The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “civility

Yelling Past One Another

Posted on January 12, 2017

Just how difficult our politics have become turned up on social media feeds this week and in traditional media. As is often the case, Twitter failed to live up to its ideals by suspending the account of Alexandra Brodsky, an advocate for gender-free violence in education. She works at the National Women’s Law Centre and is no stranger to verbal conflict. When she received a number of harassing tweets from anti-semitic trolls, Brodsky took the unusual step of posting screenshots of the offensive tweets on Twitter. She also reported the occurrences to Twitter, asking that they suspend the offenders, some of whom posted, “Welcome to Trump’s America,” and “see you in the camps,” along with images of the Holocaust. It wasn’t hard to see…

Down to You and Me

Posted on January 11, 2017

There is only one way that civil society makes sense, and that’s if we disagree – a lot. Sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but consider the average coffee shop banter in any local hangout.   You hear friends disagreeing all the time, most often with good-natured humour, but crossing verbal swords nonetheless. If civil society is to work, it must include everyone who wants to take part, and since we are all unique in our opinions and outlook on the world around us, it’s inevitable that there will be just as many points of view as there are people. A troubling trend in recent years has been the propensity for citizens to expend great energy with those who mostly agree with them, primarily online. It’s natural…

The Only Way Forward

Posted on January 10, 2017

“When civility is illusory, war is inevitable,” wrote author Steve Maraboli not long ago. You don’t have to look very far for verification of his claim. While people will make nice in the next couple of weeks for Donald Trump’s inauguration, it won’t be real and it won’t be effective at creating cooperation. We are increasingly living in a world where there is little common space where people of different opinions can hang up their weapons of verbal combat at the door before they partake in productive policy exchanges. There is already blood on the streets of Washington D.C. but it’s just not the literal kind. People are learning to hate, despise, mock, jeer, troll, attack, belittle and demean at levels rarely seen in…

The Weak Man’s Imitation

Posted on January 28, 2016

IT WAS OBAMA’S LAST STATE OF THE UNION address, so he threw out the challenge to the entire chamber – “Fix our politics.” That sent all sides scrambling to lay blame on others for the sorry state of the political order in the United States. Yet the reality is that they are all to blame. With the present campaign under way there are virtually no signs that anything will get fixed. Which isn’t really what people hoped for in Canada. Our national election behind us, following a decade of dysfunctional politics in Parliament, there was a subtle hope that the nastiness of Question Period and the relationship between the parties would show signs of improvement. With Parliament resuming this week it had the sad…

The Partisan Mind (3)

Posted on October 10, 2013

Sean O’Casey noted a few years back: “Politics – I don’t know why, but they seem to have a tendency to separate us, to keep us from one another, while nature is always and ever making efforts to bring us together.” Citizens recognize this reality and, to a point, permit this kind of tension in the public space because people often hold to different opinions and a free flow of ideas hopefully brings us better solutions.  But citizens have been patient long enough with the new kind of politics that seeks to divide, conquer, and eventually subjugate.  They now reject it.  In the place of progress, they are forced to make do with polarization and paralysis in government.  Under such a construct, the term…

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