Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We Shouldn't Care About Who Cares...

Okay, Nation, so it's election time, and each party is going to do its damnedest to portray the other parties as out-of-touch, cold, unfeeling monsters who are the puppets of their respective interest groups. I get that. Some leaders (not mentioning any names) make that characterization a lot easier than others.

What drives me around the bend, though, is when I hear people whose vote counts as much as mine saying that they aren't going to vote for someone because "He doesn't CARE about _______".

"Stephane Dion doesn't CARE about the West."

"Stephen Harper doesn't CARE about the environment."

"The Greens don't CARE about the economy."

Oh, spare me.

Nation, we're not electing a "care-r in chief", here. We're electing people to tend to the day-to-day business of governance. Now, I can understand that you'd want someone in power, ideally, who shared your priorities. If your number 1 issue is funding for the arts, you want someone who you believe will support them. But that's not what we're talking about here... we're not talking about who will actually MANAGE these issues appropriately, or even FUND them appropriately... we're talking about who CARES, as though that caring somehow makes them qualified to fix the problems involved. Paul Martin tried to tell us he cared about EVERYTHING - look how well THAT worked out for him.

I care about finding a cure for cancer. I am however patently unqualified to find one. Does the fact that I CARE about finding a cure qualify me to be Surgeon General? If we held an election for Surgeon General, and I ran on the fact that I CARED about finding a cure, would that be a good enough reason to elect me? When I apply for my next job, I'm going to tell them I CARE about turning a profit. "Can you actually run a profitable company?", they'll ask me. "No... but I CARE about turning a profit.".

I'm sure I'll get the job.

I don't need to know if Stephane Dion cares about the economy. In fact, even if I *DID* need to know, there'd be no way for me TO know. He'd say he does - but he might be lying. His opponents would say that he DIDN'T care - but then again, maybe THEY'D be lying. All I need to know is if he has ideas that will help him manage the economy effectively. Whether doing so or not makes him happy and leaves him feeling fulfilled is completely irrelevant to me.

The reality is, none of us knows what ANY of these people really, truly care about, deep down inside. Maybe Liz May hates tress. Jack Layton might find working families disgusting. Gilles Duceppe could find French a grotesque language, Stephane Dion might have utter disdain for carbon taxes (in fact, I'm pretty sure he said as much a while back) and Stephen Harper might hate everything (as a Leafs fan, I know he's probably tempted). I don't know if any of those are the case, and I don't... CARE... if any of those statements are true.

I don't need to know what these people love - even if it were possible for me to do so without having to "take their word for it". All I need to know is what they say they're going to do, and what they're capable of doing effectively.

Whether they care about this issue, or that one?

[Shrug] I couldn't care less.


Ken Chapman said...

Once again you prove you are wise and insightful far beyond your years my savage friend. Thanks for the post...he said carefully

Anonymous said...

You might also want to know if they actually intend to do what they say. Like, say, hold an election on a fixed date, or not tax income trusts, or not appoint unelected people to the senate, or build a defence capable fleet of ice-breakers -- sorry -- fleet of coastal supply ships, or not negotiate when they've won on softwood lumber.

Whether any of these were good ideas or not isn't actually the question. If you can't trust that they're going to do what they say, then what does it matter what they say?

Enlightened Savage said...

Ken: Thank-you, Blogfather. ;)

Anon: I couldn't possibly agree more.