The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “citizenship

Sometimes Our Democracy Isn’t Enough

Posted on February 22, 2019

Our system of government, loosely known as democracy, is a complicated machine of many moving parts, guided by bureaucrats and elected representatives tasked with the role of making sure it all works.  Should it fail to function effectively, the system is designed to self-correct through periodic elections designed to give citizens ongoing opportunities to render their verdict on whether their aspirations are being matched with suitable policies. That’s how it’s supposed to run anyway and in the last two centuries generally our political systems in the West have proved adaptable and responsive.  In recent years, however, there is a growing sense that political power is no longer leveraged or guided by the people.  Sometimes it’s because our expectations are too high.  We have been spoiled as decades of…

Our Bridges Are Burned

Posted on February 8, 2019

I was in a car accident during a bleak snowstorm last week and as I worked my way through the process that always follows those in such situations, I took more time than normal to look through social media.  It was a mistake.   I’d always vowed not to fall into that rut … and then I did.   There was much to learn from those hours spent on the digital frontier, but little of it was edifying or even instructive.  What there was instead was a lot of shooting, manufactured mayhem and average citizens left hiding behind their doors and peering out their windows.  It wasn’t literal, of course.  The shooting involved enflaming words not bullets.  The mayhem wasn’t a melee of violence, but opinionating on anything and everything using Facebook,…

The World We Want

Posted on November 15, 2018

Over lunch with a civil society leader in our community last week, there was concern expressed over how she feels our Canadian cities are becoming increasingly split over ideologies, never-ending opinions, online mischief and a rampant kind of identity politics.  She asked if I could send her any writings that could give her some hope for a future kind of citizenship that can overcome forces seeking to pull us apart through a rededication to community life.  I sent her the following quotes from Mark Kingwell’s book The World We Want, among others.  Written almost 20 years ago, it remains more relevant than ever and I thought I’d pass them along. “We must trust to listen to the other whom we do not yet know,…

“The Third Place (Chapter 14) – Humanity”

Posted on August 16, 2018

Dad had to take care of some financial tasks at the bank down the street, but when he returned we journeyed back upstairs to the balcony, which because it was afternoon was no longer bathed in light.  A comfortable coolness fell over us.  Instead of lemonade, the preferred beverage was now coffee. “Alright,” Alessandra began, “I want to talk about politics and democracy, if you’re up to it that is.  I think I get why the Third Place is so important to you, but I’d like to know what you think of our modern era and why we’re having so much trouble keeping ourselves together.  I travel that U.S. more than any other place and I see it everywhere.  Do you think that’s what’s…

The Third Place (Chapter 13) – In Depth

Posted on August 15, 2018

The magazine had been a North American staple for thirty years, somehow emerging into the digital era with a colourful and in-depth glossy publication coupled with a highly polished digital facsimile.  With hundreds of similar folksy and craft-oriented competitors, Home Comfort never relinquished its top ranking in publications. It was a delightful day in late-spring when the two of them occupied one of the rounded balconies, outside on the second floor, where Dad was situated at a slight angle to the sun and Alessandra sat off to the side.  It was essentially a video shoot and partial interview, with Alessandra shooting film that would eventually appear on the magazine’s digital version.  While Finn and Daisy handled things downstairs, Mom and I were permitted to sit…