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Politics should not be like pugilism

Posted on October 10, 2019 by Vauxhall Advance

A recent Elections Canada survey has found a majority of Canadians do not have much confidence in federal political parties.

Monday’s leader debate did little to turn the tide on that outlook in the court of public opinion.

Media, columnists and arm-chair pundits on social media who watched the debate have been abuzz in the fallout, noting the debate was long on insulting sound bites and misleading statements, and short on actual policy being debated, where partisan lines were drawn quite deep into the sand in trying to figure out who is most likely to lead the nation to a more prosperous future, both economically and socially.

If the debate were akin to a heavyweight fight, many observed the numerous party leaders preferring to give jabs to each other’s faces, talking over each other, rather than trying something bold like delivering a knock-out blow of clearly defined platforms and solutions to help bring the nation to greater heights for all.

Perhaps the format did not leave enough time in the rounds to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee in getting party’s points across, but with those precious minutes, it seemed the parties were more interested in smack talking than actually throwing meaningful punches of platform to most.

Perhaps our federal leaders needed to take notes from our local candidates who are vying for a seat in the Bow River riding, in which four candidates attended a forum at the Legion Hall last week.

Opponents were treated with respect and decorum, platforms were laid out and pre-submitted questions were answered with equal availability.

About the only time the forum devolved into the popular mug-slinging tactics of its Big Brother brethren was some cat calling from the crowd when populism was being discussed — hardly something the candidates did themselves — either on the right or the left of the political spectrum.

Even using those terms of right and left buys into the hardcore partisanship shown at the national leadership debate, where no one from another ‘team’ could possibly have a good idea to help bring the nation forward.

To do so admits weakness in the quest where someone has to win and someone has to lose, losing sight of the fact, the electorate may turn into the biggest losers of all.

Once a party, any party, be it the ruling party or not, are more focused on getting/keeping power than they are in helping the people that elected them, everyone loses, whoever one casts their vote for.

That partisanship seems to be driving a bigger and bigger wedge among ourselves where parties seem to be trying to appeal to the more radical sides of the political spectrum, while many in the moderate middle with plenty of common ground to agree on with slight compromises, are left pulling out their hair.

Perhaps we ourselves are partially to blame, more likely to remember the clever insult of a politician we can later put in a meme that is supposed to sum up a complex issue, rather than taking the time to research the issues that affect us all to at least some degree that our busy lives allow.

Dive into the land of social media and likely one’s mind was made up already of who one was going to vote for in 2019 the moment Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015.

Post after post propping up one’s political ‘team’, either on the left or right, with memes and articles from extremely slanted sources, yet easily disproved with even the most cursory amount of research as being false.

Yet, does it even matter, as long as it fits one’s echo chamber, with no chance of one’s viewpoints changing when new and credible information is introduced into the conversation?

There is no doubt that there are politicians out there with more altruistic motives, be it at a municipal, provincial or federal level as they first enter the system.

However the federal election pans out, it is up to us to seek those out, and we can start by looking at how they conduct themselves.

If one cannot even show basic respect to their opponent, what makes you think they will show any respect to you once you are done serving your purpose (getting them elected)?

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