Thursday, July 4, 2013

Theory of Public Participation

There is way too much garbage flying around with these byelections to keep track of it all, so I would just like to step back for a moment and acknowledge how wonderful it is to be actually involved in the political system. I'm going to be involved in these by elections, in addition to just writing about stuff related to them and other political things here.

That may not sound like something to be very proud of, but let me assure you that it puts me miles above the thousands of people my own age who cannot be bothered to knock on a single door or engage with one single voter with the intent of changing the political system that they rail against on a daily basis.

I write stuff here about how awful it is that unions think they can conquer our province and appropriate privilege for themselves, but as much as I don't like them, I have infinitely more respect for them for actually GETTING INVOLVED than I do for all the other hipsters "fighting oppression" with tweets, with marches, with posters, with reddit threads, with conferences, with inventing words that nobody's ever heard of. If you have time to do all of this stuff, but you can't find the time to actually engage politically where you might change something, then yeah.....your "oppression" is basically your own fault.

The time I put into being a party member does more to change the way this province, this nation, is governed, than anything it is that these people are up to, because they can't be bothered to get involved in the political system. Not trying to create a new political system out of nothing like the Occupy fools did- getting involved in the existing one. They want to "stop Harper" or fight the Republicans from the safety of their computers and Twitter accounts? Don't make me laugh.

Silly ass articles in newspapers that talk about how Twitter causes revolutions and shakes governments to their core make me absolutely furious. Twitter does nothing. PEOPLE shake governments. PEOPLE cause revolutions. Politically involved people who spend their time being involved in the affairs of their own governments, not those who use cute hashtags or post Youtube videos.

Oh, the hilarious excuses people come up with for not actually doing anything. Politicians are all the same. I don't want to compromise my principles. I don't have time. The system is too corrupt. No- YOU are too lazy, or scared. You are LETTING these people get away with creating this so-called systematic oppression that enrages you so.

There can be no greater proof of how those on the left (and, it must be said, the right as well) don't actually want social change than how they devote all of this time to coming up with ways of expressing their feelings about how society is screwed up, but don't actually step into the political arena because they don't want to associate themselves with uncool people like me who actually do stuff instead of just talking about it.

Political activism is unsexy, populated by mostly unsexy people. It is not something that you can just pay lip service to or do for one afternoon with your skinnyjeaned friends. You don't make buckets of money doing it. You shut your mouth and you go to work, because changing the way a country is governed is the most goddamn important thing in the world. Politically involved people have trouble keeping marriages and relationships together for this very reason. If you want to be fabulous, or build up your resume, you probably should be doing something else.

Jerkass comedians like Bill Maher and Jon Stewart who spend their time getting hugely paid while smugly mocking the right think they are changing our political system for the better. They think they're making history, but they aren't reducing the population of the right at all. After they're done making fun, the political right still exists, and is still going to try again, and they're going to try until they get what they want. Because while watching Jon Stewart skewer Bill O'Reilly for the 1000th time is hilarious and makes you think social justice is happening, it isn't, because Jon Stewart is passing no laws and getting nobody elected or de-elected.

No, people want to remain at arms' length from the kooky world of politics while griping about what a mess it all is. That makes a lot more sense than actually doing something to change the way things are. Maybe, in the near future, once Canadians don't have to imagine they're living in a banana republic, but actually are living in one, they will take their governance a bit more seriously.

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