On the Whole of It

There were a number of things that irritated me about this election. Mostly it was how “unCanadian” I perceived it to be. Calling it early and campaigning forever and ever*, it seemed nasty and mean spirited and an attempted triumph of bigotry over common sense.

We argued about covering your face and tried to prevent 2 women from becoming citizens. We argued about hair cuts and we argued about the middle class.**

Every so often I look at the younglings, all of them together and I wonder about our national political discourse. I participate in politics for my own sake – because I want a voice about public policy and action now. So too I am interested in the world I leave for them. I leave it in absentia – the infrastructure that is not now maintained and is failing. I know it for what it is, a debt that they will have to pay because I did not. Equally, we leave them a world that is or is not rich in public vision.

I could blame my politicians for thinking too small. I could lay the mean spiritedness and the bigotry at their feet, walking away form an overly large and foetid pile of smallness. I am not so sure that the blame only lays at their feet. Surely, I think, there is a reason we think small and short term and narrow.

Someone is asking for it. At the least the rest of us are not asking for other things. We are not demanding a grand vision or even any vision at all.

We get the politicians we deserve and this is true. While frustrating, I can admit that when we think small, use small words, in the here and now we get small projects and minuscule programs and we only help tiny parts of our country. This is the cost I pay, and while I don’t like it, I am not leading the charge to fix it either.

On Monday night, as I watched the votes being tallied with at least some of my nieces and nephews around me. I thought of the niquab and the senate scandal and how we barely talked about first nation’s issues or refugees or the growing poverty gap. We talked about nothing grand. We put the big problems off another 4 years. We shoved them down a generation.

We get the politicians we deserve. I’m jsut not so sure that my nieces and nephews, the generations behind me deserve those politicians too.

 

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*I realize that to my American Readers, 11 weeks is but a blink of an eye, given that your elections run for 3.5 years. It is an entire life time for us. Our elections over the last 150 years have averaged about 50 days, making this one 28 days longer than average.

**I have realized that while economics dictate I am somewhere in the middle class, the mister and I are not and will never be middle class because we are missing the requisite 1.4 children. Indeed, every politician shall remove my tax dollars from me and give them to you to fund your children. No one is trying to win my vote with tax breaks.

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