Leisha Senko, staff
Part of North America’s evolution has been a constant hardening against those trying to sell something. Unlike the starry-eyed, apple pie-eating dreamers of the 50s, today’s generation is seemingly born skeptical. Pegged as young and apathetic, this hard-as-nails approach to the world can be applied to entertainment, everyday products and, most importantly, politics. They’re the type of personalities who write in to vote for Batman when they’re dragged to the voting poles, an act that inevitably evokes disgust from those who are actually running. Unfortunately, all signs point to the fact that this subtle disinterest has been earned.
Looking back to 2008 and remembering Obama-mania first hand, comparing that hype to the reality of his administration today is a staggering paradox. The man who’s currency was hope and change, has settled into the status quo of the Oval Office startlingly quickly. Ramping up the war on terror by sending into Afghanistan and Iraq to face brutal challenges, signing acts which promote unfair detention for citizens and non-citizens alike and even going so far as to compromise on healthcare legislation so brutally that no real movement has been made. Much like former president George W. Bush, who was, by all accounts, the political super villain of the early 2000s, policy remained unchanged in the face of such drastically different campaign promises.
Why exactly is this and can it be used as a microcosmic example of a more pervasive overall trend? The simple answer is yes. If you read authors like Chris Hedges, the reason becomes very clear. Our political system has been bought by corporations and those with the money to spare. Influence and, therefore, democracy is no longer for the people. Critics write that there are no longer candidates on the ballot who represent the majority of a population, but rather those who are vying for the rights of companies and millionaires. Hedges calls this the ultimate betrayal, the most despicable lie, a system which presents you with choices so limited that all possible outcomes benefit an order much different from ‘the people.’
This can be seen in Canada as well, with political policy between the Liberals and Conservatives becoming more and more interchangeable. Luckily, in Canada, we still have some structures and walls dividing financial interests from the government but those walls are slowly eroding. With politicians seeping into CEO positions after offering deals (something which happens much more frequently than many would like to admit) and lobbyists certainly making their home in Ottawa, we must ask ourselves what this really means. Certainly, it doesn’t say anything positive about our system, except that we might be slightly better than the Americans. This is a very sad award indeed. Political contributions, though with restrictions, are numerous and leave much room for loopholes. The truth is that politics is saturated with money and therefore many of the promises made simply don’t hold water.
With this system we see the constant charade of change. With Obama, people were alight with passion, furiously fighting for a new order, and yet they were fed more of the same. It is a dance that has been going on for decades and decades, sparking this generational cunning that the media finds so distasteful. North Americans are sick of voting and getting absolutely no results, and although this is certainly a simplified version of the truth, the reality is that the people haven’t been the priority for a very long time amongst those in charge. Facts like this make that write in vote of Batman look better by the second.