you suggest people don't care about the way Parliament works - and what are you suggesting they care about?  Beer and popcorn, perhaps?
How about when you use false information to get money out of your own supporters?  Is that not treating them as less clever than yourself?  Is that not dehumanizing them?
To apologize to people you consider yourself better than is to diminish in self-esteem.  It's humbling, equalizing.  Winning isn't about equalizing - it's about putting others behind yourself.
Think about this for a second.  The Tories could push their omnibus bills, close committees, choke off funding for agencies they don't like and whatnot without ever having to directly answer their opponents - just do their own thing and speak over the heads of the institution to which government is accountable (ie government) and make their pitch that way.
But they don't stop there.  They have to be tearing strips off their opponents, keeping them down like an alpha male gorilla will take swipes at young bucks who contest their authority.  This isn't a generalization of the actions of a few - these are decisions and frames that get approved by the PMO. 
They relish and encourage the administration of beatings to their foes.  They reward those who do so on their behalf.
Delivering a beating has nothing to do with the truth, with ethical practice, with democracy or transparency or any of that.  It's about domination.
Domination - only the leader can solve our problems, trust them to keep troubles from shores and reject pretenders - is not about democracy.  Democracy is quite the opposite.
Destroying any and all dissenting voice isn't democratic, either.  We know what that is.
There are those within Canada's government who act as though ethical practices are for lesser beings.  There are clearly young people, even seasoned people who are responding to this culture and acting in kind.
It's not the spun arrogance of a Liberal that should concern Canada's conservatives.  There's broad-based acknowledgement from everyone not an insider that our democracy is broken, politicians are lost and the future is more frightening than any threats lapping at our shores.
As they say, the fish stinks from the head.

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