Politics seem to place money above people

By Pat Watson Wednesday June 12 2013 in Opinion
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The hysterical partisan politics that plays out in government palaces of power serve as lessons about where political identity can take a nation and the unpleasant consequences. Listen to federal, provincial and municipal politicians as they colour so many critical issues with ideological stances of one stripe or another.


Exhibit A: The brothers Ford, in their inelegant missives about left-wing, latte-drinking types making a mess of their Toronto.


The adversarial strategy that is the fundamental model for government debate allows for differing perspectives from which should come programs that are fair and in the best service to all. Instead it becomes a showcase for grandstanding and ego.


Political ideology makes for lively discussion in coffee shops or university lecture halls, but when it comes to answering the pressing needs of any presenting situation that affects millions of lives, prudence and political maturity require a dialing down of ideological theories at City Hall, Queen’s Park, in Parliament or the U.S. Congress. Where are the answers that are in the best interest of human life and every related aspect?


Political governance in the contemporary First World is fixated on economies, as if all that we are in this world are producers of goods and services and servants to shareholder profit. Every time a political announcement seeks maximum attention it is to tell the populace what new way the government of the day is paying attention to money. When was the last time we heard that hospital care was going to be broadened in a significant enough measure to truly answer to those needing medical care, for example?


Here is just one real life situation some may find familiar: A young woman has just marked a major milestone in her life; she’s just graduated from university. Her next step is to secure meaningful employment as she begins to build her career. However, that is short-circuited because of serious illness in her family. Her mother is found to have inoperable cancer and this young woman is thrust into the role of primary caregiver. She receives very little support, and when she turns to agencies that should have answers she meets only dead ends. This family is in crisis and falling through very wide cracks in our social and healthcare programs. They are not alone.


What political theory is going to help this family? When a government is bent on cutting spending and finding ‘efficiencies’ that include cutting services to those who are most vulnerable, then we are not learning from the mistakes other governments have made.


What is the value of any life? How much longer are we willing to go on upholding a paradigm that treads human life underfoot while exalting false idols?


A group called The Free World Charter posted a number of points about how our world is today, and says in part:


“We prioritise money and the economy over basics like air and food quality, our community and environment. We use an economic trading system that facilitates the death of millions of people every year. We divide the world’s land into sections, then fight over who owns these sections. We send children to school for their entire childhood to memorise facts and skills that they will rarely use. We impose financial pressures on parents, causing them to miss out on vital stages of their child’s development. Love and compassion, which promote life, are mocked as facile, whereas war, which harms life, is seen as honourable…”


If we are on a subconscious mission to kill off a portion of humankind, whether physically or spiritually, then the overriding mode governing our world is significantly contributing to achieving that aim.


A note on terminology…


One can fully appreciate politicians’ references to people living and working in this country as ‘taxpayers’. It reminds those politicians of their fiduciary responsibility to the nation. But it hasn’t prevented abuse of those said taxpayers’ dollars in myriad ways, the recent revelations about abuse of travel claims in the Canadian Senate and the provincial government’s multi-million dollar pay out for the cancellation of those gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga being just two glaring examples.


A government that means us all well, including people whose meager incomes leave them more as tax-servants, would recognize us as a nation of people in all our complex dimensions, not just as taxpayers.


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