A carved oak table,
Tells a tale
Of times when Kings and queens sipped wine from goblets gold,
And the brave would lead their ladies from out the room
to arbours cool.
A time of valour, and legends born
A time when honour meant much more to a man than life
And the days knew only strife to tell right from wrong
Through lance and sword.
Peter Gabriel – Genesis, Foxtrot
Some people just don’t get it. Or maybe they just don’t care. What if those people are your council?
Being a councillor is easy. Being a conscientious councillor is not. If you take the approach that you want to balance the needs and wishes of all of the people you represent, then you’ve taken the more difficult path. Being a conscientious councillor is a high wire act as you are constantly focused on trying to maintain a balance. You often find yourself being forced to make difficult decisions in less than ideal circumstances. Constantly forced to choose the lesser of two or more evils. You’re put into positions where the so-called “right answer”, the “right decision” just feels so profoundly wrong, and you’re pushed to disregard those feelings.
You’re advised by professional staff who tell you things you don’t want to hear. If you got into this business because you felt you wanted to make a difference, then inevitably you’ll find yourself compelled to push back, to start digging for information, for arguments to counter the argument you’re being given. You feel at a disadvantage, sometimes you feel betrayed, suspicious, misled. Now imagine being a member of a council, where a number of its members have formed a voting block, a country club of sorts, where the criteria for admission is to turn off your brain, to tow the line of its leader, and discard every principle you ever vowed to up hold? Party politics isn’t supposed to exist at the municipal level, but there is definitely something of the like going on in King Township. There is an agenda at hand. One that is being relentlessly implemented, regardless of what so many of us think.
YOU BETTER WATCH OUT…THERE MAY BE DOGS ABOUT!
I am always amazed at the conduct of some councillors. So willing to shut down discourse, to thwart discussion on issues that are significant to the individuals being impacted. I think one of two things must be going on. Either they don’t care, or they have been doing this for so long – too long – that their skin has thickened to the point of being numb to any feeling but their own – except when election year roles around…
There are more people in this world who would make ideal political leaders than there are candidates because there is a vast difference between the act of governing, and the act of running for election. But elections, although one of the core principles of democracy, give advantage to those who are more than willing to flat out lie to your face. Some are willing do ANYthing to win, and since most are not, that cuts the field down substantially, and what we are left with are a handful of good intentioned individuals left to slay the dragon.
What makes a government, the peoples government, are fresh ideas and a fresh approach. Without that injection of change, complacency rules the day. So often we see our leaders walk down the path of serving the minority voice. And once a politician becomes useful to minority groups, they become detached from the majority, and cease to uphold core democratic principles. This is when they should have the good sense to move on, or the system should have safe guards to ensure this. Instead many stay on, for all the wrong reasons, perhaps to justify ones own existence, or to maintain the suppression of secrets, to fill a void, or perhaps to simply collect a pay cheque.
Inverse of the conscientious politician, is the mindless politician. Its an easy road. You don’t have to think, you just do as your told, and follow the lead no matter what path your sent down. You’re not watching the road, you’re just along for the cushy ride. Or maybe you’re an ambitious politician who has learned that towing the line becomes synonymous to climbing the ladder, high enough to pick of the fruit. Again, repugnant to the core principles of democracy.
Our system, it seems, is not devised to reward good deeds, but rather to reward individuals that serve to feed the machine.
Is it any wonder apathy takes hold?