Election 2010: Review-ish Thoughts in Bullet-points
-'What just happened?' is the 'debriefing' article that I don’t believe we’ll ever see in any aspect of Media, mostly because the mandate seems to be addressing numbers, slotting politicians into 'Winner' and 'Loser' categories, and examining the challenges ahead. Articles will no doubt examine the dissatisfaction the public feels at the campaign, but only in a perfunctory way will they touch on the dearth of substance that had been bandied about during the campaign...enabling the default setting of 'We'll get 'em in another four years', only reinforcing the aforementioned cynicism.
-What is the current role of Media, specifically Mainstream Media (MM) in our local governance? What should it be? Can a shift be managed?
-What purpose do articles about pre-Election Day polls serve, other than to provide a) stories to publish and b) a sense of validation for Media in being part of the equation? Especially if we're dealing with a disengaged voting public? The world we've created is one of where everything is labelled, everything is placed on a Top Ten list, ranked, categorized...quantified. Considered assessment is hardly a priority.
-I suspect that people are not, by-and-large, forming qualified opinions. On top of the wide-spread apathy towards local governance (a sufficiently large problem in itself), they're being spoon-fed Pablum, herded like sheeple...the end result being one that at the very least, raises eyebrows.
-There are three 'players' in local governance: the public, the politicians and MM. The most important by far is the first...and it's never been the major player it should be. Which of course begs the question ‘How can we change this?’
-We have no real vetting process in our local politics. There are no 'minimum requirements' for anyone regarding running for office. This is good, it's democracy at work...only in order for it to actually be effective, it requires something that currently is not in place: due diligence on the part of the public. What's required is an examination on the part of the people who are deciding who gets to represent them in each ward. This does not currently exist. Not when you have voter turnout at 37% and -purportedly- the majority of these voting 'according to name recognition'. I want the best possible people working for the good of the people at City Hall. But this requires the active participation of the residents to determine just who these people are. It also requires Media to facilitate this process, not turn it into some political variation on 'Canadian Idol'/So You Think You Can Dance?' exercise.
I want everyone to have a chance to contribute to their local governance. For some, this means serving as an elected official. But I do not believe that it is either necessary or appropriate for a mayoral campaign to become a circus. 15 candidates presented for consideration to a disengaged, apathetic citizenry quickly becomes a farce. Especially when the Media is complicit. I can't help but see some of the rationalizations for running as being entitlement-run-amok, self-aggrandizement or hubris-on-the-cheap. I was told by one mayoral candidate that his rationale for entering the race was (and I'm paraphrasing here) "to get in Di Ianni's face." We’re talking about the starting point of our governance process, and even a fringe candidate sees it in a way that hardly rises above sandbox shenanigans. Where is the dignity? Where is the respect? Has our governance become a consumable, some ever-recycled commodity, planned obsolescence in the civic arena?
-Considering so little emphasis was placed on addressing issues during this campaign, I’m curious as to what was actually accomplished. Moreover, I’m curious as to how people believe things will be different, why they believe they’ll be different...and what they’re willing to do to effect substantive change. And when I use the term ‘people’, I’m talking to the most powerful element of the local governance equation, us.