The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “elections

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…

Do Elections Work Anymore?

Posted on June 5, 2018

I admit to being purposely provocative here, but the question arises from a place of sincerity.  It’s simply this: in an age when democracies are struggling everywhere for legitimacy, do elections still make sense?  Writer David Van Raybrouck ruminated on this a number of years ago and wrestled with the answer. Doubts have been driven by radical democratic moments in Europe, Brexit, the great chaos that is the American political system today, and now the troubling turbulence of an Ontario campaign due to be settled(?) this week.  The campaigns of this modern era result in more confusion, not less, once concluded. Buyer’s remorse emerges the moment a campaign has concluded, the ballots have been counted, and organized chaos ensues. These days almost everyone talks about…

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…

Democracy Reset

Posted on November 15, 2016

In his book At Home, bestselling author Bill Bryson tells of walking through Norfolk, England, with an archeologist friend. Every church they looked at was depressed three feet into the ground – like “a weight sitting on a cushion,” he writes. Bryson assumed it was because of the weight of the structures over the centuries. His friend answered instead that it was because the graveyards around the churches had built up the earth around the structures over many years. I thought of that observation in considering the fate of democracy in recent years. It was once a vaunted and vaulted political institution that for 400 years had enlightened and empowered the world in most places where it was practiced. Two world wars had convinced…

Transcending Cynicism

Posted on March 1, 2016

This blog post is also available at National Newswatch here. “SCRATCH ANY CYNIC AND YOU WILL FIND a disappointed idealist,” comedian George Carlin said during an interview. We are watching this play out in the American election season, as both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have plumbed a motherlode of disenchantment on both sides of the political spectrum. Supporters of both candidates continue to cry out that they want their country back and their leader is just the person to do it. In the modern era, those seeking election have learned that it’s possible to create something of a political movement by speaking to the despair of citizens, and there’s a point to it. Globally, politics has increasingly become a mug’s game – a…

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