Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The three I's of democratic participation

It is curious why the government and public bodies waste so much time trying to sanitize the news for us. I mean most of us are naive anyway. We don't know the amount of sanitizing that goes on (SPIN) until we actually make contact with government and get blown up.  Most citizens know this matter of the citizens always losing because government is unfair-- but some of us have to have the direct contact with government to realize that government never loses in anything. Why? They have the resources to keep going for years.

But what happens if citizens simply mildly and quietly work for years at work that exposes the failures of governments and public bodies? It's an interesting thought. The government and public bodies use legal teams of course to intimidate and cow citizens but really what will they do in the end? We are being good citizens and  working hard for our children and families to uphold the democratic society we live in.

I believe it is useful to spread the work out over decades. Most governments last only four years. The NDP government for example will only last this long.  The next government may last a bit longer. But citizens have their whole lives to inquire, investigate and insist. What do we insist on? We insist on our place as democratic partners in the society; we ask for the social contract to be honoured. Of course it won't be by government or the public bodies for the most part; they only do what suits them. But we don't need to be like government or public bodies. We need to be good citizens. We need to do the three I's of democratic participation even when we are pushed around and squished.

Democracy cannot be present if citizens are too afraid to write, speak and act. In Alberta, we have heard the spin for decades that government and public bodies are our partners. In reality they are not. They are a machinery that does not work for us but appears to be self regulating and self managing for the purposes of whatever political party is present to drive this machinery to wherever that party feels the machine has to go.

Is this the purpose of the political party we hire to government? To drive the government machinery to the place the party feels it is destined to go? Or is the purpose of the hired political party to serve the people and honour the promises made to the voters?

It's startling for me as a naive citizen to see the gap between the government/ public bodies and us. This gap is getting larger. Government/ public bodies are seen as out of touch and irascible --without any sort of duty of care to the citizens who pay for their salaries/benefits/expenses and god knows what else. If the government/ public bodies do not respect the ones who pay for everything why then should we bother to have government? Why not instead have nothing present and just have every family taking care of their own? It's an interesting thought. Maybe we already have this situation of every family taking care of its own because it feels very lonely in the shadows of the monolithic machinery of government. Very lonely.

A government and a people divided won't last. And when the people see that no matter who we hire refuses to help us, refuses to support us, then there is no hope for democracy. We might then turn away from government and public bodies to encyst ourselves in the muscles of our own tribes so that we no longer participate in a democracy. Is this where we are headed for? I believe this is what will happen in Alberta and maybe in the world.  The people are ignored, diminished and marginalized. But we are still the cattle to be used to pay for the elite. It's very sad.

But oh well. We have to keep trucking. Remember folks the three I's of democratic participation and keep going.

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