I read over http://www.macleans.ca/opinion/todays-political-partisanship-is-hurting-canadas-best-and-brightest/ (full disclosure I’ve met Ian at least once and chatted with him a bit on twitter and had offered to do non-partisan [but values driven] work with him in the past). And I was struck by how close to home it resonated.
The toxic culture of Ottawa where you can’t disagree with anything the party you support does. You can’t have a nuanced opinion on anything. I remember exploiting this often. We created so many petitions. With https://web.archive.org/web/20130817152228/http://petition.liberal.ca:80/abortion-debate-woodworth-harper-canada-reproductive-rights-pro-choice-lucie-pepin/ being one of the most successful (I mean just look at the SEO of that url) with good intentions but certainly not fair, we intentionally positioned Harper as being in support of this motion, while in fact Harper voted against it. And on top of that, the motion calls for “a 12-member, all-party committee to study the definition of when a newborn can legally be considered a human being.” You can disagree with it, but this was a far cry from “opens the possibility of re-criminalizing abortion.” As we put it.
The people who are promoted and idealized in party politics are unwavering zealots that senior staff could count on to repeat the talking points. It’s very sad in a sense. But while lot’s of people will blame politicians, or the staffers, I think we should look inside ourselves to see where the problem lies.
Everytime we jump to conclusion, everytime we stick to what we know and dismiss the other opinion out of hand, everytime we try to shout down things we don’t like and stick to things we do, we enable it. This can be very simple things like pressing like on a FB post that by reading the title we know we agree with to arguing with others and not leading with compassion / giving them the benefit of the doubt.
It’s easy to blame others for this. But the media, FB, twitter, are just giving us what we tell them we want by our actions. The only way for this to change, is for each of us to change.