The Talented Voter

Politics is kind of stupid and kind of dirty – J.P.

The game is so unfathomable, the players so practiced, the information so unreliable, the opinions so varied, and the goals so vaguely defined, that I cannot bear to participate.

Should the voter accept a measure of responsibility for the actions of the elected? If the idealized conception of the democratic state is one where a well informed citizen scrutinizes the choices on offer, and then casts a vote for the politician that reconciles best with their conscience, then the citizen must cry “mea culpa” should their horse disappoint. By the same logic, should the elected prove satisfactory then the citizen may take pride and live vicariously through the good governorship of their chosen one.

But the ideal democratic plane is a fiction, and the fidelity of transmission from political pulpit to interested voter is muddied by all manner of spin and selfish aforethought. All politicians are liars is too sweeping a statement to be taken seriously (and fails to admit of an intuitive definition) but all politicians do choose their words with care; and not to promote clarity but to avoid loading an opponent’s gun. Meanwhile, the voter watching the proceedings, whether debate or speech, must play the game – navigate carefully, pick out the truth from the barrell of tactics, and either forgive or condemn the variant stratagems of the heroes as foul billiards or level partie.

It’s enough to make me fantasize of a good retch if only to distract myself from the exhausting display. Thoughts of self harm began to creep when I attempted to watch a leadership debate the other night. The first 15 minutes were all I could withstand, the last straw being some rather pitiful display between Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff, where Layton attempted to win points  by casting Ignatieff’s stance on Afghanistan as identical to Harper’s – as if Ignatieff was guilty by sheer association. As worthy an observation as calling out Harper for being like Hitler. Ugh…

Hands up. I am out. It’s not the politicians I hate, it’s the politics. Find someone  else.

Robin Lindsay



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One Response to “The Talented Voter”

  1. Ben Says:

    I don’t think politics is as bad as you think it is. What is more true is that most people are so far away from understanding the nature of leadership, that they don’t know what to expect from their leaders.

    It is a quite easy to criticize politicians from a computer desk, but the reality is that leadership is balancing act, and someone who didn’t measure their words would make a bad leader indeed, as indeed would a politician who didn’t scheme and plot.

    I’d much rather the leader that recognises the importance of energy, for example, and finds pretexts to go to war to secure energy for our countries futures, than a well meaning politician who will stand ethically by while the fuckwits of the world usurp us leave us cold and hungry.

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