Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hey there, politician, I'm watching you

Ontario goes to the polls tomorrow (October 6th.)

It seems like such a small thing to do. Someday between the 9 in the morning and 9 at night I will wander over with my notice of registration and draw an X through the circle next to one of the local candidate's name.

Like most of the elections in which I have taken part the person I will vote for has little chance of winning. But it is still very important for me to mark my ballot. I read the local newspaper, I talk to other people on my street and in my neighbourhood and I do some research to find out the relative strengths of the different parties in my riding. I rank the local candidates from those I think are very bad for my community, my province or my country to those which are think are best. Then I have to sit down and work out the likelihoods. If 'VeryWorst' is leading 'NotMyFavouriteButAcceptable' by a small margin then I will vote for NMFBA (hoping to help keep VW from winning.) If one of the parties enjoys a comfortable margin locally then I like to sit down and take a good look at the minor parties in my riding. And sometimes I vote for one of those parties not because I agree with everything in their platform but because I think that they are talking about things which are very important and offering solutions and suggestions which should be among those seriously considered.

Canadian political parties can grow very quickly. Take, for example, the Bloc Québécois. That party began in 1990 as disaffected members of both the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals joined together informally. In 1993 (the next federal election) the Bloc won the second largest number of seats and became the official opposition. Because political parties such as the Bloc and Reform (which was born in the 1980s and by 1997 had replaced the Bloc as the official opposition) can grow so quickly there is room for new ideas and new conversations in Canadian politics. If the old parties won't talk about the things we care about then we just go out and form new parties that will.

Both the sense of power this gives to voters and the way in which the growth of new parties allows for new ideas to take root hit me today as I sit and watch the CNN coverage of the occupation of Wall Street. Few reporters talk to the protestors and most of the reports I listen to are interviews of the old regulars--the talking heads who I could have seen and heard anytime in the last two decades. One can imagine the logic of those of those who handed out the assignments and who edited together the news reports. After all, they must be thinking, what choice will the protestors have when next they vote? Everyone to the left of whatever point will be the "center" at that moment will have the choice of voting for a Democrat or strengthening the Republicans by not voting at all. Everyone to the right of whatever point will be the "center" at the moment will have the choice of voting for a Republican or strengthening the Democrats by not voting at all. The greatest degree of freedom in voting will be during the nomination processes but even then the voters will have a severely limited range of ideologies among which to choose and the barriers for entry into the "serious" nomination race will be high. Those who give aid and comfort to some portion of the monied and active elements of the kyriarchy will be given the money and the access to the media necessary to run a serious campaign. Those who do not, will not.

When it is members and functionaries of the kyriarchy who decide the candidates you get to chose between then no matter the tally the outcome is the same:
Meet the new boss
same as the old boss[1]

[1] The Who, Won't get fooled again.

1 comment:

  1. As one person I know so eloquently put it:

    When the Republicans are in control, man oppresses man. When the Democrats are in control, it's the other way around.


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