Friday, September 24, 2010

Reject the Ugly side of politics. . . . .

Taking a brief survey of our politics today I really have to wonder how we have found ourselves here. In a time when it is not acceptable by most people to be openly racist, overtly sexist, or chauvinistic against gay and bisexual people, how is it that it seems perfectly acceptable with so many people for our politicians and political discourse to be full of lies, intentional misrepresentations, vulgarity, hostility, and strategic self-interest? Everyday you hear people talk about how tired they are of political leaders who are negative and self-serving but they keep voting for them and the most vulgar and hostile of them retain their popularity. Meanwhile, any politician who attempts to promote discourse or compromise is constantly vilified, particularly by the right-wing. As any reader of my blog (all two of you) knows I have never been a big fan of Jack Layton, but I will give him his due, he continually attempts to foster discussion and is willing to make compromises. A cynic will say that this is only because he has no chance of gaining power. But I refuse to be that cynical because there have been leaders in the past who were in fact compromisers and didn't use constant lies and vulgarity just to gain and retain power regardless of the results. The present government is certainly one of the worst offenders on this front and for the life of me I can't figure out why their supporters let them lie, misrepresent the facts, intentionally try to divide the public, be openly vulgar and hostile. And yet they would condemn this behaviour if a party they didn't support were in government. And look at the narrative that the Tories are attempting to create on any potential coalition. "Cooperation is bad, compromise is bad, rule by the majority is bad." This is the narrative. And they are pursuing this narrative with an almost embarrassing vehemence, as the speech by the Finance minister demonstrated this week. I think it is time to finally make the vulgarity, lying, naked self-serving politics unacceptable. I won't hold my breath in anticipation of this change but the time has come.

2 comments:

doconnor said...

"for the life of me I can't figure out why their supporters let them lie, misrepresent the facts, intentionally try to divide the public, be openly vulgar and hostile."

I've suggested this to you before, but you really should read The Authoritarians. Basically it says, as hard as it is for us to conceive, that they basically believe what their authorities tell them, no matter how little sense it makes.

Margaret Anne said...

In my experience (mostly from running in and canvassing in elections - so door to door discussion) people are NOT paying attention. They hear only the "headlines" and those are constructed by the corporatist media. So people in large numbers say things like "that Harper looks like a nice young man I think we should give him a chance. . ." or "I always vote. . .(fill in the blank - Green, Liberal, Conservative, NDP) Few people, it seems to me, review or consider positions or issues in elections. How could you read http://rabble.ca/news/2010/09/stiffed-bill-private-banquet-civil-society’s-expense and still consider voting for Harper? Maybe people believe "authorities" but mostly they just think that the headlines tell them what's going on. . . and the mainstream media is the "authority". Unfortunately, apparently print media is dying, which is even worse, as, at least there were a variety of columnists and positions here (even the national Post gets it right on occasion) whereas TV news is pretty much all on the right. There is the right wing news (CBC and then righter and. . . righter still (take your choice - I used to think that in Canada Global was the worst but CTV is pretty bad these days. In fact, we find it hard to watch any TV news, including Peter Mansbridge, without yelling out loud at the TV set. )