By Linda Babb
Posted November 14th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
The November 8th U.S. election sent a great many people into a spiral of disbelief, shock and horror while many others were delighted that “their underdog” took the unanticipated prize.
As President Obama said in a televised speech on November 9; “Sometimes you lose an election”. That is not a cliché – it is reality. He also said; “Sometimes we try to persuade people we are right, and then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes, we do some reflection, we lick our wounds, we brush ourselves off, we get back in the arena.”
What is the most significant “take away” from this election?
Is it that a “rabble-rousing” individual “won” and a “balanced, seasoned” individual “lost”? It could look like that on the surface but maybe we should all look more deeply. What did that election reveal to all of us – American and Canadian citizens?
The first significant point for me is that 49 per cent did not vote!! Given that this election was so contentious, vitriolic and divisive, why did 49 per cent of eligible voters not vote?
While unproven, the allegations of voter suppression might be true and may have been a serious factor. Voter cynicism, apathy or lack of confidence in the process could also have influenced the deplorable lack of engagement in a decision affecting millions.
I feel it went deeper than that. We saw a nation sharply divided. We saw a schism between what we believed to be two political parties. Was it really between two parties or was it a huge chasm between “ideologies”? Was it even between ideologies?
On one hand there appeared to be a party claiming to represent the “working class” people, minorities of all descriptions and basic human rights. On the other was the party perceived to represent the “elite”, big business, favouritism for corporate friends and tax evaders against the poor, against human rights. Yet the latter “won” – they won in Congress, the Senate and POTUS.
We need to ask what did those who voted really say? What really influenced the outcome?
Was it unscrupulous manipulation and bias in the media because the inflammatory rhetoric of one candidate boosted the ratings, which meant higher revenues? Was it misleading innuendo challenging the integrity of the other candidate? Was it a nation wide resistance to electing a female President?
Or – was it “the people” declaring “We’ve had enough and we’re not going to take it any more”?
This election shone the spotlight on everything that had to come into the collective awareness to be “fixed” and cleaned up. What was revealed in all its ugliness was, distrust, racism, bribery, corruption, lies and deceit, on both sides. Some of what was revealed may have been speculation, some of it may have been inflammatory allegations but, most importantly, what was revealed was an absence of trust in the process, the system, and the candidates.
What was revealed was that one candidate exposed the depth of despair and fear felt by diverse, unrelated sectors in a nation. Similarly revealed was the cynical exploitation of special interest groups, courted by the left in the anticipation that once again they would rally in the strength of their numbers to defeat the right, the party which threatened them the most.
It would appear that those same groups that came to the fore in previous elections did not respond according to type. One would then ask, “Why not”? It could be because there was a feeling that they were only “noticed” every four years and were irrelevant between elections.
What did we all learn from this? We learned that “the system” is broken – on both sides of the US/Canada border. Are we not witnessing similar disregard for “the People” here in Canada? We may have what appears to be a more direct system of voting; we don’t have the Electoral College to influence the final outcome, but we don’t have proportional representation either – yet!. First past the post does not reflect the will of the people. We have elected people who seem to disregard the best interests of the people in favour of appeasing, and appealing to, corporations and donors with large financial reserves.
This US election was a serious wake up call on both sides of the border to all who would seek public office. It’s time to clean up their acts. This time the people are saying, no more corruption, no more inside/backroom deals, no more manipulating the selection process to promote the insider favourite.
It’s time for those who seek to be the choice of the people to campaign from integrity, honesty, transparency, respect for all and for the greatest good for the greatest number and this time – the people will be watching and demanding accountability.
It’s time for “the People” to wake up, to say, “Enough is enough”. “Elected people work for US not corporations, not foreign interests, not those with the “big bucks”.
It’s also time for the media to look in the mirror, to examine their motives. To whom is the media responsible? Is it self-serving politicians, their advertisers or ratings? Is truth to be sacrificed for dollars and ratings or are they going to report the real news from unbiased perspectives?
As with the progression from this date for the US, Canada and the world – only time will tell.
Linda Babb is a resident of Niagara Falls – a teacher by vocation and profession, she turned to politics as a means to “make a difference” at the constituency level then progressed to being a Legislative and Ministerial Assistant in BC. Through learning three Portfolios, one of which was Lands Parks and Housing/Environment, then Forestry she became passionate about Land and Environment and the necessity of true conservation .
Find Linda Babb on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/linda.babb.94 . and find more at The Peoples Platform site at – https://www.facebook.com/n/?groups%2Fpeoplesplatformnf%2F1686478968271144%2F&aref=1464524040696344&medium=email&mid=53404dbde6420G6198f27dG533fa1335f218G96Gc27e&bcode=1.1464571591.Abk3nLFNx0MSqDCB&n_m=drapers%40vaxxine.com
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