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Author Topic: Why politics is losing its audience
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 27 January 2002 05:58 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why politics is losing its audience

"Neither the government nor the anti-globalisation activists have adequately explained falling voter turnout. So where can a renewed politics come from?"

Not sure that the author provides much of an answer. I'll check out his website.


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1402

posted 27 January 2002 11:19 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The supermarket analogy is actually pretty good, though it doesn't proceed to another, related conclusion. The experience most people have of supermarkets is that they both (all three or four) carry the same products from the same suppliers; they are probably both (all) owned by the same cartel, and that none of the smiling managers pay any attention to the customers. Mostly, we're thinking: What difference does it make?
From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
agent007
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1189

posted 27 January 2002 12:39 PM      Profile for agent007     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Perhaps it is because Politics is so patently corrupt; so inept; so useless, and yes, so archaic.

Maybe it's time to reassess its validity. Maybe it's time to catch up to the rest of the world and restructure the Monster: do away with politicians/political parties, and hire competent managers to do what is needed.

Maybe ... maybe ... ?!

(Just thinking aloud. It is, after all, a widely held truth that things get done not because of politicians but inspite of them.)


From: Niagara Falls ON | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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Babbler # 1402

posted 27 January 2002 09:57 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Um... who hires the managers? More to the point, who fires them when they, in turn, screw up or become corrupt?

Politics are never corrupt or outmoded.
Parties and leaders need to be replaced regularly; whole systems need to be replaced from time to time. This may be done by a foreign invasion (not the method of choice for the citizenry, which tends to get killed in heaps), revolution, civil war (where citizens also get killed in heaps, except it's a DIY project) or massive reform.
Massive reform takes place when the system cannot function - usually as a result of economic breakdown. A serious depression will do it.
In theory, it could also be done through grass- roots organization, if enough citizens are interested enough.
Guess which method i'm rooting for.


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
agent007
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1189

posted 27 January 2002 10:06 PM      Profile for agent007     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Um... who hires the managers? More to the point, who fires them when they, in turn, screw up or become corrupt?

If we can elect 301 parliamentarians, is it possible that we are not capable of electing (on a yearly basis), say, 1 ombudsperson to oversee the hiring and firing of the managers?

From: Niagara Falls ON | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
meades
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 625

posted 27 January 2002 10:10 PM      Profile for meades     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think the biggest thing keeping people away from the polls is that it seems no matter who you elect- they're liars.

I think the fact many politicians excessively lie is probably one of, if not the greatest factor.

For instance, the Liberals in Ontario- do I like their 'democracy charter'? You bet I do! Do I think they'll implement it? Hell no!

Other factors include laziness/not-enough-time (combined, I'd say these two are pretty big factors), lack of influence (A really big one), some people don't like the negativity, some don't vote for religious reasons, I'm sure there's more...


From: Sault Ste. Marie | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Parviz Mirbaghi
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 289

posted 27 January 2002 11:17 PM      Profile for Parviz Mirbaghi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Rasmus, last election I had a choice between three corporate plutocracy parties so I didn't vote.
From: Whitby | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 28 January 2002 01:35 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fancy that... neither did I! It was too cold to go out and spoil my ballot.
From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
banquo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2124

posted 28 January 2002 02:26 AM      Profile for banquo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If politics and political life become activities considered to be *beneath a person of integrity*, would that consideration be made from a position of integral strength or integral weakness?

Would we like it if integrity, as a character trait, become a factor of exclusion for candidacy?


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 28 January 2002 04:18 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well then, if integrity becomes a factor to exclude political hopefuls, count me out.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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Babbler # 2092

posted 28 January 2002 05:20 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think people don't care about politics because they don't know beans about it and they don't know because there's no point in finding out. Most steady voters are the ones who swallow the status quo and happily spit it out again. Voting is just something that's expected of them, like showing up for work and paying taxes. They read some papers and make a quick decision (usually liberal, of course) and happily go on with their lives.

Of the people who realize it's all a sham, most don't vote at all because it becomes a depressing burden. You're faced with the onerous and never-ending task of finding the information that will help you choose the lesser evil and the more you learn, the more futile your vote seems.

What I'm saying is that the electorate sorely needs more political agency. Throw the responsibility at them and they'll live up to it. Most people want to but just can't face the helplessness they feel in the face of politics. When people start feeling they can influence policy then they will start learning politics and then, in my opinion, the kingdom will truely be ours.


From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
ronb
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posted 28 January 2002 12:14 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Could the decline in citizen involvement partly be due to the relentless "politics = scam, government = corruption" refrain that we've heard from every media oulet for the past 30 years? Could it be due to commentators who glibly assume that politics is a diversion that is performed for the titillation of an "audience"?
From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 826

posted 28 January 2002 02:24 PM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My question is why don't these same folk who are so fed-up with "politicians" after watching them on the news for 17 seconds actually do something to change it?

