Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Politics and the Mutability of Human Values

(aka Bad Government – It’s Your Fault)

The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty. - Zig Ziglar

Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it. - Mark Twain

Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure. - James Altucher

My recent exploration of the by-election in Calgary-Foothills and the potential embellishment of education credentials by one of the candidates in the blog post PC Party and Blair Houston–Isn’t Honesty Still the Best Policy? has generated thousands of emails, private messages and texts to me (not all kind, professional and positive, may I add) and the reaction caused me to think about the general election currently underway in Canada.

In regards to the afore-mentioned by-election and my expression of concern regarding the potentially dishonest representation of education credentials by a candidate, I was told by Party execs and some MLAs that the resume embellishment is known but that it is important that the candidate stay in the race anyway without a public correction since officially addressing the issue may damage his chances.

This suggests to me that the human value of honesty is mutable and wavering within these individuals, being something that can be paraded around when convenient / useful but which can be modified or ignored when required.

But when one explores the larger political scene, is it any different for any political campaign on a municipal, provincial / state or federal level?

We have national politicians in Canada espousing the importance of legalizing pot, sending blankets to refugees in Syria and the like but I don’t hear many voters demanding specific, explicit, measurable, verifiable details regarding the economy, climate change, ever-escalating healthcare / education costs, privacy versus protection (anti-terror) legislation and the like.

And even when a candidate rolls out a half-baked answer or solution to something, it is often full of holes, has no data to back it up and oftentimes has nothing to it at all.

And yet we blindly accept everything without asking the candidate “What are the real issues?  Why do they matter?  What is your solution?  How do you know?

And so political parties, politicians and their blind, Kool-Aid drinking minions continue to send us meaningless distractions which divert our attention away from the truth that most (not all) politicians are either ignorant, indifferent or incapable when it comes to serving the populace or creating solutions to the ever-growing list of “stuff” that needs to be addressed while it still can be addressed.

What does this say about politicians and political parties?

What does this say about us when, not if, we accept it?

Does such a stand on our part remove our right to complain when politicians let us down later, when we suddenly learn all over again that their values and ours, that our needs and their intentions, aren’t in alignment?

Why do we care more when the politician lets us down after being elected instead of caring more about the details regarding the candidates and their solutions / intentions before we elect them?

Why would we rather spend more time complaining after the fact instead of using our time productively during an election to produce the best government possible?

Why indeed.

The likely reason is that it is easier to blame someone else for the failures around us rather than take proactive steps to prevent them in the first place.

In other words, we are running short of personal responsibility when it comes to the issues that we face collectively and so it is easier to wait for the failure of someone else to manifest so that we can point a finger elsewhere instead of at ourselves.

The Bottom Line

Politicians rely on the apathy, indifference and ignorance of the electorate.

What does this say about them?

What does this say about us?

At what point will our apathy, indifference and ignorance produce a government that is actually incapable of solving our problems despite its best intentions because the problems are too large, varied, complex and interwoven?

Why do we tempt fate by potentially allowing such a scenario to be created?

Maybe we have already reached (or passed) that point and politicians have merely become feel-good, “the future is always bright” mouthpieces to serve their own needs and intentions, knowing that our needs are already unsolvable but selling us a bright future can satisfy their own desires.

Would you know the difference between promised solutions and realistic ones?

Would you bet your family’s security and well-being on your answer?

Do you care?

Are you sure?

How do you know?

It takes more than a vote to create a positive future.

It takes an intelligent, informed vote.

And last time I checked, there seems to be a significant shortage of those,

Because in the end, when ineffective, incompetent or dishonest politicians and governments are elected, it’s not their fault.

It’s ours.

In service and servanthood,

Harry