Comment 97842

By Joshua (registered) | Posted February 22, 2014 at 19:58:59 in reply to Comment 97598

I'm proud of Steel City Solidarity, too. As for the reasons that our so-called leaders have allowed this to happen, perhaps it comes down to power and money. I don't know if so-called leaders use power callously but it may simply be a matter of an inability to see, through the statistic and the number and the balance-sheet, how decisions made at city hall, the legislative assembly, or parliament affect the least. When I read through Hansard, the record of oral discourse at the provincial and federal governmental level, I'm continually struck by the political jousting and manoeuvring that occurs, the way that peoples' stories are massaged and leveraged into another context, twisted toward another end; of course, this doesn't happen in every case, but there's a sense that the only thing that matters is that the politician retains their seat for the coming election, that too much change too drastically will jeopardize those votes, votes that are coming, predominantly, from those above the age of forty years. This misuse of story, of power, grows from the root of fear, fear that privilege, comfort, and money will be lost. Fundamentally, there is a lack of trust that people are good and can be left to govern, not in a libertarian sense, their own doings and tongues. Money is entwined with power and the presence of the former almost guarantees some measure of the latter; we've come a long way from the sense that one's word is one's bond, that the measure of adulthood is political agency and a resonant sense of compassion. When I read stories of former Toronto-Dominion chief executive officers receiving $2.23-million dollars in a lifetime pension and then contrast it with those at COPE Local 343 who are having their pensions clawed back into company coffers, that entanglement becomes more evident.

Despite the connections between money and power, I maintain some slim hope for the political system of parliamentary democracy. Rejected ballots have decreased from 1.1% in 2000 to 0.7% in 2011, according to Elections Canada's voting reports, and, in Ontario, the last federal voter turn-out was 61%. Somewhere, three-fifths of the province continue to cast their vote, a percentage that has dropped some ten percent from 1867, in elections. I happen to believe, however, that political agency doesn't stop or start at the ballot-box but is hidden in every decision made and ought to be exercised daily. How you respect the food you eat, the water you drink, the air you breathe, the way you live in the world, whether you walk, cycle, or drive, what work you do or don't do: all these things have political resonance and matter, deeply. Tim Hudak, for example, spoke today about dropping his right-to-work-for-less policy, listening to his increasingly-agitated caucus; even there, whether you believe his words or not, he is listening and angling for the popular vote. People listen and they respond--to action in the physical world, not, as much, clicking the 'Like' button on Facebook, pixels and ghostly entrails. Political agency, again, needs to be done in both spheres, through politics and its slow, deliberative movement, and direct action and its spikier, more immanent angle.

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