The percentage of people who are a member of ANY political party is dismally low.

They can hate the current political system and choices all they want but ignoring it will only make it worse. A healthy democracy (which we sure don't have) needs an educated and ACTIVE electorate. If it is not fed, pruned, scrutinized, etc... it will only further fester and become more corrupt.

Watching the West Wing and not knowing about your municipal, provincial and federal political representatives is a very dangerous thing. We are sleepwalking and channel surfing out way into a one-party state.

BOTH sides are to blame here. There are honest, hard working politicians, and there are informed citizens, but they aren't the focus nor the strength.

The apathy of Canadians will be our undoing.


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
banquo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2124

posted 28 January 2002 03:04 PM      Profile for banquo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But what does the excluded non-ideological middle way citizen do in the face of a political structure and discourse still addicted to 19th century labels that were artificial then and false now? What change shall I direct my energy toward? Changing the labels? Changing the ideology? Changing the discourse? Which?

There's no partisan appetite for any of those choices as far as I can tell. The entrenchment of the false left-right dichotomy serves the political establishment in all it's guises. The "spineless", "neither-fish-nor-fowl", "weak-kneed" middle way, which I believe is where the majority of the citizenry actually live and breathe and have their being, stands no chance in this polarized climate.

Thus the majority of the citizenry might feel drawn to The Alliance for this bit of policy, the NDP for that bit, The Liberals for the other and maybe even The Tories for yet another. But not to any *one* party for everything. And since each individual party takes every opportunity to deny the virtues of all the others they simultaneously deny the citizen the right to think that all the parties may have a little something to offer. The citizen then feels belittled, slighted, angry and excluded.


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 28 January 2002 03:21 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Populism to the rescue.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
banquo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2124

posted 28 January 2002 03:36 PM      Profile for banquo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What does that label, populism, mean though? Does using that label *encourage* or *discourage* citizen participation?
From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 826

posted 28 January 2002 04:23 PM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Banquo,

Thanks for your thoughtful response, you pretty much summed-up the problem faced by most of the informed electorate.

I say, short of a forceful over-throw that wouldn't last, that the only way to change things is to elect a party -I personally am against parties too, but this would have to be the first step- that is bent on totally changing things, as far as the parliamentary system goes.

I'm sure these parties exist, I just did a search and this one looke interesting.

http://www.canadianactionparty.ca/Main.asp?Language=English

I'm reading more on them now.

But see, the problem that is really hamstringing the elctorate is the insane rules on who gets to advertise and with how much money and who gets on the debates and who doesn't. Perhaps the internet and good old fashioned door-knocking en masse along with peppering every news room in the country would do it, but it would have to be a combined effort of many great volunteers who can check their egos... something that is kind wonderlandish in politics, I know, BUT, IF it can be done we'll only know if we try.

I was thinking of starting a new party, but my drive is fading... and I'm sinking into pessimism.


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
banquo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2124

posted 28 January 2002 07:43 PM      Profile for banquo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is also related to the old bromide about an informed electorate. In most ways you could name the electorate is more informed today than ever before. This hasn't led to an increased participation but to a decreased participation. That is not the fault of the informed citizenry but of the uninspiring political parties of the day. When an informed citizenry look at the complexities facing us in this world and then compare those complexities to the parotted simplicities offered by the political parties the citizenry cannot help but come to the conclusion that *all* the parties suffer from the famous condition known as cranial-anal syndrome.

The old bromide should be changed - An informed citizenry may be necessary to a democracy but it is anethema to politics a usual.


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Doug
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Babbler # 44

posted 28 January 2002 08:28 PM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There's unfortunately no room in the media anymore for anything but "parroted simplicities". If you can't say it in 15 seconds, it won't make it on TV or into the paper.
From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
banquo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2124

posted 28 January 2002 08:36 PM      Profile for banquo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Politicians on radio talk-shows, with lots of time to go into as much detail as they want, avoid the details. And they parrot simplicities in response to citizen's questions. Just as they do at candidates meetings.

Political web-sites, while they do a better job, are set up so as to promote the notion that said party's platform will "certainly" accomplish this or that. No informed citizen buys the notion of certainty when it comes to policy. When a party tries to sell me their version of certainty I am then sure their whaddyacallits are up their thingamahoochies.


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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Babbler # 2092

posted 29 January 2002 06:02 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's definitely a surge of real political understanding that is creating voter apathy. As I said before, the uninformed vote automatically with no critical thinking. It used to be everyone was like this, but a keener public perception of their political choices is leaving everyone feeling defeated.

Nevertheless, this is a good thing. The growing perception of politics as a rigged system will eventually result in the demand for something new, it's just that people don't know what that is yet, or even if it's possible.

