Howard Beale

Let’s look at politics from another angle for a minute…..the people involved and what they do, their employment or career paths…or self-interest.  What makes a politician tick?

I have reluctantly concluded that they all must be very content and happy with the way it is.  Even the opposition.  Maybe….especially the opposition!”

I can speak to this to some extent because it was always something I wanted to do and, more to the point, I actually made a stab at doing it.  Speeches and meetings and all that crap. So, I get it.  I wanted it.  I wanted to be one of them.  So, why did I?

Part of it, of course, was altruism.  I wanted to make the world a better place.  Who knows if my perspective was a good one or not since I didn’t make it.  We’ll never know.  But there was more to it than that.  I actually thought I was a better person.  Ergo, as a better player, I could do better at the great game.  Or, so I thought then.  Not now.

So, in that way, it was just plain arrogance.  Ego.  And, if I was guilty of such egoism, then the ones who actually make it to the top must be guilty of that, too.

But that’s not a surprise. You already know that.  Politicians are arrogant and full of themselves. To some extent, anyway.  The following, however might be news for you.

I couldn’t join a party.  But they can.   I did join parties now and again (twice) but only to support others and once to support myself.  But it just didn’t feel right.  It felt wrong. Joining a party was an act of subservience akin to silencing myself and obeying others.  It was an abdication of responsibility from that very first act of joining.  I couldn’t, in all conscience, agree to what they said as implied by my membership if I didn’t agree with it personally regardless of the inducement to being supported in the election by the party.

Seems I am not much of a joiner.  Not a good career move for a politician.

But the successful ones must be joiners and followers and, by extension of their success at it, purebred sheep. Maybe lobotomized sheep.  Think about the psychological dissonance in those two simple observations.  You are an arrogant egoist but NOT a leader.  You think you are better and smarter BUT you keep your mouth shut and march and bleat in unison. You do as you are told. You pretend to agree with what they say. That, in itself, would eat at your sense of self, wouldn’t it?

And what kind of erosion of self would take place if you ignored the wishes of your constituents and supporters at the same time as obeying your party whip?  Wouldn’t guilt, at the very least, continually gnaw at you?  Wouldn’t you be feeling like a failure from the get-go?

That’s why it is so much easier to be in opposition; you get to speak out but it doesn’t matter to your place in the scheme of things.  You are safe.  You still get paid.

I am also, by nature, impatient.  And that personality trait wouldn’t work in the legislature or parliament.  I want to see things get done, if not quickly, then at least without unnecessary delay.  A little tardiness is OK, as I have learned that we all move at a different pace but years of delay or delay-as-a-tactic is crazy-making for me. Government moves slower than glaciers (although, to some extent, that is now somewhat due to global warming).

Still, government moves too slowly for me. I’d go nuts.

But they don’t.  They live with it.  They must like it to some extent.  Or respect it, anyway. So, they are complicit in their complacence.  They even ask to do some more of it every four years or so.  It may just be the comfort they get from feeding at the trough but we seem to have 300 or so MPs content to sit on their butts with their thumbs firmly inserted while pressing issues spring up all around them. And they talk and meet and eat lunch and talk some more.  What kind of person can do that for year after year?

The non-employment of the MARS water bomber when it was most desperately needed is a good example of that incredible lack of action from those at the helm.  The First Nations Treaty process is another.  Climate change efforts haven’t even gotten off the ground and yet the ground is burning.  What do these dickheads need to get their butts in gear?

And therein lies another issue…..’DOING’ something.  I am not so sure that I could have stayed part of a system whereby my role was to sit and listen and do NOTHING.  Even if I was in with the party-with-power, I would then have to be one of those who do nothing but pound my desk and yell at the monkeys on the other side of the room.  What kind of self worth would that generate?

Seriously.  We often judge people’s mental state by what they do, how they act, what they say and what they accomplish.  Judging our politicians on that basis makes them all more than suspect, it makes them – apparently – mentally ill.  I could go on.  But, I’ll spare you except to ask, “What is wrong with these people?  How can they participate in a system that is so clearly in need of reform?  How can they accept a salary for, essentially, doing NOTHING but talking?

I understand that a lot of modern life is just talking but even the most sedentary and porcine of them must, at times, chafe at the bit.  But why don’t we see any of that? Shouldn’t some of our reps be yelling?  Shouldn’t some of them file lawsuits?  Shouldn’t all of them be shouting out alternatives at the very least.  Leading protests?  Speaking out?

Harper is bad.  Really bad.  But where are the good guys?  When was the last time you heard any politician say, “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!” 

