We choose our governments, this is true, but we do not choose how our governments govern. In Canada, we have had so many shifts at the ministerial level there isn’t one expert on the job minding any one thing. Our Environment Minister used to be a news anchor. My guess is he’s probably an expert at being a news anchor, but the Minister of The Environment??? I’m sorry, but I’d prefer to see someone like David Suzuki in that role, someone who actually knows something about environmental issues.
Municipal politics in Toronto is a perfect example. Toronto just elected a guy to be mayor that is better suited to coach wrestling to Neanderthals, but enough people wanted a cheque for $60 in their pockets that they were willing to sell out Toronto for a one time deposit of $60. This week, Mayor Rob Ford released 147, 000 cheques to Toronto citizens to pay them back for a tax he disliked, at a cost of $64 million annually. It was his strongest election promise and he saw it through. All of the experts disagree with what he did, indicating it is fiscally irresponsible to do this in a city where there isn’t enough money for even simple public programs for the young and the elderly. If ever there were a rule in business, it is to take the emotion out of it if you want to survive. Where did we go so wrong in government?
Everyone has the right to vote here in North America – and what do we have? A bunch of liars really, because they can’t (or won’t) tell us what is really going on. They won’t tell us we can’t afford the lifestyle we’re living or the wars we’re fighting. They won’t tell us the world is running out of ways to feed people at affordable rates. They won’t tell us we have to find better ways NOW, because that would make the people angry and scared and maybe they wouldn’t vote for them next time.
So although I am delighted to see the regimes of the Middle East come tumbling down, I would caution anyone in the Middle East that even when we have the right to vote, most people will vote for someone for all of the wrong reasons and when they get into office, they’re not going to be the same person you voted for anyhow.
The only way to live a life that is safe, smart, compassionate and in control is to be as educated and independent as you can be. Make good choices for yourself. Don’t trust what your government is telling you. Do your research; don’t believe your leaders when they tell you everything is ok. It’s not ok. You need to know how you’d survive if a major food shortage happened in your neighbourhood today or if you couldn’t heat your home tomorrow what you would do. Our parents knew, but in one short generation we all joined the prosperity parade hands held out for more and in doing so, we forgot how to stand on our own two feet.
With democracy comes a kind of freedom, the possibility of freedom, but if the people voting only care about a onetime cheque for $60 in their pockets, we are sadly as bad off as they were in the dark ages and we’re headed for worse.