Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Earth to citizenry! Earth to citizenry!
Is there anything so disappointing as bland food?
That's what this election's been like to me. Bland.
Not so much 'plain white bread' bland, but 'the cardboard box the loaves might be transported in' bland.
I've already bemoaned the 'non-campaigns' that The Big Three have presented as their 'platforms'. Bleurgh. And I might be biased, but I haven't really come across much substance in any of what's been distributed by the 'lesser mayoral candidates' save from Mahesh Butani.
Still, this hasn't been my biggest beef in the campaign; I'm even more disappointed by what I've been reading -and hearing- from prospective voters.
It's kinda funny...and yet not...that so many people will slag-off politicians in general, sight-unseen, accomplishments-unexamined...and yet they display behaviour in how they're commenting and generally responding to the campaign that's awfully similar to what they're castigating.
The worst of this stuff can be found on both The Spec's site and on The Hamiltonian. I mean, seriously; if I was on a bus and I overheard so much of what I've been reading...I'd guffaw so loudly I'm sure there'd be an altercation.
The level of perspicacity of some of the offerings qualifies as that coming from 'Brain-dead Fucks'. Others rise to 'Clearly the Result of a Drug-addled Mind', while mostly my reaction is 'Huh? Really?!?' (Occasionally I well-up, sniffing through teary eyes when a comment transcends 'salient' and threatens to achieve 'illuminating'. Not often, but these occasions do leave their marks, faint as they may be.)
I feel the need to clarify: I'm not talking about me not agreeing with commenters' opinions. I'm talking about the attached veracity, the cogency...whether or not rabies is at play.
Honestly, the vitriol, the foaming-at-the-orifice vehemence- It's enough to make me even more suspicious of the average person's intelligence, their ability to grasp the basic concepts they're supposedly holding forth about, whether or not it's even possible for some to articulate much of anything of substance further along the commentary scale than a bumptious grunt.
The really sad thing is that at the same time that we've got this situation going on...encouraged by rookie candidates with so small a sense of context, demeanours seemingly lacking in grace as to be rousing the rabble with their surly exhortations and facilitated by web sites, some who should know better...we've got the 63% of eligible voters (if the last election is any indicator) who don't exercise their right to cast a ballot, or the apparent 60% of those who do vote who base their decision on 'name recognition'. Hardly what I'd call either an informed or a qualified opinion.
What does all this mean?
We absolutely, positively have to do better.
Because all the stuff I so pointedly remarked on in my previous post addressing candidates' behaviour rises up from the general public. This mass is where our potential leaders in local governance come from. Their expectations become inculcated in our candidates. Their idiosyncrasies manifest themselves in our Councillors. Their mores, their codes-of-conduct are exhibited in our Mayors.
'We get the government we deserve.'
Yes. But as well, we are the government we elect.