 

12 thoughts on “Howard Beale

  1. An interesting article in macleans Mag a few years back titled
    Parliament is a Sham.

    A few exerpts.
    “Since announcing that he would not seek re-election, Liberal MP Keith Martin has been searing in his criticism of the present situation. “I’ve never seen morale so low or Parliament so dysfunctional in more than 17 years of being there,” he says. “There’s an overwhelming sense of futility, disappointment and sadness among most of the MPs who are there.” Martin is unmatched in tone, but is not alone in his concerns. One MP uses the term “farcical” to describe the process of debate in the House. “I think the vast majority of MPs are interested in playing a bigger role,” says Conservative MP Michael Chong, “in having greater authority and autonomy to execute their roles.”
    Martin is explicit in assigning blame. He laments for those who surround party leaders, the “fairly young, ambitious, rapidly partisan individuals who often treat MPs with utter disdain.” The incentives, he says, are backwards. “Rabid partisanship is rewarded,” he says. “Overweening and excessive party discipline has disempowered members of Parliament and forced them to pay utter homage to the leaderships of their party, instead of their true bosses, which are the people that sent them there.”

    This is similar in tone to what you have stated.
    The current system is not working.

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    • You know I agree with that but I have to ask Mr. Martin, “Why in hell did you sit there for 17 years and NOT say that sooner? Couldn’t find your cajones?”

      And to Mr. Chong, “What is stopping you from ‘executing your roles’. Are yours lost, too?”

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      • They surrender their values to the almighty dollar and an overly generous( and undeserved) MP pension plan.
        .
        Perhaps MP’s should be paid a dollar a year and recieve a modest supplement to their CPP for their years of service.
        It would certainly attract people who wouldnt be afraid to lose an exorbitant salary for refusing to be a bobblehead doll to the party Whip..

        Minimal salary and a modest pension supplement………
        Just to see how the great unwashed electorate have to live…….

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      • If it were pegged at a dollar, then only the rich could afford to do it so a fair wage is OK for me. But Duffy sucked down $144K a year PLUS had all his expenses (real and otherwise) over-generously paid and he also took speaking fees. And, for what? Hustling for the Cons mostly. Sadly, the average Canadian needs $6K a month to function (and even that isn’t enough in Vancouver and Toronto). So, all expenses and $75K a year seems ‘right’ to me. WITH Cola. AND a strict job description. Personally, I would take that job in a heartbeat but, for me, the rate of pay is not the issue. So long as they covered my expenses, I would do it. Why? How many times can you leave a mark on a nation’s history? It would be an incredible honour. Having said that, I would last only one term. I’d likely go nuts and end up in the bell-tower screaming at the bastards. Some mark on history…the guy who flipped out!

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  2. R. B. Bennet during the 1930s depression received personal letters from destitute Canadians requesting small sums of money. Bennet from his own personal fortune donated sums of money to assist some of those in dire need. Personally he was a compassionate and caring Prime Minister. He was well aware at the state of the Canadian economy but for ideological reasons he did not support any federal government policies to offer a broad based program of support to those in dire need.

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    • Well, as commendable as that is, it is also stupid. He was the prime minister. If he felt that people needed help to the extent that he personally helped those who wrote, how can he ignore those who didn’t? Nice guy but leadership is BIGGER than that. So, if you tell me all the MPs personally tell the truth and give to the poor but they lie in parliament and vote to impoverish the populace, I am disinclined to give them much credit. Their job is to be BIGGER not small.

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      • Yes it is stupid and thoughtless. It shows a type of compartmentalized thinking that donates to the poor but can not govern for all by enacting policies that benefit all. The USA economy will grow by over two percent this year.

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      • I feel the same way about people that say, “Business is business, friendship is a different thing!” NOT to me. I don’t see any reason to be selfish and uncaring to strangers so I can make a buck and then be nice and cuddly with a chosen few. Makes no sense. Be nice or be a bastard. At least you’d be honest either way.

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    • Interesting. Never read GT before. Will now. I am thinking his AMAZON is in reference to his book(s) selling by way of.

      To me, that is the conundrum of politics – how can a guy who is honest enough to write that blog become a sycophant to the ‘party’ in the first place? Did it really take until that fateful day for GT to ‘see’ Harper for the liar he was? How does he reconcile years of sucking up? OK, writing as the ‘greater fool’ is, in itself, a mea culpa and we have all made errors in judgement. I continue daily. Maybe it is as simple as that? But where’s the inner voice? Where’s the conscience, let alone the intelligence and cajones? Was he blinded by the bucks, the power, the groupies? Why does a good person vote Conservative?

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      • If you look at his resume he was always a political animal but I think he had his eyes opened and his gonads kicked when he went to work for Harper.
        Two big egos and only one survived the political fight.
        He seems much happier now blogging, selling books, touring……..
        HEY ! Maybe YOU could tour…………….

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      • Sally won’t let me out in public. And, anyway, there is not enough money from book sales to be made even for the ferry fare to Vancouver. The book business is a tough one with the author receiving about 15% and that is WITH Amazon. Before that the ‘take’ was even less. Mind you, it could be fun………….

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