Where I Become A Political Idealist…

Posted: September 28, 2011 in Current Events, Election, Personal Whining, politics
Tags: ,

I managed to catch at least the first half of the Prov. Election Debate last night and I’ll try to catch the rest later on today via YouTube.  The articles and the polls I’ve seen (and I’m sure there are more to come today) claim McGuinty to be the winner pretty definatively.  One poll I saw put McGuinty above Hudak by almost three to one.  But web polls are strongly influenced by who is likely to visit the website.  A certain type of voter is, for example, much more likely to visit The Sun website, which will obviously skew the results.  Today’s polls will be more independent and objective.

Watching the debate, I was struck with a fit of idealism.  It came for observing Hudak and Howarth constantly attack McGinty on everything under the sun.  I was surprised that they didn’t disapprove of his tie and his shoes.  On several occasions McGinty put forward some new ideas that his government planned to implement in the future.  He was immediately attacked by Horwath who asked why he hadn’t done these things in the past eight years.  Incumbants, it seems, are not allowed to put forward new ideas or tweak old ones.  And God forbid that they state that an idea used in the past might not have worked resulting in a need for new initiatives.

Partisan politics requires as a rule that each party hate everything that the other parties propose, regardless of what it is.  The party in power can have done no good whatsoever.  New ideas proposed by an incumbent are a sign of weakness to be exploited.  Good ideas proposed by an opposition party could never have any merit.

And so I started to think about what a cooperative, bi-partisan government might look like.  Imagine a government where, after the election, the winning party was able to take some of the better ideas from the opposition platform and incorporate them.  Imagine the Liberal government winning a secure majority and then turning to the NDP and saying, “We thought your idea of giving tax incentives to those companies that actually create new jobs was a good idea, so let’s talk about how we can implement that.”  Or perhaps, to the PC, “That apprenticeship thing you talked about was a promising idea that we’d like to pursue.”  Can you see that happening?  Wouldn’t it be a shockingly positive development in what is otherwise turning into a toxic political landscape?

Or perhaps, if an opposition party had a notable or exceptional member, they might be included in the Cabinet, because even though they were a member of the opposing party, they deserved the position on the merit of their expertise.  (This one is often done in the American system, where the Cabinet doesn’t have to be elected, but is appointed.)

Imagine (-I’m beginning to feel like John Lennon-) a proposed legislation that is just a plain good idea, and that has all members of the government vote in favour.  It’s not possible that every piece of legislation be part of a polarized ideological agenda.  Some must be common sense, deserving broad support.  And yet it seldom happens because in the desire to take power, you can never be seen to support your enemy.  This is a Machiavelli approach to politics, -the plotting and scheming to take power, rather than the interest to govern.

If, after this election, the winning party were to extend their hands across the partisan divide and recognize the merit of some policies, would the public see this as an act of weakness, or would they be pleasantly shocked by the sheer common sense of it?  Would they be refreshed by the digression from cynical politics?  I know that I would be.

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