The word ‘democracy’ means different things to different people. For some, democracy is a parliament of petty politicians; for others, a tarnished dream hollowed out by dishonesty; for most, the best form of government devised so far and for a courageous few, an ideal worth dying for.
When it comes to elections, we are fortunate to have the freedom to scrutinize the contestants, analyze their platforms, support our preferences, and criticize the rivals—or to simply sit on the sidelines and refuse to participate. After the votes are counted, we will still be traveling down life’s bumpy highway together and should be willing to extend a helping hand to others, even our political adversaries.
If problems were always simple, solutions would be too and, more often than not, be non-confrontational. If copious amounts of disrespect, derision and divisiveness are injected into Canadian debates, our democracy will stop evolving and start sliding backwards. I believe there will always be a manipulative minority more than willing to use lies, intimidation and corruption in their self-serving hunger for power and profit.
Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) once wrote, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few.” His observation is still relevant today.