Comment 77044

By CouldWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 17, 2012 at 07:54:27 in reply to Comment 76994

I would hope that 'the next generation' will be better equipped, more energized and engaging...but then we also have to look at a downward trend in voter-turnout and the great bugaboo of entitlement.

My apologies for being a bit caustic in my 'biding time' comment. Frankly, my tolerance of the mindset of blaming the politicians (whom we put there, whose performance we *should* be monitoring on an ongoing basis, and whom we should be comisserating and consulting with) has pretty much reached its nadir.

So with this in mind, here's my bottom-line thought: without better-

Actually, I'm not going to yammer on, I'm going to quote the Editor of this very site, as noted to me in an email almsot two years ago, and posted on a subsequent Raise the Hammer entry:

I'm inclined to think elections are overrated. If you vote for a candidate
once every four years but don't get involved in the meantime, it doesn't
really matter much *who* you vote for. Once politicians get inside the
Bubble, it's impossible to keep any kind of perspective without ongoing,
substantive interaction with 'regular voters' for grounding.

As for what makes a good politician, I think it comes down more to
temperament and broad intellectual framework than to a specific set of
political beliefs.

A smart, patient, well-educated, open-minded, intellectually humble
councillor will generally follow a sensible process of getting informed
and land on a sensible policy that does a good job of leveraging the facts
of an issue and bridging the hopes, fears and contradictions of the
electorate and the various interest parties.

Here are some of the pitfalls that render councillors incompetent:

* Ambition - voting to maximize upward political mobility
* Megalomania - refusing to listen to others
* Anger - voting to punish enemies
* Fear - voting to avoid risks
* Partisanship - voting along party lines
* Dogmatism - voting along ideological lines
* Laziness - phoning in votes instead of engaging the issues
* Stubbornness - refusing to cooperate with others or compromise

Left isolated from the outside world, just about anyone will fall prey to
one or more of these pitfalls, which is why it's so important for citizens
to: a) elect councillors who will allow themselves to be engaged, and b)
keep up their end of that engagement between elections.

So another generation will not solve anything, be it on the street or at Council, unless we change the local governance landscape in regards to residents' roles in the process.

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