One of the more common themes in my recent writing is that, when it comes down to the challenges confronting our country and our people, we cannot depend on our political classes for leadership. We entrust them exclusively with all the powers needed to confront the threats of the day and of tomorrow but they choose not to use them. When it comes to the future, you and me and the rest of us are on our own.
This was borne out in a comment received today from a character calling himself "Tom Sangfroid." I suspect TS might have created his Blogger identity specifically for the purpose of posting his remarks. A quick check showed Sangfroid created his account just this month and I was the first to view his or her profile.
Tom identified himself as "working in politics." He chided me for criticizing Jack Layton and Bob Rae in my previous post for their abject indifference to the perils posed to our country by climate change.
"...the failure of our political parties to behave the way you think they should is in part the result of our failure to mobilize the population effectively on said issue, coupled with the indifference and complacency of the larger population.
"...no matter what people tell pollsters, the larger Canadian public just doesn’t give a shit about climate change. The average person finds the arguments complex, and would sell their grandchildren’s ability to breathe clean air in the future for a properly targeted tax rebate today."
The cynicism is breathtaking yet it is consistent with the attitudes of Harper, Layton and Rae. Tom then goes on to absolve Layton and Rae for their abject neglect.
"That’s the brute reality we operate in. And that this is so is not the fault of Jack Layton. Hell, it probably isn’t the fault of Bob Rae. The responsibility lies with us, and with our neighbours and fellow citizens."
So you see, it's quite simple. We who truly don't have power must take the blame for the inaction of those who do. It's not their failing, it's not their fault, it's ours. What nerve for us to expect them to lead. By what right do we expect them to mobilize public opinion? We can't expect them to lead from the front but, instead, to follow a safe distance behind public opinion.
From what I have witnessed over the past decade, Tom is merely speaking the truth. The politics of Ignatieff and Layton and Rae is an emasculated politics, form over substance, or as they say in Texas, "all hat and no cattle." They want to rule but they don't want to lead.
Many years ago when David Frost extensively interviewed disgraced ex-president Richard Nixon there was a moment when Nixon said something for which I've admired him ever since. He was asked to describe the essence of true political leadership. Nixon replied that leadership was the ability to persuade the people to accept measures that are necessary but unpleasant, even unpopular. People like Tom Sangfroid and the masters they serve can't grasp what even somebody like Nixon understood.
In my reply to Tom I characterized him and those of the same ilk as "useless shits." The more I dwell on that, the less badly I feel about it. They are, indeed, useless shits and until we are rid of them we have no hope of getting the leadership these troubled times so loudly call for.