Over the years, I’ve tried to avoid talking about politics. And it’s not due to lack of interest.
The thing is, this stuff is important. The way a government’s run is important. It affects every part of your life. The goods available at your local supermarket, the safety of those products, the maintenance of the streets you use to get there, the money you use to pay for it, the taxes you pay on the food, on your pay cheque, on your property; it’s all controlled, regulated, and determined by the government. If you don’t care about it, you don’t care about life. This is why I don’t understand people who don’t vote. You need to vote. If you don’t, you’re letting others determine how your life runs. You’re letting others build the world around you; and you’re just stubbornly refusing to speak up at the one time your voice actually matters, the one time your voice has a tangible effect. So please, you need to vote.
So with all that being said, why don’t I want to talk about politics? Well it’s simple. From what I’ve seen, most people are too stubborn to have their minds changed. It’s due to what I would call ‘political solipsism’. This mentality that one’s opinion is undeniably correct merely by virtue of it being in their head. So how can anyone disagree with them? Well those people must evil, stupid, racist, gullible, sexist, homophobic, corrupt, sinister, part of some global conspiracy, or simply out to destroy the world; and as a result of this mentality, they don’t listen to these people, since they are very obviously wrong; and because they never listen to dissenting opinions, they can never have their minds changed.
There’s also the fact that some people think having your mind changed somehow shows a failure of conviction or degree of gullibility. It’s why you’ll sometimes see politicians or political parties lambasted by the media for changing their policy and doing a ‘U-turn’ as if that was a bad thing. I could not disagree more. I think it’s an incredible virtue to allow your opinion to be swayed. It means your views are based not on opinion, or how you were raised, or just how you voted in the past, but reality and evidence (ideally). But many people refuse to admit they were ever wrong, no matter what the result was.
Let me put it this way: If you still think George W. Bush was a good President after lying about a war that the Chilcot report already bollocked his British counterpart about, and the economy collapsed so badly the resulting recession spread to every other country like a goddamn fungal infection; Or the British vote to leave the European Union was a good idea after the pound plummeted faster than the debris from the last SpaceX launch; Or that Justin Trudeau is still ‘not ready’ to lead Canada despite the fact that he’s already lead the entire planet in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis; I can’t help you.
And that last point, about Trudeau, is from personal experience. I thought he’d be shit, I mean he was just an infant in a suit; but it turns out Justin Trudeau is a pretty good Prime Minister. So don’t think I’m talking out of my ass on this.
Here’s an idea, pick an issue, any issue which you feel passionately about. Now, I’m not talking about moral issues like ‘murder is wrong.’ I think we can all agree on that. I’m thinking about stuff that’s a bit more contentious like capital punishment. Next, consider the facts you base your opinion of that issue on. For instance, on the capital punishment front, that it acts as a deterrent, and will prevent further murders. Now, think of a scenario which could prove you wrong. What would have to happen, or what evidence could be presented, that would convince you that you were incorrect, and that you should do a rapid 180? It may not be easy, or simple, or likely, but take your time. Can you think of anything? Because if not, you might be part of the problem.
And that’s why I don’t talk about politics. But recently, things have gotten too bad, too horrible for me to stay silent any more. Because Canada’s nearest neighbours are about to wade into the worst choice since Sophie.
Yes, it’s the 2016 US Presidential Election. Oi, where to begin? Continue reading