Wednesday, September 3, 2008
When did political discourse in this country become a hate issue?
Politics has always has the ability to inflame passions and get the blood boiling, hence the long-standing warning that “sex, religion and politics are not to be discussed in polite company”. Now personally I believe that any discussion that does not include at least one (and preferably all) of the above is singularly boring, but the level of debate has certainly deteriorated recently and has now reached dangerous levels.
Historically political leaders have always served as something of a lightning rod for strong sentiments such as: “Stephen Harper, I hate that son of a bitch with a passion!” In fact pretty much every PM – Liberal or Conservative (with the possible exception of Kim Campbell) - has attracted that kind of comment from those who disagree with them. It goes with the territory. But what is happening now is that more and more frequently those strong feelings are being directed beyond the leadership to include supporters of the party. One need only peruse the comments made by Con trolls on any liberal, progressive, or left-leaning web site to see evidence of this.
But what is even more worrisome than their usual unintelligible and intellectually void jabberings in the blogosphere is that those expressions of hatred are now being manifested in criminal behaviour such as was recently seen in Guelph with the spray-painting and life-threatening vandalism to Liberal supporter’s cars.
No one yet knows who the Guelph criminals were and whether they were actually politically inspired or not, but it’s not hard to see where the sentiment comes from when, according to Tom Flanagan, Harper’s goal is not simply to govern Canada, but to utterly destroy the Liberal Party of Canada. Under Stephen Harper’s leadership, political “debate” on issues of importance to all Canadians has deteriorated from being an enthusiastic and vociferous sharing of opinions to the dismissive personal put-down and the nasty sound-bite. Combined with his deep-seated and frequently demonstrated rage against many of Canada’s institutions, his continued referrals to opposition parties being crooks and liars who are out to “screw” Canadians, and his divisive style of politics it’s not hard to see how impressionable and pliable Harper followers can make the leap to a passionate hatred of all things non-Conservative.
The Americanisation of Canadian politics continues.....