It’s been a busy week! And let’s be frank, it’s because the election is drawing near, and just like with Christmas or Halloween, there’s plenty to do.
There’s a part of me that loves election time. The drama, the debate, the politics – it’s exciting to watch. The thing is, there’s also a part of me that loathes it… for pretty much the exact same reasons.
The reason for this is fairly simple: I hate the lack of respect in politics.
I’m not going to go on a “good-old-days” rant here, because I’m confident that this isn’t necessarily a new development. But it is constantly dismaying to watch, and it makes me tired, depressed and more than a little cynical about the whole political process.
There are two things I wish our politicians would learn:
1. It’s okay to agree to disagree.
2. Just because you don’t agree with the other guy, doesn’t mean his heart isn’t in the right place.
If candidate A wants to shut down a notable city centre landmark, and candidate B wants to keep it open and expand it’s services – that’s fine. Deriding each other as somehow evil is not fine.
Rather, they should both understand that their opponent means well – they sincerely want what’s best for the city. The vision of what’s best is where the difference lies, and it’s up to you to argue the benefits of your point, rather than tear down the other vision.
And frankly, if all you can do is attack the other vision – that means yours is on pretty shaky foundations to begin with, isn’t it?
It’s not limited to elections either; watch any debate in the legislature or parliament and you can see it there as well. No one with an opinion has any respect for the other side – and I honestly believe that’s a major factor that’s holding back any real progress.
When you lose respect for your opposition, the whole process falls apart. It becomes an all-or-nothing game “Us-versus-Them”, rather than a process of compromise and cooperation. Just take a look at the quagmire down in the United States, and more recently in our own Parliament. No one can do anything because any bill put forward by one side is automatically opposed by the other side on principle. There’s no debate, there’s no middle ground. It came from those guys, so it must be stopped at all costs.
That’s not progress. You can’t move forward when you’re in a constant stalemate.
So for Pete’s Dragon – put the partisan bullshit aside, embrace some civil discourse, and let’s act like adults.