Daily Archives: May 29, 2008

Politicians: Good or Evil?

My brother is in town visiting. We always get into interesting discussions about many things and often poltics. You see, he was a politician in Alberta for fifteen years. He told me that when he began they would spend at least 25% of their meetings looking at long-term solutions and problems. When he finished, no time was spent on the long term.

As a member of the population I often rale against the government for being so short sighted, not looking to our future and planning properly. Like many people, I have less faith in politicians. I don’t believe they’ll do what they say they will. I do believe that they will take on a cause, not for it being right, but because it will garner them votes.

My brother blames the media for the change; for making all politicians look corrupt, for changing the attitude of the population and therefore the government’s to short-term vision, for being biased. He does have a point. After all, most politicians are not caught in scandals; my brother wasn’t corrupt. But I believe the blame can be shared three ways: by the politicians, the media, the people.

The media is a very powerful tool. The best way to take over a country is to control the media. Writers/journalists get imprisoned all the time, proving that the pen is more feared than the sword to those in power. The media can make or break a career, a scandal, the outcome of an election. Over the years, we know, good news is no news. Much better to report on the disasters, the murders, the scandals. It won’t sell if it’s sweet and good and positive. No, we must always always delve to the deepest darkest depths of even the most innocuous thing.

What then happens is that an even is blown out of proportion. The molehill does become the mountain. M. Bernier leaves a dossier in his girlfrend’s place and no one knows till she seeks revenge after the break up. I’m no fan of the current Conservatives but in perspective, almost every single politician takes work home with them. Those that are married probably have it where their spouses, children or even friends of the family might happen upon it, especially if they want to. Those who have boyfriend/girlfriends have the same situation. Truly it’s done all the time.

My brother said that England has a closer check and balance. Politicians still take their work home but it’s delivered in a locked box and they must enter a code. It’s then returned the same way. But if a politician forgets something somewhere, hopefully it’s not of highest state security and most likely they made a mistake. They are human. But one hopes they’e not lackadaisical and not purposefully sabotaging their office or the people.

Yet polliticians will pick up a cause when it’s newsworthy and will keep them in the best light. Look at Tony Blair announcing that the environment was in dire trouble from pollution. Duh! I knew this when I was 18 but the government of Canada suddenly jumps on the bandwagon that Blair provided and makes it sound like they’re the first to notice and that they will be innovative in what they’re fixing. (Let’s not mention the rebate that they’re getting rid of this year for buying smaller, gas-efficient cars).

So, they make a big hullabaloo and everyone goes, oh aren’t they wonderful. And in the meantime, everyone forgets that the government is running slipshod over the medical system, because the media is waving the flags and the government is singing the party line and the shortsighted population only thinks for the moment.

Worst of all is that politicians say what they think people want them to hear. They do their dire worst in the first two years of their governing, then pull out the cake and champagne and the fickle voters forget everything. I still remember Bill VanderZalm, premier of BC, offering to lower the price of beer because it was a working man’s drink and they needed to be able to buy it. Of course he never did lower the price. It wasn’t really his jurisdiction and who remembered?

So, are politicians good or evil? Considering that most do try to do their best, aren’t corrupt and are human, able to make mistakes and great strides, most aren’t evil. Some are definitely self-serving. Others are two-faced. David Emerson stands out in that crowd. But politics is not pretty, by its very nature.

The voters, they’re not good or evil either, but they are fickle and shortsighted so the politicians cater to that. The media, well, it might be the most insidious evil or the greatest good. The media can certainly develop a hive mentality and chew something past the marrow in the bone.

And of course, nothing is absolute. Not all of any of these groups is one thing. There are those of us who work for the benefit of others, and those who do for themselves. There is good, evil, mismanagement and ineptitude. There is the flow of favoritism. I like to think that I want a long-sighted government that doesn’t ignore the short-term needs. Perhaps one day everything will swing back again. After all, the government even acknowledging that the environment is in danger speaks of looking to the future. Now if they would only come up with some real long-range solutions.

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