Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Decorum And The Liberal Leadership

What do the new session of Parliament and the new Liberal leadership race have in common? The pledges of decorum and civility. Call me jaded, but the "new" always brings the "ideal", which then fades quickly as people revert back to standard practice.

If you look through the annals of history, you will see, and this isn't Canadian specific, political contenders calling for civil debate and constructive dialogue coming out of the gates. We see the same sentiment expressed from the various Liberal leadership camps, "we're all Liberals, this is a discussion amongst family". Sounds great, but rarely does the rhetoric hold, once strategy and ambition move to the fore. The simple reality isn't necessarily a reflection of the characters involved, but it's part of the template to throw a few elbows as well as throwing your opponent under the bus whenever possible.

The "fresh" leadership race has already seen it's first salvo, from a candidate who hasn't even formally announced, maybe a new record. I remember, oh 10 days ago, Bob Rae on television, pledging to run a high signal campaign that focuses on ideas, not his opponents. Well, this past weekend certainly made those assertions ring hollow, the opportunistic Rae rushing to Toronto to cry foul in front of the media, the word STUNT comes to mind. A minor event in the grand scheme, but a clear signal of what lies ahead, it will get messy, it always does. The only question, a matter of degree, and on that score, Liberals can all hope for a relatively mild affair.

The same air of new beginning is wafting through the halls of Parliament, apparently all parties agree that the level of discourse MUST change, things will be different this time. I don't doubt the sincerity, I just question the human nature, many of the same characters, old habits die hard. I'd be more inclined to believe all the proclamations if a party came forward with a concrete code of ethics, talk is cheap, put it in writing. We should all rewind the tape from today after a few weeks of parliament sitting, the deterioration will be noticeable, and that will appear tame compared to a solid year of debate. Again, all Canadians can hope for is relative decorum, and that would be a good thing, but the rhetoric of today is embarassing in it's utopian want.

Come to think of it, we will probably see concurrent vibes develop as both the leadership and the new parliament proceed. Right now, "decorum" is the word, by the time of the vote and the new budget, I suspect it will be replaced by "testy". It is just the way of things.


penlan said...

Agree with you. Also, just an observation on the meeting debacle on Sun. Debacle in the sense of the "open to the media" etc. & the fodder it has now given to the Cons & the MSM. You blame Rae but at the same time everyone was open to the idea, willing to accept it the Board included, EXCEPT Iggy. So he takes some of the blame as well.

I'm neutral at the moment & not supporting anyone yet - if I ever do. So am looking at this from an objective pov.

Steve V said...

I blame Rae, only because he purposely elevated this decision with the media, and it came off like a publicity stunt. It just looked opportunistic, rather than some deeply rooted conviction.

Jerry Prager said...

Reminds me of one of the basis of Pauline theology: we do not do the good we intend to do, and can't stop doing the harm we would rather not do.
I'm afraid written codes of behaviour never make a dint in human actions, necessitating an individual reliance on grace.
About the only science I've ever come across that turns grace into pragmatic action is known as HeartMath, the physical capacity of the human heart to generate coherency via the large EM field produced by the heart, which entrains the smaller EM fields produced by the brain and lungs, to create a triangulated EM field in any individual by focusing on what the HeartMathematicians refer to as the core values of the heart: appreciation, care and love. Which pretty much equals siding with blessings vs. curses. Politics is the home of displaced anger, the Other as enemy, where instead of dealing with personal issues we blame other people on public issues.
Things can change, but only when we appreciate care and love as an act of will. Codes of ethics are just more law, more law upon law, except there is no salvation in law. Sermon over.

penlan said...

Wow Jerry, that is very interesting.