April 28, 2011

The Loudest Voice In The Room

Let’s be clear from the start that my own interest/engagement level with politics is casual in election runs and less than awake otherwise; I live in Canada and get most of my paycheque, so just keep doing what you’re doing, whoever you may be. From a straight policy standpoint, regardless of winner and party, little will be done to disrupt my cushy semi-socialized enclave.

The first English-language debate went down in the middle of April, in advance of the election, and was widely scored a Harper victory, mainly because he behaved like a man among children as his hopeful successors focused on personal accusations over policy.

Two weeks on, Jack Layton is no #fail. He’s second, the pitbull who’s galvanized some strange but widening subset of Canadian underdog culture. I thought he’d wiffed, but two weeks offer time to recalibrate some ideas about community. Everyone gets a say now. Where once dignity and decorum reigned, now the tantrum resides. It’s like sport. Futbol players find their inner Broadway to sway the referee, and fourth-liners beat the everloving shit out of each other to avenge perceived transgressions against a star. The reason matters least; the distinction is what counts.

Once, a leader’s values, his capacity to understanding the complexities of federal governance, and his ability to communicate those challenges to a public far less sophisticated to a man than he, would be someone you could rally around. Now we seems predisposed to choose the guy who with the loudest voice, who most demands to be heard. Social democracy says all the better that we all have a common say, and you’d be hard-pressed to disagree. But there may be an entitlement factor creeping in, a notion that we are more apt to side with whoever makes the most noise, whoever sounds the most like one of us clowns with no idea what they’re talking about.

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