Monday, May 13, 2013

The Road Back If We're Brave Enough to Take It. It's Not for the Timid or Those Who Play Safe.

We like to call ourselves progressives but very little of what we write, what we advocate for, is genuinely progressive.   Far too much of it is simply whining, bitching.

How many times can we chant, "Stephen Harper is a shit, Stephen Harper is a shit," before we accept that we're not making anything better in the doing?

Of course he's a shit, so what?   That shit has been in power for what, going on seven years now?   And he has a majority government to show for his perfidy.  So we've got a prime ministerial shit with a majority government.

We keep focusing on all of his faults even as we furiously avoid the slightest attention to our own.   Yet what stands between us and restoration of the sort of government we claim the country needs isn't Stephen Joseph Harper, it's us.   And we can't change SJH, we can't fix SJH, but we can sure as hell change us.  We can certainly fix us and everything that's still not working for us.

What's holding us back isn't Stephen J. Harper, it's us.   Accept that.  Until we wrap our minds around that reality, we are waiting for the government to fall into our laps by default.  We're waiting for Harper to lose it, not working for us to win it.   That only guarantees once the clock finally runs out on the Harper Conservatives we're not going to right this country's keel, or heal the wounds, or rebuild our democracy and restore our social cohesiveness.

Canadians want a vision for the future.   Canadians know we're not going in the right direction.   A lot of Canadians are dismayed at the calamity that has befallen our democracy and the mean-spirited authoritarianism and the divide and conquer politics that have become the benchmark of our federal government.

Give them hope and you will reconnect with those disaffected, disengaged voters.   Give them something to believe in, something to aspire to and you won't have to wait until Harper loses an election, you can actually win one on your merits.

We are still a liberal people.   We believe in social justice and fair play.   We want our democratic institutions restored and strengthened.   We want to breathe democracy again and we're weary of this stunted and adulterated cloud that hangs over us and sears our lungs.

You know what JT and the Liberals should do?   They should go to the Green Party web site and read the clear policies that are to be found there, right out in the open.  You know what they'll find there?  They'll find the very principles that used to be embraced by the Liberal Party back when it was great, before it morphed into this shelled-out, centre-right, stand for almost nothing excuse it has become today.

That road back begins with restoring democracy to the Canadian people.  We need a free press again in Canada, one that is widely held and free of corporate monopolistic control.   Canadians need access to the widest range of information and opinion so we can again have an informed populace.   That is how you build an informed electorate, one that has access to information instead of messaging.   Without that our democracy will not be safe.   Without that we can never hope to restore cohesiveness to Canadian society.

The second step on the road back entails acting to arrest and then reverse the cancer of inequality.   That must include inequality not only of wealth and income but, above all, inequality of opportunity.   That inequality undermines and enfeebles our middle class, itself the engine of democracy.   Every one deserves equality of opportunity and fundamental to that is provision of proper health care and education.   We need healthy and educated young people to secure our future.  It's vital that we understand we need that for ourselves every bit as much as we need that for them.  

We need to understand that modern inequality isn't market-driven but the product of government regulation and legislation.  It's the government transferring wealth from the many to the few - and that's simply wrong.

It was progressivism that propelled Canada to its zenith and the loss of that progressivism is contributing to our decline.  We are listing, badly, to the right.   We must even our keel.


bcwaterboy said...

Very well put Mound, central to the problem I think is that SJH has successfully branded himself as "owning" the government, not unlike "christy clark's new bc liberals". Pretty much sums it up when we start to name a government after its leader. Harper's strategy was born out of the 2008 crash when overnight he went from "didn't see that comin'" to equating himself with a good economy which we all bought and paid for through the non-stop propaganda advertising. I totally agree that the only way out of this mess is an educated and engaged electorate and that can only happen through one conversation at a time, there's no easy fix.

thwap said...


I haven't visited the Green Party website, but there's always been this "Green Capitalism" about the Greens that's put me off jumping ship from the NDP.

I think there are structural factors that would make it impossible for the Liberal Party of Canada to adopt genuine green policies as well.

But what I do know is that proportional representation would make it possible to switch the conversation in this country away from the moronic guffawing of the harpercon base and the appalled shrieks of everyone else, towards a mature debate about the differences between Green, NDP and decent Liberals/Greens such as yourself.

I think social class matters at the highest levels of policy and I think Canada needs more than just eco-capitalist, social democracy.

I'll be listening to Rick Salutin and Steven Shrybman talk about "Taking Back Our Democracy" tonight.

Hope I hear something worthwhile.

Lorne said...

Your incisive comments are much appreciated, Mound. The question, however, seems to be how we motivate people to start caring about the dangerous departure from traditional values that has taken place in Canada, a departure that started well before the ascension of the Harper regime which, in my view, has only perfected the art of alienating the electorate from the political process.

All of the possible solutions to our dilemma seem to be rooted in having a party that truly cares about democracy in this country and is willing to work assiduously to reengage the public in the process, something I'm not sure the other two major parties really want beyond serving their political goal of wresting power from the Conservatives. I am frankly very dubious of Justin Trudeau who, as far as I can see, differs from Harper only in style, not in substance. If you examine the language of the NDP, they seem, if anything, to be vying for the centrist position on the spectrum, a position once occupied by the Liberals, with nary a word for 'the working class,' which has been largely supplanted by the phrase 'working families,' almost as if the former phrase is an embarrassing reminder of their provenance.

I have said several times on my own blog that Harper is quite happy to push the politics of disaffection and disillusionment to discourage people from participating in the political process, including elections, thereby leaving the field open for the 'true believers' who prevailed in the 2011 election.

People, I think, are hungry for genuine change. I just don't see that it is forthcoming from the other two major parties.

Agonsi Precious said...
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The Mound of Sound said...

Thwap, go to the web site, read the policy platform. Read the part about dismantling our corporate media cartel. Does that sound capitalist to you or somehow right wing? Why aren't you hearing progressive platforms like that from the NDP? That's because they've morphed into a bunch of opportunistic, morally timid peckerheads, Thwap. They lost their way when they chose to recast themselves as Latter Day Liberals led by a Liberal.

In terms of restoring democracy and, obviously, the most important challenge facing our nation, the environment and climate change, the Greens are light years more progressive than the New Dems who measure their policy according to their quest to succeed to power.

Lorne, I have the impression that you and Owen and I are of roughly the same vintage. That means you have personally experienced how one person can motivate and energize a desultory population and ignite their passion behind great ideals.

You remove the status quo from the very top of your priority list. You have to if you're to achieve something better. Yet neither Trudeau nor Mulcair can do that and so they're bound to fail us.

You have to go from "how do we keep this old wreck ticking" to "what do we need and how are we going to get there?"

You acknowledge and validate the public's deep and legitimate concerns. You speak to their worries and their hopes. They don't like what they've got now so offer them something better. As I said, go to the Green Party, read their platform. This isn't rocket science and it isn't radical.

BCW, you might find this interesting:

We have allowed these authoritarian thugs to hijack our governments, to stage a backroom coup d'etat against our people. It is a venal corruption of our democracy.

Amos said...
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