—the man behind it is the important thing
(clever cartoon thanks to Toronto Sun. )
Black Friday, then Christmas, then Boxing Day sales. And then the real silly season begins in earnest.
I know a bit about politics. I have been mixed up in politics for more years than I care to admit. Unhappily, I supported (with time and money) several politicians who disappointed and happily, got lucky and also supported several politicians that turned out to exceed expectations. In the end, though on reflection, most of my bad choices were made when I chose with my heart and not with logic. Being bound to the myth that one party earned my support simply because “the other parties were always wrong” was always a convenient way to avoid taking the time to listen; to understand and to learn.
The title quotation above was from Samuel Clemens (AKA: Mark Twain) . That quote is well over 100 years old and worth thinking about. 2014 will be an election year here and, after the last hang over from New Years has passed, we will witness “democracy” at work. In a mad dash, thousands of would be politicians will make the mad dash to be the first to register as they make their intentions known – to serve us.
Following that will be the traditional first photo opportunity and then the game will begin again. Several months of mud-slinging will take place leading up to Election Day. Fortunately for most of the aspirants, the majority of voters will simply not bother to show up and vote.
And then the navel gazing will begin again as the pundits try to understand what it is about our particular democratic system that makes it so dysfunctional. Those questions will be asked again and again in an attempt to explain voter turn-outs ranging in numbers of less than 40% of eligible voters actually exercising the right to vote.
Sometimes, I wonder what lessons in democracy we are offering in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. We even have one (clown) federal leader who openly admits that he breaks drug laws and believes that the Chinese model of government is preferable. And, you know something? When less than 40% of eligible voters show up to vote a drug infused clown (Justin Trudeau) could end up leading an entire country. Glad I am getting old and will not be around long enough to rue the results of that folly.
But this is the year of municipal elections. Someone once said that municipal government is grass roots government. The things that municipal governments control are the things that touch most of us on a day to day basis. Day in and day out we will use municipal resources such as roads, sidewalks, waste removal, libraries, and recreation centers and so on. Once a year, will get a bill from the municipality. One that one day we will get a tax bill and quickly discount all the services that we consumed in the previous 364 days. And, some clown several months earlier during the municipal election campaign will have tried desperately to gain our vote by promising to cut taxes. I have been around long enough to understand this one dictum set out by Albert Einstein long ago.
A basic characteristic in humans is to attempt to get something for nothing or at a discount. We all want chamfered limousine service for the price of a bus ticket.
Toronto Mayor and confessed drug user, Rib Ford has already pledged that on January 2nd, 2014 he will be the first to register his intent to seek reelection as mayor of Canada’s largest municipality Toronto. For certain, Mayor Rob’s rant will be, “look at all the money I saved the tax payers”. Simple fact, folks: the Ford Nation singularly did not save taxes. In fact, one needs to look also at the services that have been withdrawn or are now user pay. Those new fees are also a tax increases that are deftly brushed aside by Ford.
It is astounding that the latest news is that 39% of voters in Toronto still support Ford. Here is a guy who broke election funding rules, plays dirty, uses cocaine, lies repeatedly, hangs around with some very shady characters and has brought international shame to an entire city. Mayor Ford’s claim to reelection will be that he has singularly done things that saved tax payers’ money. The last time I looked, there were 44 members on Toronto city council plus the mayor. They each ONLY get one vote. To take credit for the type of things that Ford claims is outrageous and another lie. Ford’s one vote on a council in which there are 45 votes on any issue makes no sense.
My wish for 2014 is that each citizen simply takes the time to inform him/her self with facts and spend less time pretending that choices should be solely based on “lie” and “dislike”. Democracy does not work like a reality show on television. We do not simply vote someone off the island, and then change channels to watch another program. My wish is that we each can look past the present Rob Ford “ordinary guy” act that has him dancing (sort of) in a church and at a City Council meeting and recall the sinister dark side of Ford’s association with known criminal elements – recall his open denials of drug use and recall that, when caught, his first reaction was to blame the police for catching him.
We get the type of government that we deserve. An informed voter is key to making democracy work. Get your facts folks and hold people like Rob Ford and Justin Trudeau accountable.
Happy New Year!