The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts from the “Media” Category

Closing the Distance

Posted on March 22, 2018

Speaking to an American university graduating class two years before he died, former playwright and Czech president Vaclav Havel said something that caused the auditorium to do some serious thinking: “The deeper the experience of an absence of meaning – in other words, of absurdity – the more energetically meaning is sought.” He knew his audience.  America’s youth, like those in most nations then and today, was fed up with the kind of politics that got increasingly ugly the more it grew ineffective.  Yet the final six words of his quote lit a fire – “the more energetically meaning is sought.”  It was true of those students, as it is of us.  We want more than a politics that just can’t inspire. Perhaps the…

17 Minutes That Could Change Democracy

Posted on March 20, 2018

True, the raw emotion of it has worn off somewhat, but not its memory – never the memory.  The sight of fearful students rushing out of Parkland Douglas school in Florida was, in truth, all too familiar an image on our screens – we’d seen it all before.  Problem was that all that collective angst, the outpouring of emotion and support, sympathetic news coverage that occurred in other states in other times had come to the same end – nothing.  It’s likely millions watching it all unfold thought the Parkland shooting would be little different.  It seemed like nothing could shake lukewarm or belligerent politicians, a cold and immovable organized gun lobby, or a media that diligently covered the story until they didn’t and…

A Different Path

Posted on March 18, 2018

Fifty years ago  this past week (March 16, 1968), Robert Kennedy announced he would be running for president in the same Senate Caucus Room his brother had made his announcement eight years earlier.  We all know how it ended, but few recognized the personal transformation he went through during that brief campaign. Ironically, RFK chose an opposite path to most of today’s politicians, opting to migrate from a place of attack and negativity to one of hope, social justice and a sense of ethical responsibility.  True, he had frequently been somewhat moralistic earlier in his career, but it always seemed to propel him into attack mode, especially against corruption and greed.  He became his JFK’s watchdog as his attorney general in his relentless pursuit…

Tribes. Tribes. Tribes.

Posted on March 15, 2018

It’s all worked out pretty much as they said – three books that predicted the madness of American politics. Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, by Geoffrey Kabaservice The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted, by Mike Lofgren It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collide With the Politics of Extremism, by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein It’s interesting to note how long these titles are, almost as if the subject matter is far too great and complex for a simple phrase.  But what’s even more telling is when they were written.  Though they adequately describe the turbulence of American politics today,…

Letting Our Cities Take Flight

Posted on March 13, 2018

“It is always easy to create an ordinary city; what is difficult is to create an extraordinary one, peaceful and restful one, smart and tidy, artful and cultivated one.  In short, a livable one,” wrote Mehmet Murat ildan. It makes sense, seems perfectly plausible, and for committed citizens and good politicians should be doable.  Yet many Canadian cities are having trouble achieving it.  Those that struggle inevitably compare themselves to other municipalities elsewhere that seem to have their act together and lament that we lack the resources, leadership or innovation to replicate such success.  There’s a lot of that going around these days in this country, especially among mid-sized cities. Since my time as a member of parliament in Ottawa a number of years…

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