The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “democracy

The G7’s Troubles Started Long Before Trump

Posted on June 12, 2018

It was hardly much ado about nothing.  In fact, there’s been nothing like it in decades.  Donald Trump’s erratic utterances before, during and following the recent G7 meetings effectively kept the world attentive and coming unglued at the same time.  The irony of the American president wanting a chair at the table for the Soviet Union while one of his key advisors called for a special seat in hell for Justin Trudeau wasn’t missed by anyone. The attempt by the other G7 leaders to keep everything from unravelling was commendable, but there remained this abiding sense that the global order which has prevailed over much of the world since World War Two was in the process of unravelling. Something is wrong and, in many…

The Fight to Vote

Posted on June 9, 2018

It’s Election Day in Ontario and many remain as confused as ever as to the choice they must make.  Too many have said that they’re not heading to the ballot box this year because elections themselves no longer provide the outcomes people hope for.  There’s a lot of truth to this, and should be acknowledged. The problem is that, while elections increasingly frustrate us, there is as yet no clear alternative to someone heading into a private area, marking their choice, and then living with the result.  There are numerous ideas of how to rank ballots or prioritize them, but there is still no substitute for the act of a private citizen voting. Sometimes votes aren’t about choices at all, but a choice.  There…

It All Comes Down To Us

Posted on June 3, 2018

And, so, it has come down to us – citizens – just as it always has. An election isn’t just about winners and losers; it’s also a kind of scheduled checkup on the health of our democracy.  So far, the vital signs aren’t good. To be sure, there are indications that people remain committed to the political process and its importance to how we carve out our future together.  But not as many of them, and not nearly with the sense of confidence required to restore the optimism that was once part and parcel of our daily lives. Something about this particular provincial election is deeply unsettling.  It’s hardly a secret, as people all over the province express a deep sense of disquiet over the…

Truthiness and Consequences

Posted on May 1, 2018

It was back in 2005 when Stephen Colbert first used the word “truthiness” on the Jon Stewart show.  The audience bellowed their laughter and overnight the term took its place in our modern vocabulary.  Colbert said he used it to describe the kind of politics that rejects reason and research in favour of “gut feelings” that someone feels regardless of the lack of facts.  Now, some 13 years later, the term is etched in our thinking. One of the clearest examples of how “truthiness” played out in real life occurred in the Republican Party’s 2012 primary race – a contest eventually won by Mitt Romney.  In one debate, Romney’s key challenger, Rick Santorum, provided a strange example of what happens when governments get too…

Labyrinth

Posted on April 26, 2018

The thing about rage only two decades into the 21stcentury is that it’s everywhere.  In past eras it brewed in turbulent hotspots – the Middle East, India-Pakistan, the Balkans, the Congo, Nicaragua, among others – usually far away and, in consequence, far from our minds.  But the individual and collective anger has spread to normally stable places around the globe – Germany, France, Norway, Britain and most obviously in the United States. In his Meditations, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius cogently noted, “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”  It seems to me that some are coming to terms with this observation.  The “age of rage” has been rolling on for years and the change which that kind…

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