I can understand why many citizens think voting is a waste of time. Graham Thomson picks up on this theme in his column today and chastises citizen indifference to our democracy. As my friend Stephen Murgatroyd likes to say, "It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always get in." Regular readers know I like to say "The world is run by those who show up."
I feel very strongly that our democracy is not only in deficit, it is in danger. Our political culture has become a manipulation of misleading messages driven by aggression and adversarial anger. I am occasionally accused of feeding the culture of aggression with my comments and concerns about the decline of civility and greater purpose in out politics. I know that is true at times but the escalating verbal violence and contempt for values perpetrated by Stephen Harper is pure bullying and must be opposed.
Caring compassion and taking responsibility for something greater than self interest is seen by many activist political Libertarians as the weak actions of chumps. We see collaboration and cooperation as lesser values than the winners and losers culture of pure market place competition. It is a very dangerous and simplistic view of how we must face a globalized interdependent networked reality of the world we now live in. We have complex problems that simplistic approaches create more harm than workable solutions.
We see humility in political leadership as a weakness not a brave act of quality character. Wisdom is mocked as aggressive action is elevated as a more appropriate response to our intractable problems. We need to elect politicians and value leaders who can step out of rigid ideological positions. We need a political culture of curiosity and possibility not dogma and doctrine. We need decision maker who have respect for different perspectives and can actually see, value and adopt different inputs as appropriate.
Democracy in Alberta and especially in Canada is broken. Albertans are taken for granted by the Harper government. It is our fault. It will only be fixed if we citizens take back control of democracy in Alberta. We can't afford to defer to a power hungry politician like Stephen Harper who show consistent contempt for Canadian/Albertan democratic values. Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador knew this last election when, as a Progressive Conservative, he headed his ABC (Anybody But Conservative) campaign. It is time for the rest of Canada to see that values and character count in politics. We need a government that we can respect and that respects us. This is the election to heed Danny Williams and make that change happen in Alberta this election. Don't settle for second class citizenship. Send Harper a message that he con no longer take our support for granted.