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Pairs well with:

A long island iced tea… because it's delicious and you continue drinking them until you have a headache and just want to barf.


Just over a month ago I decided to take on a topic that I thought would be timely, interesting and engaging — women in politics. I was absolutely right, except that it kept evolving and snowballing and ended up becoming a giant, for lack of a better word, clusterfuck of ideas and hypotheses that went off in a myriad of tangents. It was too much to take on. The more I wrote, the less happy I would become with what I was writing, and the longer I waited to publish the more things would become upended in the rapidly changing world of politics. What once started as a hopeful and optimistic piece quickly devolved into increasing pessimism and despair.

Since it’s been over a month since I published anything I figured I owe my “loyal” readers (random friends, family and clients who are silently judging me for not posting anything in over a month) something to munch on and mull over. I considered writing something completely unrelated to politics, but I decided I owe my “audience” more than that, and truthfully I owe myself more than that to just toss away a month’s worth of work. So after reviewing the work I have put together I have decided to break up the idea of women in politics into smaller blogs to prevent you from having to read the ramblings of someone who is both passionate and fanatical about the subject. I digress, we’re already at about 250 words of me explaining where I’ve been the past month – also I got a puppy so there’s that.

Our new fur-baby, Jasper the Goldendoodle, when we first brought him home at 8 weeks old.

If you asked me to look back on my life and point out when I initially became interested in government and politics I’m not sure I could pinpoint an exact moment. There are little moments here and there, but the first time I realized the excitement and reality of leading government and getting involved in politics was in the tenth grade when I was elected Prime Minister of my social studies class under the banner of the “Magenta Peace Party.” My stiffest competition was a boy in my class who knew a lot about policy for a kid his age, but also wanted to show off how smart he was and was a bit smarmy about it. In the tiny ecosystem that was my classroom my group instinctively discovered the way to win an election is to tell the people what they want to hear and have excellent stage presence. We confidently told the class we would abolish weekend homework whereas the opposing group went on about policy that was well beyond this teenager’s years and bored the class to tears. There were a couple of other groups who were of no consequence, but it was essentially between my group and this boy’s. We won with an overwhelming majority and I became Prime Minister of the class. A week later we set up the classroom like Parliament and one of the losing groups amalgamated into our group to form a coalition government. We passed the “law” abolishing weekend homework and our teacher stuck to it the entire semester. Hurray! A win for the people!

Or was it? As great as it was to not have homework on weekends it increased our homework on weekdays and even made the entire class fall so far behind on coursework that our teacher was furiously playing catch up at the end of the semester and kicking himself for thinking his plan to be a “cool” teacher and stick with our “law” was foolproof. Does this sound like a somewhat familiar scenario to you? It should. This is what almost every single election degrades itself down to. A confident/cocky politician (Type A) telling the people what they want to hear and ignoring the negative effects of that outcome vs a boring, policy-inspired politician (Type B) who may have their (often elitist) downfalls but at the end of the day knows what they’re talking about. The difference is always who they’re appealing to and if they can be appealing enough to draw out the undecided voters and non-voters. Of course, there are more complex personalities than this and sometimes a Type A still has a bit of Type B to them and vice versa and obviously these are extremes, but to make it as simple as possible let’s just say there are two types of politicians. It boils down to the issue that a lot of politics today, especially in the era of social media, is more about flash and tends to lack a lot of substance.

The counterargument here is that there’s a lot of substance in politics, you just need to pay attention, watch debates, get involved and… do you see where I’m going here? The people who can see the substance in politics are already involved, they’re engaged, interested and typically know who they’re voting for fairly early in the election cycle. That is not who the politicians are trying to appeal to once they’ve confirmed their running position within their party. Granted they still need to keep these people on their side, but they need to focus on the people they haven’t won over yet or instill enough excitement to get those who would stay at home to come out. Politically engaged people are a small segment of the population who have strong opinions and are invested in the electoral process. The thing is these are not the only people who vote. Literally every Canadian citizen who resides in Canada (and some living abroad depending on the circumstances and for how long, etc.) and over the age of 18 can vote. The majority of Canadians who are not engaged in politics or the electoral process mostly pay attention to the soundbites and read the little articles here and there that are posted on their (probably) biased favourite news outlet, if that. Some people vote based on whether they like the way the person looks/acts, some vote based on whether they like the person’s name once they see the ballot, many vote based on how their parents and relatives have voted in the past and still many people don’t bother to show up to vote at all. We can try our best to educate these people and “get out the vote” but there are a lot of stubborn people who simply prefer to stick to their bubble.

Not to go off on a tangent, but consider almost any argument between two people who feel strongly one way or another. They are each going to argue their point until one of them gives up or they both agree to disagree. It’s incredibly rare that one of those people will stop and say, “Well heck, I guess I was wrong this entire time,” or “I see where you’re coming from and I think if we work together we can find a happy grey area between our two beliefs if we each compromise a bit.” Sometimes a civil discourse will take place, but often one or both people will end up becoming frustrated or upset. This has been talked about to death at this point, but it’s worth reiterating — thanks to social media we can shield ourselves in a bubble and surround ourselves with our confirmation bias. So much so that it seems we are more shocked than ever when we come across someone who so vehemently disagrees with us, and chalk them up to being “just one of the few crazies that happen to exist,” or “obviously less informed on the situation.”

I have spent a lot of hours trying to figure out a system that is better equipped at electing officials than what we currently have so only the most qualified are even able to be elected to office, but as much as I have racked my brain trying to come up with new solutions democracy as it currently stands is still the most fair and equal way to elect our politicians. That sucks, because it’s still flawed. There are a lot of career politicians who just say what you want to hear, and then do something completely different. Better to ask for forgiveness than for permission, right? Then there are politicians who have literally no experience and assume they can “take down the system” but once they’re in the system realize the system is incredibly complex and in place for a lot of reasons — they hadn’t fully understood the scope or seen the consequences of what changing it would entail.

In our TL;DR society we want simple and quick fixes, we want everything to make sense in laymen’s terms and we want things to go our way, which is obviously the right way. We’re constantly taking for granted the complex intricacies of politics.

Now wait, hold up. I promised this was a feminist blog and that I would discuss women in politics. Well I promise I will, consider this the first in a series of blogs that will investigate women in politics, but I needed to lay down a foundation for any of what I need to say to make sense. Also, I kind of sound like I dislike politicians. I don’t at all. I love politicians and have a great deal of respect for those who dedicate their life to civil service. I have worked with, and for, many politicians who give up a great deal to do what they believe is best for their constituents. This post was meant to focus on the problem with politics in the fast-paced, short-attention spanned, social media obsessed age we currently live in. I will expand in greater detail how many politicians are forced into playing this new game just to try to do what they feel is right, it’s just now I’m going off on a tangent again and you’re probably getting tired of reading about politics. So take a break, eagerly await my next post, and in the meantime here is another adorable picture of my puppy.

At least we can all agree that Jasper is pretty darn cute. #JustJasperThings

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