Dirty politics

I grew up in a house filled with politics and the one thing it taught me was never to talk about anything political with anyone unless you really want to stir up a "political debate" a.k.a. a fight.

I grew up in a house filled with politics and the one thing it taught me was never to talk about anything political with anyone unless you really want to stir up a “political debate” a.k.a. a fight.

Politics, like religion, is a sensitive topic to the people who are involved with elections, voting and all other aspects of the system.

It seems in society there is very little middle ground in people anymore.

They are either extreme fans or those who could not care less about the political system or anyone involved with it.

Recently a terrible tragedy in Arizona stirred up the debate over what politicians say about each other.

What is going too far? When does a slime campaign get the blood boiling to a point where bullets may fly. This could be a tough thing for many people to figure out.

I have watched nightly news debating the points of what is appropriate and tried to keep up with the information online.

This has led me to come up with one of my own questions about the political game. Is it possible to win an election without breaking out the ill will and mean words towards the other candidates?

Could it be that the public relations machine that runs the political world has only one mindset on an election agenda? Currently in Canada we have started seeing the beginning of election-styled advertisements on television.

The federal Conservatives are attacking Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, implying he may not be here for Canadians.

The Liberals are running ads attacking the spending of the Conservatives.

So far pretty low key in comparison to what you see south of the border. Could it be that politics in Canada has reached a point where gaffes such as the television spots that ruined Kim Campbell’s career will not be seen again? Perhaps…or this could just be the start of the election run which just needs one party to become desperate before the slamming begins.

There is one other side effect to all the grandstanding which politicians may be missing.

Canadians have not been coming out in large numbers to vote in by-elections or any other times when they have the chance.

It is an interesting thing to see people not taking this opportunity when others fight for a chance to have some say in a democratic society.

Why are people apathetic or in some cases just plain cynical?

When you can watch debates in the House of Commons and the clips you see are people attacking and never seemingly getting anywhere it is easy to lose the faith. Polictics is a dirty game at times but it does not have to be. We as voters need to work at becoming more informed. Learn about the parties and what they stand for. It is hard to believe that good things can come from politicians because we remember the bad much more clearly than the good. I remember my uncle when he was involved in the provincial government in Newfoundland and Labrador as being fairly quiet but good to the people he served. I did not always agree with his government and was even a part of a protest against cuts to students.

I have always voted for the person and never the party. I have also voted for one other reason and that is because then, when I do complain, I know I voted for someone who is now supposed to be representing all of our interests. I am going to be watching the ads over the rest of this year and will listen with interest at local, provincial and federal debates to see what the tone will be. Politics is a dirty game but just how dirty is up to those with their names on the ballot.

Darryl Crane