Get mad, then get involved

From John Macfarlane’s Editor’s Note at The Walrus Magazine:

THE SOLILOQUY Paddy Chayefsky wrote for the character Howard Beale in the 1976 film Network still resonates today:

“…I want you to get mad!… I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

…We seem to have forgotten that the freedom afforded by democracy comes at a price: the best and brightest have a responsibility to lead; the electorate has a responsibility to at least try to understand the issues; and the press has a responsibility to make the issues understandable.

Would anyone argue that the men and women running Canada today are our best and brightest? And unless we are willing to step into the public arena ourselves, do we have the right to complain? How many of us think we have discharged our responsibility as citizens simply by casting a ballot? How many Canadians could name their member of Parliament, much less articulate an informed argument about, say, Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan?

As for the press, how can the public possibly understand the issues of the day if its primary sources of information are, in troubling numbers, dumbing down?

Getting mad isn’t the answer — for them or for us. The answer is getting involved.

Categories: Democracy

5 replies »

  1. Great Post Norm…

    We really do get the government we deserve. If a citizen, is unwilling to become informed and get involved, even at the lowest level of involvment, they should not complain about the representation, they receive.

    The mainstream media for their part, are dumbing down. Few if any, of the major outlets follow the political spectrum, in this country or the U.S., for that matter.

    It is as if they don't want to keep following, the emerging trend, toward deception and duplicity in government, and let it become the “new normal” in our society. Seems as if integrity, accountability, fiscal prudence and all the positive values, one would expect in a modern democratic society, are being overshadowed by the power at all costs, manipulate the electorate mentality. Is this “new norm” being created…you bet. Corporations with their increaing powers, through lobbying and finacial involvement in our electoral system, are able to have far more influence, than the electorate.

    Corporations control the media, funding to governments via lobbyists, and greater influence from special intrest groups, while the electorate seems less and less relevant, except at the ballot box.

    Unless the individual takes back his or her involvement, in the system as a “relevant” player through even “grass roots” involvement,the system will indeed be “hijacked” by “vested intrests”


  2. Good comment, except the we're not on a trend toward deception and duplicity; the situation is already established. BC Liberals, aided by a blind, toothless, complicit media, has greater loyalty to vested interests than to citizens. Adding insult to injury, they tax us to pay for spinmasters who try to convince us that up is down and black is white.

    Democracy is unimportant to the governing parties in Ottawa and Victoria. No better evidence than the Harper Conservatives aiming to subvert the voting process or the BC Liberal Premier – who holds government without electoral mandate – refusing to call two by-elections simply because polling information is unfavourable.


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