Letters to the Editor

Political apathy is just a symptom of a deeper problem with our democracy

While I can agree with some of the sentiments of Dave Carter as presented in his letter to the editor (‘Apathy threatens democracy,’ March 31), there is much more for us to consider and talk about on this issue of apathy threatening democracy.

He states:“The two biggest problems with politics in our country are apathy and ignorance.” However, after giving this topic some deeper thought, it became abundantly clear to me that it would be more accurate to say that the problems of ignorance and apathy in our country are created as a direct result of a skewed political system.

I am not trying to make a “fashionably disinterested in politics” statement here. Like many Canadians I am concerned with this business of yet another “election that effects us all profoundly,” but unlike Mr. Carter, I can no longer continue to believe in the illusion that this country is a democracy and that my vote matters.

A through investigation of the evidence has made it clear for me and many other politically apathetic citizens, that we do not have a political system that represents and supports us as a “government for the people and by the people.” What we have is more accurately described as an oligarchy — a government in which a few wealthy people maintain the ruling power through their political minions and control of the media.

If we lived in a true democracy, “we the people” would have the right to vote for the policies that effect us. However, the career politicians in Ottawa or Victoria do not ask us if we want an HST, another election, or a war. All we are offered is the option to vote for a local representative of a “political party” that they appoint. The political parties speak to some of our interest in order to get elected, but in fact are obligated to look after the concerns of the party, big business supporters, and themselves. While some sincere individuals from our community have stepped up to the political plate to take a swing at the ball, most often they end up disheartened or resigned to the corruption of the system.

I would suggest to Mr. Carter that many Canadians are “wakening up and taking responsibility for their desire for democracy,” but have yet to discern a plan of action. We haven’t arrived at a critical juncture yet where the return to democracy means rioting in the streets like in Egypt. It appears to me that the polite Canadian way that many have chosen, is to simply stop participating in the political game. This “public shunning” should be viewed as a non-violent, non-confidence vote in the present political system that continues to waste our resources and subject us to their circus agenda under the tented disguise of a democracy.

Our first objective is to arrive at a consensus of understanding the nature and extent of our real problems. This is not a political issue. Then we can address the bigger question of developing the systems that will get us from where we are, to where we want to be.

Steve Clement

Castlegar

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