on my semiweekly trips to the gym, I phase out for fifteen to twenty minutes or so watching the closed-captioned news on the TVs as I dutifully jog my heart out on a treadmill. last month it was olympics, olympics, olympics, which I enjoy for sure, but this month it’s all elections, elections, elections. bleah. and this year, we may very well have federal elections in Canada AND the United States at about the same time, which (as far as I can remember) doesn’t happen very often. Canadian elections I’ve always watched somewhat in the spirit of a deranged game; they’re short, vicious, and get your adrenaline going. American elections I watch more in the spirit of a slow-motion train wreck. Why anyone would want to spend over a year going through so many motions, procedures and ceremony to elect their leadership invariably elicits a reaction of horror and awe from me. In reality, though, either system has such glaring flaws that I find it genuinely difficult to participate — and impossible to involve myself — in election mania in any meaningful form.
First off, I don’t think I’ll ever understand the partisan political system really, or how anyone could claim that a “party” can ever truly represent them. God gave to humanity the gift of a diversity of views — how do they suppose that aligning oneself with or subscribing to the ideals of a “party” will advance the process of exchanging such views? Instead, all it does is obscure the truth and make every problem more difficult to solve, because people are too busy watching their backs, toeing party lines instead of being open, honest and frank. Second off, why are we to vote only for the rich and lucky ones who can pony up the most cash to pay for a glitzy campaign? Why can’t we vote for those people who, in our hearts, we truly believe deserve the station of servitude to their country, who show forth actual merit, virtue, character and solid worth? Why narrow the field to only a select few? Third, if our goal is to promote a unified nation, what is the point of such an adversarial system, both in the process of electioneering and campaigning, and within government itself? Why do we have to listen to week after week of pundits on Side A slam the pundits on side B, or the candidates on side B denigrate those on Side A? It’s not pleasant, for Pete’s sake. Why do we have to argue over whose kids are alcoholics, whose are pregnant and who forgot Poland? Unified societies are built upon cooperation and consensus. Why not try those out for a year and leave the bickering behind? If we find that we prefer the bickering afterwards, well, we can always go back.
In short, my impression of the prevailing partisan electoral systems in Canada and the US is that they don’t seem to support human dignity or its unity. To me, all they seem to do is to make problems harder to solve, because those who are elected to serve are too busy dealing with matters of the human ego. And I’m afraid that’s enough rambling for now; it’s getting late. Got more TV to watch at the gym tomorrow. As usual, I’d love to hear your comments.