This is why we can't have nice things - Macleans.ca

This is why we can’t have nice things

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In inadvertent tribute to Michael Jackson, Glen Pearson plays the man in the mirror card.

Yet something has altered between citizens and their government, and while citizens have been quick to condemn politics for their feelings of isolation, perhaps they have failed somewhat in themselves to reach the lofty heights Martin hoped for. I understand that a politician shouldn’t even venture close to such an assertion, yet I don’t see how we can find a better place when blame is leveled exclusively on politicians alone – it is a two-way street and there must be work done on both sides. That is being undertaken by both politicians and citizens, but not at enough of a critical mass to change the system.

Citizens have changed, not just in their pessimism but in the sophistication they bring to that cyniscism. The average Canadian today is far more cosmopolitan. With more information than ever at their disposal, they learn more quickly the flaws within the political system. Yet, like the politician, they exist at two different levels. Citizens might not compost much, yet they know of the steady decline in rain forests and the challenges inherent in climate change – something their forebears would barely have known. But their acts don’t match their knowledge. They want their children to have a top notch education yet often refuse higher taxes to pay for it, much as they do with healthcare.  Political representatives live a similar kind of dual existence.