“We shouldn’t be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas”
These words from linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky address the issue raised in last week’s editorial on political ethics (“Same old, same old,” Interior News, Aug 21, 2019).
Our population’s focus on political ethics and the perceived ‘goodness’ of our political representatives has shifted the dynamics of our political system so drastically that ‘good ideas’ are an afterthought. Our election campaigns should be about realistic policy solutions to our society’s substantial problems. Instead, they’re an endless barrage of virtue signaling, alarmism, and dog-whistle politics.
A social media post by one of our candidates, consisting of a single word, ‘Yes!’ accompanied by a photo of a sign in the woods reading ‘Yes to salmon’, illustrates my point. Taken alone, it’s a no-brainer. We all want to say, ‘Yes to salmon!’ Is there anyone who would say, ‘Nah, we don’t really care about salmon.’?
The big question is: What does this Facebook post mean? They’ve been asked repeatedly by another candidate to clarify their position on industrial development in our region, and their response has been either absent or non-committal politician-speak.
As an electorate, we should be asking questions like: If we are saying yes to salmon, does that mean we are must say ‘no’ to something else? How will we say yes to salmon and what will it take? Have we done the scientific and economic research and studies to develop a sound plan?
Unfortunately, we accept these empty statements without question, go and vote for our ‘team’, and then are inevitably let down by the ‘ethical failures’ of our politicians when they don’t do what we wanted them to do, or what we thought they would do.
We have a party and candidate virtue signaling without answers. We have a party and candidate claiming the sky is falling without a proposal of how to hold it up. We have a candidate touring our region’s gun clubs inviting folks to ‘have a shot with our Calgary MP’. We have a candidate who lost to the previously mentioned candidate just like their party leader lost to the previously mentioned candidate’s party leader. (Sore Losers Party of Canada?) We have a party and candidate whose political ultimatum is making abortion illegal.
What we don’t have is a candidate who has shown a commitment to drafting sound public policy that solves our problems.
Until we stop focusing on our search for heroes instead of answers, our politicians will continue to try and convince us that they are the hero we are looking for.
Should we really be surprised when they let us down?