Monday, May 23, 2005

Make 'em Talk!

There are some conservative bloggers, Greg S, Damian B, and Andrew, among others,who are rather annoyed by the apparent refusal of the Conservative party to talk about their policies and their platforms. There are other writers who say that Stephen Harper is scary (apparently, I'm one of those others, and we have cited that article by Marci MacDonald). What I don't think is helpful is the attitude of some people who say that politicians from all parties are all "crooks and liars anyway". It's cynical, but stupid. Along with people who run for public office for purely self-serving reasons, there are those who, although neither young or idealistic, are basically decent and honorable people. One such person is reputed to be Erik Nielsen, who was a cabinet minister under Brian Mulroney and whose autobiography I have read, which I was able to purchase a copy of just two days ago. His story was interesting, even though he didn't bash Mulroney as I had hoped he would, and I registered it on my bookshelf.

Backing up, the basic idea behind a democracy is that we elect people who are, as that chant near the end of Freaks states, "one of us, one of us..." Supposedly, they are not people who rule from atop mountains or clouds, they are not kings or nobility who are completely unaccountable to everyday people. Theoretically though, everyday people should be able to run for public office, which puts a human face on government, no better or worse, and that also you as a citizen have the right to investigate, ask questions, and make suggestions without having to worry about the army and/or police coming to take you away, never to be seen again. For the most part, you have the right to know what's going on, and why; and the information I believe is there, you just have to look around a bit, seperate the chaff from the grain, and to formulate your own opinions.

Back further still to Stephen Harper, Ms. MacDonald's article (ht James Burns)presents a compelling case as to why he should never be allowed to become prime minister, although some people would probably dismiss her and her magazine as raving leftists. Also, she had written a book years ago called Yankee Doodle Dandy which basically outlined a conspiracy by Big Business, the Mulroney administration, and some American politicians to basically annex Canada to the United States through free trade. I have since become more skeptical about such an outlandish idea, and dismissed the book as just another conspiracy theorist rant, but the assertions in MacDonald's article, if true, to me pose a significant threat, to Canada and the world at large.

Back to the first issue raised, the idea of politicians not talking about their platforms and agendae is not a new one. I remember back in 1984 and my Social Studies teacher telling us that it's a new strategy for politicians to promise as little as possible and not to talk about their visions, so as to alienate the fewest number of people. Obviously, if they are not promising anything, they can't be held to anything. Yet, it seems that even when politicians do promise something, they seem to break it or even flout it once they are safely re-elected, and many of us are left with a feeling of powerlessness and consequently, apathy, because the prevailing belief now is that no matter who we elect, it's basically the same scum, different party.

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