Wednesday, September 3, 2014

POLITICS AND POLITE COMPANY


How many times have I heard that politics and religion should not be discussed in general company.  

What does it mean? Blogging about such things to a general audience equates to shouting my opinions and observations to the world.  This sometimes upsets people because politics, like religion, is not always discussed in a logical, philosophical, ideological or logical way.



If you are a Buddhist you might believe, with all your heart and mind, that after this life you will return – perhaps as a human, or a slug, a butterfly or even a god. You will return. As a Christian we believe that Jesus was the son of God who chose to die on a cross so our sins would be forgiven and that we could chose through our own actions an eternity in heaven or in hell. Muslims men believe they will spend an eternity with 72 virgins if they follow the word of the prophet.  Our minds, hearts and souls are made up.



The stakes are too high to open your mind to something else. There is not a lot of room to question what you believe. Often we have a blind faith in individuals, causes or organizations. We become dogmatic, unmovable and indifferent. We develop blind spots. Think about it?



Polemic and Politics, I am told by some friends is a bit too indifferent to authority. They ask me why I question people, policy, politics and politicians. Why do I feel the need to discuss politics in general company? I believe that in a democracy that the stakes are too high not to discuss issues, personalities, economics, politics, religious zealousness and social challenges.  I believe in speaking truth to power and I used to be fearless about it.



Towing the party line is difficult for me. I believe that together, and as individuals, we live in a great society. I am a Trudeau Liberal – not a business liberal. That belief is not based on petty politics, Machiavellian maneuvering or jumping on bandwagons for personal gain. I believe that we all should have equality of opportunity, that government’s role is to intervene to protect the weak from the strong, that we can not be indifferent towards the growing gap between the rich and the poor. I believe in a just society. I was empathetic to Jack Layton and Stephan Dion. I have great hope in Justin Trudeau.



I do not think government should be run like a business because it is not a business. I want to know my food, water & transportation infrastructure is safe.  I want to maintain universal healthcare coverage. I also want to see a thriving private sector, but the private and public sectors have different objectives that are not always compatible.



Jack Spatfora, a Chicago blogger tells an antidote that I can relate to and want to share:



My philosopher-barber put it to me this way: "I see these two opposites like a tightrope and a safety net. The tightrope is where the gutsy are free to take their chances; they like risk up there. But down here there's gotta be some kind of safety net; not only for us little guys, but sometimes even for the gutsy guys. Because everyone falls sometime. Which is when I expect my government to catch us. Why else am I paying taxes!"



I know where I sit, ideologically. The challenge is finding a home that reflects that ideology to the greatest extent. We need democratic, bureaucratic & parliamentary reform to re balance our democracy.



Being indifferent to the imbalances of our democracy makes no sense. Sometimes we have to talk/wax polemic about politics without the blind spots, an open mind and with the scattered paradox in our thinking.

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