How Do You Tell An Election Is Coming? . . .

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both”
–Benjamin Franklin

Pictured above are the ‘three wise men’. These are the people who are running for the highest office in land as we move closer to another federal fiasco. And we get to pay for it–somewhere around 300 million (estimated)dollars. And yet we don’t even have a say regarding how it goes or what it looks like. I agree we are extremely fortunate to have the right to participate in a free election system. But I do wonder about how democratic it is. If federal elections were fought with integrity, respect and adherence to ethical values I might feel differently but they are not. There was a time when being in politics was honourable. Now, however, the public perception has changed quite dramatically. Today many of us see politicians as crooks first, thieves a close second and greedy a closing third. Most of the rules, integrity and truth will be replaced by innuendo, unsubstantiated lies and false information. Not many of the candidates will answer debate questions directly. Fewer still are likely to answer questions and making comments using a form of political double speak that only shows up at election time. PR teams will make huge amounts of money putting together film clips for TV ads consisting of comments made by someone’s opponent and usually taken or used out of context. Their only goal is to discredit the other candidate(s) rather than talk about what they plan to do that is different and creative. It’s called the Socratic method meaning destroying someone’s credibility usually destroys the message they bring. They don’t campaign on their records much anymore because they don’t have much of a record to speak about.

So we have to endure watching or listening to a smug and arrogant PM, whose act is wearing thin with people and who has lost most of what little respect he had gained a few years back. He makes his way through question period by making sarcastic remarks to the joy of his backbenchers who hoot and holler like a bunch of drunken teenagers at a backyard BBQ or we witness the opposition party leader carrying on with righteous indignation about something designed to catch the PM in a lie or a slip up of some kind. Does any work ever get done in question period by the way? To think that Parliament Hill was once the legacy of what thousands of men and women gave their lives for. It’s more like a circus than a once revered political centre piece illustrating our freedom.

So what to do?
1. Attack ads need to be banned-period.
2. Political ads should only speak about what the politician is going to do to improve the quality of our lives.
3. No more cheap shots at trying to disparage or denigrate opponents.
4. No candidate should be able to publicize a montage of clips and pieces of tape put together from five or six different activities that may be, in some instances, years and years old.

I want to hear why I should vote for someone based on their platform–what are they going to do about specific issues. Otherwise shut up.

I always think about what our kids are learning about the political process. If they are old enough to be interested in politics what can we tell them about what they hear and witness when most of it is about the latest scandal of some kind. It certainly doesn’t give them a warm and rosy feeling about state security, competence or confidence in the political system that we are trying to sell them on. Perhaps these pillars of government might start to wonder about why some of our young are turning to other ideologies. Perhaps they have lost confidence in what they see.

But the two major indicators that an election is coming closer are these.
Sometime in the 8 months to a year preceding an election we usually start to see the faces of the chief candidates on television or internet with greater frequency. They are photographed glad handing in places where they otherwise wouldn’t go. All of a sudden they have lots of time to be out looking concerned or sounding tough on certain issues. They start to plant the seeds of doubt. They start talking about how much they care about this and that and how important it is to …?

The other tip off is that all of a sudden there is all kinds of money for this program and that program and they drag out the old favourites like subsidized day care, taking better care of our seniors, homeless programs and how they are going to wipe out poverty and lower taxes or at least not raise them. They promise something for everyone. They start throwing money around as if they had it. In essence they end up giving us back our own money and then tell us how grateful we should be that they can do this for us. They want us to believe that they are the only ones who can balance a budget or because of their prowess as fiscal managers they can now throw us a few bones (if they get re-elected that is). I always find it remarkable that they promise all this money but won’t/can’t tell us how they will pay for the promises. Nor will they commit to when this will happen. To me if they can’t give us this information then they should not be able to promise it. Tell us how or shut up about it. And by the way where is Justin Trudeau? Has anyone seen or heard from him?

Read the quote from Ben Franklin again and then ask yourself who just proposed that very thing the other day with the idea that this was going to make us safer–it was Steven Harper. Why wasn’t he concerned three years ago? Because it’s election time.

We are the only folks who can force a change in how we conduct our elections. It really is up to us.

That’s how I see it anyways,

All the best, James

Please contact me with comments pro/con at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR visit my web site at jamescloughley.com

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