The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “political dysfunction

Admit It: We’re All Trump Addicts Now

Posted on August 5, 2017

There’s no soap opera like it, or even a reality TV show that can compete with the sheer breadth of what’s going on in the Donald Trump administration. And there’s no setting better than the White House, Capitol Hill, or rallies of thousands who largely support his rhetoric. Whether we are inclined to agree to disagree with him, the presence of Trump in the political universe has transformed Washington, democracy and the media, both social and traditional. And if we were honest we should admit that it has transformed us. He is the subject of conversation in every coffee shop or where citizens gather and dialogue. It’s an addiction and if we’re at all inclined to overcome it the first step on the road…

Good Politics

Posted on May 9, 2017

This post can be found in its original on National Newswatch here. John Buchan was a Scottish novelist, historian and politician who embarked on these three careers at roughly the same time. His novel The Thirty-Nine Steps remains a classic. He also just happened to be Canada’s 15th Governor-General (1935-1940). A key to his long and diverse career is found in his autobiography: “Public life is regarded as the crown of a career, and to young men it is the worthiest of ambition. Politics is still the greatest and most honourable adventure.” I quoted this passage during a speech recently, only to be met with a baffled response. It wasn’t hard to see why: few look at politics in such lofty terms. In reality,…

The Governing Cancer of Our Time

Posted on March 28, 2017

In what could only be seen as a stunning defeat, the author of the Art of the Deal found himself unable to close. Instead of “draining the swamp,” as he had promised, Donald Trump found himself drowning in it. Regardless of which side one stands on the recent showdown in Congress, the event signaled again that hyper-partisanship remains “the governing cancer of our time,” as David Brooks and Bill Clinton each put it. Each side blames the other, year after year, and now decade after decade, but the result always leaves good policy initiatives lying in burning ashes. In his attempt to browbeat a recalcitrant political establishment and special interest groups, President Trump invariably became part of it all, forcing the division even further.…

Democracy Without Conscience Can Only Lead To Chaos

Posted on March 7, 2017

This post can also be read at Huffington Post here It’s likely time most of us agreed that we collectively have noidea where democracy is going. And if numerous polls are correct, living in such a situation is creating increased insecurity and tensions among citizens around the world. It’s at times like the present when Vaclav Havel, former independence activist, playwright, and president of Czechoslovakia, might have something to offer us, despite the fact that he died some six years ago. It wasn’t by accident that the New York Times called him the “global ambassador for conscience.” He, too, lived in a world of turbulence. With the Soviet Union breaking apart, no one was quite sure what would arise to take its place. In…

Is Our News Ripping Us Apart?

Posted on March 1, 2017

My wife and I spent some time in Ottawa last week testifying before the Human Rights Committee concerning the deteriorating situation in South Sudan. I noted a number of changes in Parliament since my sojourn there as a Member of Parliament ended six years ago, chief of which was the collective sense of tentativeness among the elected officials. That’s because the world has suddenly become far more complex, and at times threatening. Politicians are getting their information from all sides, both pro and con, and in doses that would challenge anyone. That’s mostly opposite to the challenges citizens are facing regarding how they get their information. According to a recent Abacus Data survey, Canadians are becoming increasingly addicted to social media as their preferred…