I believe that Harper and his bullies have poisoned our political culture in what might be a more or less permanent way. Even if we can escape this atmosphere of anger, hatred, attack, and offensiveness, it will take many years and a concerted effort lasting many years by a large portion of the political class and the population in general. However, I believe that Thomas Mulcair is a side-effect of this poison atmosphere. This is not to say that I believe that Mulcair is anywhere near as nasty, anti-democratic, mean-spirited, and, well . . . down-right evil, as Stephen Harper. But I don't think that there is any question that he has that slightly angry, 'take-no-prisoners' kind of attitude, and several insiders have already said that we will very quickly see NDP ads attempting to frame Mulcair's image before the Harpercons have a chance to do it for him. Now, this, in itself, is by no means nasty, but it demonstrates the need that Harper-hate has brought to our political system - the necessity to continually campaign even when we are years from an election. And by conceding to this necessity (which they must do), the NDP is demonstrating that our political system has become poisoned and increasingly empty of content. Harper's need to continually attack his opponents at every political level shows that he knows that his ideas and his policies cannot speak for themselves, cannot create the support he needs to win elections. Instead, the Harpercons know that you simply have to maintain a certain base and then alienate and frighten enough voters about anything from an imaginary crime wave to a globally successful intellectual in opposition in order to continually squeak by in rather empty electoral victories in a system that is essentially broken to begin with. This is the kind of empty, meaningless nonsense to which our political system has been reduced thanks to a man who is, I believe, the personification of evil in modern times. And add to this problem the issue of an increasingly centralized and capitalized media, and anyone who opposes the reduction of society to the interests of large corporations cannot hope to actually win elections by actually arguing the issues.
Over the next couple of years we will see the degree to which Thomas Mulcair (as well as a new Liberal leader, if they ever actually choose one) feels compelled to mirror the controlling and combative attitude that the Harpercons have so completely initiated into our system, and if he doesn't fight the Harpercons with the vehemence that many are expecting, we will see the degree to which such vehemence has become necessary or even indispensable. I suspect indispensable is exactly what this attitude and strategy has become and it saddens me that my daughter will inherit the failure of this generation to reject the politics of hate.
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