You may have noticed that the Green Party presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, was absent from the "town hall" presidential debate at Hofstra University the other night. That's because she was shackled to a chair in a nearby New York police facility, along with her running mate, Green Party vice president nominee Cheri Honkala. Their crime: attempting to get to the debate so Stein could participate in it. While Mitt Romney uttered the now-famous line that he was given "whole binders full of women" while seeking staff as newly elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002, the real binders were handcuffs used to shackle these two women, who are mothers, activists and the Green Party's presidential ticket for 2012.
The PR people come straight for you at public events. They aren't easily deterred. They have an evangelical quality. I don't mean Public Relations people; they're shy and retiring by comparison. I mean the Proportional Representation people. They know the answer to our democratic deficit. They're true believers.
I confess I was once among them. After all, it's been the only serious form of democratic reform on offer here. (OK, Senate reform, too; I'll get to that.) PR would make a real difference in how we vote and how governments are created. At the least, if Canadians got a chance to vote on PR, I felt, they'd embrace it. It was a no-brainer.
I've been vexed by elections going back to high-school student council. The wrong candidate usually won: the quarterback beat the class intellectual, convincing me that "the people" are stupid and democracy doesn't work.
Voters whose candidates lose often react that way. But what if the problem is elections, not democracy -- because elections aren't all there is to democracy. That may be hard to absorb, since we tend to equate them. But perhaps democracy isn't just a political system; it's a core part of being human.
Recent democratic eruptions in diverse places raise such questions.
Making the social democratic movement operate like a "normal" more centrist political party is the kind of advice the mainstream press has been offering to the NDP since shortly after it was founded in Calgary, as the CCF, in 1932.
NDP members want the party to build upon its newfound status as a national party, and ready itself to take on the role of government. However, to win office, few New Democrats want NDP policies to mirror recent Conservative and Liberal practices, or expect the party to move away from supporting workers, or tone down talk about empowering equality-seeking groups.
To everyone who is pissed off at this non-democratic electoral system: Being terribly disappointed and frustrated by what we witnessed on May 2nd, we, a growing group of young people, have started to organize a peaceful demonstration against this corrupt electoral system, taking place this Friday, May 6th.
We think that until we raise our voices about the flaws of our current system (First Past the Post), our votes will be ignored by those in whose interest lies such backward strategies. If you are up for a demonstration (and this is to all cities across Canada), let's organize them starting this week!
Check out the Facebook event for more info.
This is a beta test of a show-in-the-works called 'The City State' in the form of an interview with David Meslin regarding politics, electoral reform, and the STV referendum in BC. For more info on STV see http://www.stv.ca. The show is produced by Jessie Hirsh.
The City State's theme song "Yesteryear" was composed and performed by the Brownman Electryc Trio. For more info see http://www.brownman.com