Sunday, May 19, 2013

Defensor Fide

Shown: Genuine Enthusiasm
This past week has been a particularly crazy one for any of a number of reasons, but the one I wish to discuss revolves around politics. Canadian politics, as a matter of fact - not that world politics hasn't been just as crazy, and I'll try to get a few words in edgewise about that. The difficult part is deciding where I should begin.

Do I want to start with the current resignation of the Prime Minister's chief of staff over allegations that the same inappropriately funded a senator's repayment of expense claims - claims that senator was ordered to repay after an external audit revealed the claims were made wrongly, or, should I start with the rather unfortunate lack of a resignation of a key national mayor, who was already ousted once in this term for ethics violations, only to be re-installed at the order of a higher court, who is now being accused of having been caught on film  smoking crack cocaine?

It grows increasingly easy to understand why my generation undeniably, consistently, and and growing-implacably shows up as the least-registered, least-participating demographic in our national body politic. There are no young MPs or MLAs, and few enough young voters. This is treated as an endemic problem of the system, and frankly, the frustration is getting a little understandable.

We have a multi-party system. There's really only one major party with a right-of-centre policy, and that's the Conservative Party of Canada, whereas there's two major left-of-centre parties, no centre parties, and a wide-array of what are, frankly, spoiler parties.

So the social-right, the target audience for the CPC, feels no conflicts over whom to vote for, whereas anyone leaning toward the centre or the left has to choose between the lesser of "who cares?". And for my generation, it really is a matter of "Who Cares?"

Young voters in this country are impossibly outnumbered by the old - that's not necessarily a problem, for me, except that the old is also disproportionately right-wing, while my generation is, by and large, disproportionately left. So the few of us who do bother to get up and vote on election day get drowned out by social-conservative, frankly reactionary, voices, wind up with the CPC's hand-picked yes-men for our representatives, and genuinely feel disenfranchised.

When those yes-men become the senators embroiled in fiscal misappropriation scandals, the senators suspended on charges of sexual assault - senators we can't vote for or replace, except on the hope that they retire and a more favourable parliament is created.....

You start to understand why it becomes hard to bother picking between the lesser of who cares.

I don't expect my demographic to start showing a commanding presence on the political battlefield any time soon. Even if the election were called tomorrow, it would still be hard to get people motivated to vote, because, frankly, we've all stopped caring. After all, there's going to be corrupt politicians for as long as politics and money remain linked.

Without comprehensive changes to who we elect and how they are elected, this country is doomed to see less and less participation in our democratic processes.

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