Saturday, August 8, 2009

What's wrong with my generation and politics?

It is a widely recognized fact that youth are more and more disengaged, in general, by politics. The electoral results at all levels over the past years show this. However, at the same time it is expected that these youth, and children, will have acute social consciousnesses when they grow up.

How can this be? If they are to have acute social consciousnesses, it follows that they will be passionate about issues of social justice and the like. But, how channel that passion if you don't believe in the power of government to change things, and hence in participation in the political system?

The answer seems to be that youth don't see a disconnect, they don't see the glaring inconsistency. Why? Because of the pernicious mantra that can be applied to every problem: "if we all do our part, we can change the world".

At face value, this would seem to be fine. However, it all hinges on what you define as "your part".

Let's consider climate change. Our part seems limited to buying a more fuel efficient car, turning off lights, recycling etc... Nowhere is there any mention that the political process may be helpful.

Instead it's change the world through the little things. Instead it's politics is a bunch of broken promises and ineffective at best in bringing about change.

Yet these things cannot and will never bring about the desired change. My generation stands to be frustrated by its combination of a distrust and dislike of politics and sincere hopes of changing the world. That is if it doesn't change.

How can I say it won't bring about the desired change? First, some issues are too big for everyone to do their part. What's more, not everyone wants to do their part.

Secondly, working through charities and such does not have the advantages of government. A government can tax, a government can negotiate with multiple partners, a government has money for studies. Granted charities are powerful, but there is no way that they have the ability to implement solutions.

Charities cannot be the implementers of national policy. Only government can. And, consequentially, the political process must play a part.
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  1. Marc, I suspect your generation's political disconnect may - in part - be the product of the utterly boring quality of today's political arena. It is not merely lacklustre - it's positively anaesthetic. Look at the miserable pickings we're offered - Harper, Layton and Ignatieff. None of them has enough courage to have vision, to lift us out of this political Sargasso Sea. The deadlock in the polls screams of the rank inadequacy of these pretend leaders, these political interlopers.

    I was a Liberal for more than four decades but there's nothing left to belong to or support any more. The people who fawn over the current Liberal leadership instead of raging at it are damned poor Liberals. They've set their sights, and their standards, very low.

  2. That's true to some extent. But sitting back and giving up instead of taking an interest in issues that concern us all won't create any better leaders.

  3. Marc, it isn't 'giving up.' I supported this party for close to 42-years, even when the odd time I had to hold my nose to vote for it. But this isn't the Liberal Party I supported in the past. It's become something else entirely, sharing little more than a name with the liberal Liberal Party past.

    Ignatieff, in my view, is a piss poor Liberal dedicated much more to his personal advancement than to anything remotely liberal. The party has fallen into the hands of hangers-on and sycophants who find all of this acceptable, even desirable. I think this ill serves the party, the nation and the Canadian people.

    Parting company with the IgLibs has nothing to do with my interest and outspokeness on "issues that concern us all."

  4. Sorry. I wasn't referring to you, but to young people who are unwilling to even try following politics.


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