I know, I know, for those of you interested in reading my rants, it’s been awhile. Not because I didn’t have anything to write, but because whatever I wrote was sounding like I was a pessimist, and everyone knows, I am NOT that at all. However, to be honest, politics and elections have been driving me off the deep end lately and I think what has happened is, suddenly I’ve come to realize that the system is a total shambles OR I’m getting a bit long in the tooth, realizing at my age I’d better get working on the fix.
I thought it might be that everyone is just wanting to get into politics because they think it’s easy money, well, maybe it is. There’s no qualifier really, even at the Provincial and Federal level, it’s just the person with the most friends. Think about that, quality is not the issue, it is who sells the most memberships and gets them out to the nomination meeting. What a horrific process, when WE are out here hoping that someone will get in and right the wrongs. Unsuccessful lawyers, who happen to be good sales people, seem to have an edge. Ok, I know some of you are going to say, what do you mean unsuccessful lawyers, come on folks, if they were successful lawyers, wouldn’t they be practicing law? Lets get off the traditional alternate occupation of a lawyer and talk about municipal politics. Was it just me, or is the pond drying up? Or is it that we have abused people so much in local politics, that there is a reluctance to run anymore. I remember as a kid, it was the well-known leaders of the community that sat on Council. Not so much here in Cambridge, but in another part of the region? Wow, what a challenge that incumbant Mayor is going to have, whew, watching those debates was like a dental appointment without freezing. I had to laugh when my 9-year-old daughter had a better answer for one of the questions, than any of the candidates, but then, she is her father’s daughter :-).
If we want better, we have to insist on it, we have to be proactive in creating an environment where better will be attracted, where people with great ideas, strong beliefs in giving back some of what they’ve been given and the inherent ability to analyze, devise and critique an issue, will be enthused about serving. Failure to do that will simply, as the old saying goes, “get us what we always got”. Yes, I served in public office, no I didn’t have any credentials and it’s true I had no idea what I was getting into, the difference, God blessed me with an open mind, a reasonable intellect, a kind heart, a listening ear and a ferocious appetite for learning, investigating, uncovering and deliberating. Yes folks, I’m the perfect person for the job, ha ha ha, not that I particularly loved it, but it was extremely rewarding. 100 somewhat perspectively challenged individuals, were easily made up for by the 1 kind-hearted and polite person who appreciated everything you did for them and the community. God also blessed me with the ability to communicate and a ton of patience (for those challenged folk). I recall one woman during my last election bid, who was actually, borderline criminal in her verbal abuse of me. In a public debate, then as a caller on a local radio talk show and frankly during every public appearance I had where she attended as well. Thanks to her and two of her local friends, I lost the election. WAIT though, I did say thanks and I absolutely mean that, I’m quite satisfied I lost, but none the less, they attributed greatly, as I only lost by 26 votes. Now the perplexing part of this story comes two years after that election, when this same women was calling me, begging me to run again, saying she was wrong, I would have been a better elected official than my opponent and she would work on my campaign, and she didn’t say, but I assume she would have abused the heck out of my opponent like she did me two years earlier. Folks, the moral of the story is, and for the record that is an absolutely true story, our communities are full of perspectively challenged individuals in which there is no cure or medication. The only thing keeping them from an institution is the definition of crazy. You see, crazy can mean; intensely enthusiastic, passionately excited ie; crazy about baseball, or; very enamored, infatuated ie; he was crazy about her, or; wonderful, excellent, perfect ie; that’s crazy man, or; mentally deranged, demented, insane (no example needed) OR; having an unusual, unexpected or random quality, behaviour, result, pattern etc, ie; that crazy woman spins in every direction. Need I say more?
Folks, we need to raise the bar a little, we need to approach our politicians with a little self-respect, yes, SELF-respect, because when you abuse people, it is you who become the not respected. We need to talk sensibly, articulately and above all accurately and help them make the right decisions. And if the decision they make is wrong, in our opinion, remember, please remember, they aren’t the only one’s on that side of the decision, maybe, just maybe you were wrong. If we change the way WE treat them, we will no doubt encourage the right ones to come forward. I get the opportunity to talk to politicians all the time, some of them frankly, I’m shocked they got elected, but they did, so I respectfully converse, I convey my sentiments, I encourage their support and ask them kindly to consider my request. Some I win, some I lose, but in the end, I develop a great relationship with them and I bet that is the primary reason why, I win more than I lose. However if I did lose, my theory (and it’s the right theory BTW) was that I didn’t do enough, say enough or say it right in order to have them understand and agree with my point of view, that last one we should probably blame is the politician, remember they are always being told how to vote, when to vote, why to vote by all of us, and unfortunately the bureaucracy from whence all ridiculous policy comes.
Lastly, and this is the most controversial, I think we need an education format for those thinking about running. I believe it will serve you and I better, if we pay (through our taxes) for a 6 week college course on “being a politician”. Something that gives graduates a certificate that without it, they can not put their name forward to run in an election. I know you will think this eliminates some, but in fact it does not. All will be welcome regardless of education, sex, race or otherwise, the only debilitating requirement would be the lack of Canadian Citizenship and they must be of legal voting age. Complete the course, free of charge, paid for by local or Provincial or Federal funds and your good to go run. This should apply to all levels of candidates. This is not a test, degree or diploma, this is simply certification that the required hours of class time, gaining valuable knowledge to help them understand the role, the context and circumstances of the position of elected official.
Otherwise my patient readers, we will continue to get what we always got, and we will undoubtedly deserve exactly that!