You can't expect people to be politically active in a system that discourages their participation. You can't blame them for not getting involved. We who choose to be aware are banging our head against a brick wall every day and god knows it ain't easy. But even if they're not active, there is still have the distrust of representative politics that is spreading like a weed.

So where should you put your energy? More democracy. There's a political revolution waiting to explode. Elites are failing to indocrinate the populace and are getting by on sheer apathy. Polls show that the values of citizens are in direct opposition to the policies of the governors. What is needed is not advancement in this cause or that (noble as they may be) but a new system that allows the public to promote their causes.

This is why I support the NPI, and any movement that's willing to go further I'm all in favour of. People aren't as apathetic as you think; they are just caught in a system that encourages apathy and punishes paticipation. A party that campaigned on a platform of expanded democracy would scoop together the disaffected and revitalize the political spirit of the country. I may sound like a soft-headed optimist, but I think the public will pass whatever test they are set to. The more political responsibility they have, the more they will rise to the occasion.

If you want people to be involved in politics, create a politics worth being involved in. We need a new model of policy creation that comes from the bottom up.


From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 29 January 2002 06:09 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
What does that label, populism, mean though? Does using that label *encourage* or *discourage* citizen participation?

pop·u·lism n. A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite.

-----

Obviously, I tend to be a left-wing populist, in viewpoint and in statement. Populism is inherently suspicious of (insert anything) that doesn't have a good reason to keep the average person from getting bushwhacked by the big boys.

Populism is also, as I see it (at any rate - how immodest ), a way of helping bring issues to people in a clear, yet effective manner.

That's not to say that I endorse the use of overly simplistic answers to the problems we face today in the world, but there is a time and a place for the big words, and that isn't when you're trying to get a point across as concisely as possible.

Leftists who use $5 words, take note.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 826

posted 29 January 2002 11:37 AM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I disagree that the majority of Canadians are informed yet diasappointed voters who refuse to do so out of disgust. I know these people do exist, but they aren't the majority.

Many of us on babble I assume are pretty "up" on the issues, and that may skew our perception -mine included.

I read a comprehensive study recently (I'll try to find it) that reported a staggaring number 60 to 70 percent -can't remember what- could NOT name the Justice minister. Same goes for Health and Immigration. When given a list of laws or regulations, could not identify them as federal, provincial or municipal juristicion. Half couldn't name the finance minister.

Many could not name the leader of the Opposition -this was a couple of months after the last election and Stockwell Day was a name heard every hour on the news.

It went on and on for pages, reporting that high numbers of Canadians couldn't list ONE platform plank of a political party. Other than "more money for healthcare".

As a reporter I've done many a streeter, walking up to folk and asking them questions. This was in a well sized and affluent place in BC. The MAJORITY of people were totally confused between provincial and federal politics. The writ for the fed. election had just been dropped and I went and asked who they would vote for Prime Minister.. or party of preference, if given the choice tommorrow. You know what MOST people said? "Not the NDP!!!!". Now, I know that Alexa may not be everyone's favourite gal, BUT, there's no way that the average Joe in BC hates the FEDERAL NDP, this was at the height of the Dosange twillight when every news story was trashing them.

Another answer? "That guy on the See-doo."

Some were informed, but they were in the minority. I realise that isn't a scientific example, but the study was.

People are good parrots for what they hear on the news, "more money for healthcare" "politicians are liars" few bother to read-up on issues and the parties that have policies concerning them.


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
banquo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2124

posted 29 January 2002 01:16 PM      Profile for banquo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Trinnity, I work for a public opinion polling company. There is nothing you can tell me that would surprise me as regards voter ignorance. :-) At the same time as I say that I will continue to assert, based on examining responses over about the last 4 years, that the number of people who are conversant with the issues is growing.
From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 29 January 2002 01:34 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Politicians on radio talk-shows, with lots of time to go into as much detail as they want, avoid the details. And they parrot simplicities in response to citizen's questions. Just as they do at candidates meetings.

I get so pissed off when I see politicians on radio or television shows where they are asked direct questions and they treat it as if they're in Question Period, evading the question, giving an answer that says nothing, giving an answer that has nothing to do with the question, etc. I have been known once or twice to scream at my radio or TV when I see that.

I laughed when I was listening to Mike Harris being grilled by the reporters when he was giving his live reaction to the Walkerton report. I forget what the question was, something about whether his policies had directly affected what happened in Walkerton, but he completely evaded it. So the reporter's follow-up question was, "So is that a yes?"

I will never understand who they think they're fooling by doing that. Just about everyone I know can tell when a bullshit job is being done. How is it that they think they can talk in circles instead of answering questions directly, without people noticing and thinking poorly of them for it? Surely I'm not the only one who sees it!


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 826

posted 29 January 2002 01:36 PM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thank you banquo... you know my pain.

I sure hope you're right.

"That guy on the Sea-doo"... I shat you not.


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged

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