Last night was the ‘big debate' on Radio-Canada. It was by and large pathetic, meaningless, and flippant at the best, boring at the worst. Harper was demolished, maybe that's the (only) good part. But the way he was demolished was not conducive to any kind of rational thinking. The performance of the other four ‘chiefs' (what a primitive way to word it) was expectable. Dion was more aggressive, but his position was very weak, since most of the Harper policies on the economy, war and other important businesses were already in place under the Liberals. Duceppe was mild, quiet and to the point, maintaining his lead. The disappointment was with Jack, not mainly because of linguistics, but because Jack succeeded in fumbling, on more time, on Quebec versus federal state issues. He could not simply say the obvious that is the fact that health and other issues are under provincial jurisdiction. At the end however, he admitted it, but it was like pulling teeth out of him.
In any case, lousy debate, lousy politics. The ‘fundamentals' were hardly addressed. Here we are at the beginning of the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s, a few kilometers from the epicenter of that black hole. Hardly a word on this, even from the opposition. War and militarization, maybe five minutes in the debate. Spins, clips, images, ‘clever' repartees, looks, smiles, nice sounding formulas: that is liberal democracy in this era.
Of course, this structure is favorable to the right, in a general sense. Avoiding the ‘fundamental', escaping the hard debates, deflecting meaningful dialogues and debates, this is very good for the Harpers of this world (and Bush, Berlusconi, Sarkozy, etc.).
I truly understand the disgust and the contempt that many young people have for this circus. To think for one second that playing in that ‘game' is the way out of our crisis is really a big mistake. Social democrats of all colors, admit that, unless Radical (capital R) reforms are put in place, urgently, on the political system, your dream of changing the system ‘from within' is doomed. Unless we can impose major changes in the financing of political parties, of the role of the MPs (and parliament), of media, it is going to go from bad to worse. Unless we can ‘reinvent' democracy through genuine citizen participation like they are trying to do in Brazil or Venezuela, forget it. We will continue to end up with the same business.
This is all very important to me. But bear in mind that this is not the end of it. In the immediate short term, we have to prevent Stephen from taking absolute control. If he does, we will be deeper in the hole and it is not going to help. Once we have won in that very limited battle, other lines of confrontations will surely occurred.
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