The two-way street of politics.

Voters attend political rally, support voting, get kicked out by RCMP.

In all fairness, that infuriates me on a non-partisan level. It seems as though the RCMP would be just as willing to shut down a pro-voter crowd at a Liberal or NDP rally.

Unfortunately, this other story is unavoidably partisan... and if you'll forgive me, there's going to be a short rant. If you want to skip the purple text, it'll take you ahead to a story of my childhood. Okay? Here we go, then...

RCMP kicks student out of Conservative rally for being in a photo with Michael Ignatieff.

RCMP is providing security for the Prime Minister? Fine, I can accept that. You have to put your name on a list? Sure, they want to weed out the crazies. Although I doubt an egg-throwing anarchist would provide his own name... but that's not the point.

The point that they're making is this: If you're not already someone who likes the Conservative Party, don't even bother trying to meet them halfway. You're their enemy, and that's that. Oddly enough, they seem to think this is a viable strategy when they hold a minority government. They say that if you don't automatically agree with them, they won't co-operate -- and then they're shocked and offended when the rest of Parliament says that they can't work under these conditions.

They were found in contempt of Parliament. This is why we're having an election. Not because of the economy, but because it's become impossible to have a conversation with the Conservative Party if you're not a Conservative. I'm terribly sorry, but you can't run a country on the assumption that more than half of the elected representatives are "The Enemy". You're supposed to work with them, find out what they want, try to strike a deal... you know, all that stuff that politicians are supposed to do.

How on earth can people claim that the other political parties aren't trustworthy? Isn't it slightly more concerning that the ruling party doesn't trust you?

And that reminds me of a story.

I was about eight years old, and I had a couple of friends who were a bit wilder than I. One spring, they got it in their heads that it would be fun to steal things from other students. Slip into classrooms, rifle through desks, and look for little shiny things. Four-colour pens, sparkly glue, erasers shaped like hamburgers... nothing critical, they just wanted to feel like they were secret agents or something.

I didn't have many other friends at the time, so when they asked me to act as a lookout, I agreed. It wasn't the same thing as stealing, after all. And if nobody came by, I wouldn't even have to warn them, and I'd be even less involved! So I waited, hoping that no one would show up.

Naturally, that's when our principal walked by. "Denton! How are you?"

"Um, fine..."

"School's over, you know. What are you still doing here?"

"Oh, uh, just waiting for a ride home..."

"Okay, that's fine -- I trust you."

And with that, he left, not knowing that his friendly words hit me like a dozen lashes. As soon as he was out of sight, I spun around, found my two friends, and told them the game was over, that this was wrong, to put that stuff back, and that we were leaving now. They knew it was the truth, and they didn't protest. Just like that, the little crime wave came to a complete stop.

I learned an important lesson that day: if you want to make someone trustworthy, then at some point you'll have to trust them. It's an incredibly risky thing to do, and it can backfire, and you might get hurt... but that's what it means to trust people.

Otherwise, you just go through life putting people into three groups: those you obey, those you control, and those you fear.

It's bad enough to be feared by people like that.

Being controlled by them is quite a bit worse.


Luana said...

This was really interesting, both politically and anecdotal-ly (like, totally anectodotally, ohmygosh). However, I found myself drawn to one thing in particular:

"I learned an important lesson that day: if you want to make someone trustworthy, then at some point you'll have to trust them."

This hit really close to home for me. By all accounts, I am too trusting, and it's true! Well, but only to an extent. I tend to trust people pretty much from the get-go because despite my generally dour outlook on things, I start everyone off on good footing and let them dig their own holes. My problem, really, is that my own neuroses tend to dig faster than someone else ever could.

Basically, this reminded me that sometimes, trusting yourself is just as important as trusting others.

I have to wonder if your Conservative leaders ever suffer from that fear themselves.

Denton said...

At face value, I had to laugh at the thought of Stephen Harper ever being unable to trust himself. But, you know... well, sometimes I wonder if the reason that he runs his Office with such an iron fist is because he doesn't trust his own MPs, or the ability of his policies to stay in place without his constant micromanagement. That's just pure speculation on my part, though.

I never really thought about how my little aphorism could be applied to trusting oneself. But I like it! Thanks for sharing!

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.