Not a resort hotel

As we enter a new year, we must come up and develop a changed attitude toward our government. That is essential if our democratic process is to flourish, or indeed, survive.

Our government will fail if we do not see it as something other than a tribune of the people. We must realize that politics is not something that concerns/belongs “to them,” but it is we who are involved, not somebody else.

Politicians during election time appear to advertise their “wares” as if rights and comforts are owed to them as guests at a resort hotel. The public is led to believe that because they are citizens, they can expect certain things. They treat government as a kind of automatic vending machine – votes go in and benefits come out.

People in the abstract consider governments as friends, but at the moment it is run by fools or corrupt individuals. They believe at the next election will change all this, and lo and behold, good government will ensue.

It is forgotten that government is a compromise and there is a need to protect those who are running things, but at the same time the public’s interests must be safeguarded.

This is exemplified by the financial industry, which is a key component of our economy. Thus, while we would like to let institutions take care of themselves, they need regulations to keep them in check.

We very well may wish to start afresh with a new system, but clearly that is impossible. Also, politicians are beholden to industries for their re-election.

Compromise always is necessary and those who look back to an earlier era fail to recognize that things are much more complicated than they were in the late l950s.

Politics is a coalition of many groups. That is why single-issue parties almost never can win an election.

Mackenzie King won elections with the support of Quebec voters, business leaders and those who needed assistance. Many years ago President Franklin Roosevelt won four terms with the help of southern voters who were, shall we say, anxious to keep black people in check, union leaders, northern radicals who hoped to reform drastically the regimen, and liberal reformers. This coalition harboured many contradictions, but a keen politician could work all this together.

If we put this in perspective, we now can see why governing is such a difficult task. However, as we begin a new year, we can/should become aware of inherent problems so that our government once again can be successful.


Bruce Whitestone