I have to admit, I’ve ignored the federal election debates that have been presented on television over the last few days. What I’ve read about them has essentially confirmed what I expected, if you were looking for solid information or ideas, they were mostly a waste of time.
In this age of the internet that isn’t too terribly surprising. If you want detailed information about a party’s plans or policies, you’re best off going directly to their particular website, where you can look up for yourself what they have (or don’t have, in some cases) written down as to what they promise.
What this means is that the debates are really only there for the parties to try to get a winning sound-bite, to trip another politician up into revealing something that will ruin their chances of being elected. And in the days when truth was somewhat respected, that may well have worked.
I don’t feel that these are those days. In recent years, politicians have become quite comfortable in lying directly to our faces. (I know that some of you right now are probably raising an eyebrow at the phrase “in recent years”, but bear with me.) It feels like, not so long ago, there was this idea that if you were being recorded, you had better make sure that what you were saying was, at least technically, truthful. Because people could go back and see those recordings later and confront you.
Somewhere along the way, however, politicians seem to have realized that even if they confront you, it doesn’t much matter. We’re getting bombarded with so much information and news and garbage every day, the scandal du jour really is “du jour” and not much else. So why not lie directly to the camera. And then if challenged on it, double down. When then presented with the recorded evidence, shrug it off as out of context or sloppy reporting, or, more often than not, simply ignore it altogether and proceed to bull forward with whatever point you were attempting to make before. Such as how Mr. Kenney promised to fight for a better equalization formula for Albertans, but when questioned as to whether he’d approached any of the candidates with concerns about equalization, answering with a quick “No” and getting into his vehicle. He knows it doesn’t really matter, because so few of us care to make it matter.
But I don’t have a good answer. The media thrives on the horse-race and the constant search for scandal, because that’s what brings viewers, when we can collectively point at someone else and tut-tut them, affirming our own superiority and making us feel good, even though we’re probably not the ones pulling down six figure paycheques for arguing with other people. Yet that same search also lowers the opinion and the expectations for our political figures, our erstwhile leaders. We stop trying to hold them accountable because what’s the point? The next guy is just going to do something just as bad anyway, right? I don’t know how to fix that. But I know it shouldn’t be that way.
At any rate this week, we’re featuring a great student interview, along with the Fly on the Wall as it looks at ways to deal with study irritants, and a struggling student rants with some great advice on how to save some money, maybe a lot of money, when going for a big purchase. Plus of course advice, events, and more! Enjoy the read!
PS. Due to a family emergency, the PDF is running a little late today, but should be up sometime later tonight. Everything in it is up here now though!