It’s the stuff that feeds cynicism. If it does nothing else, it reinforces a notion we hold to be true. Whether it is or isn’t doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that we believe it to be so. Politicians are by nature crooked liars.
Want evidence? Then look no further than Washington, London and Ottawa. All three cities house governments led by powerful politicians who will twist facts, distort truths, and manipulate people to get what they want. It’s all in the interest of keeping their own brand in power.
Washington. We have known for years that Donald Trump is a man without a moral compass, no centre of gravity to keep him upright. Yesterday, his former personal lawyer said it out loud: he is a racist and a crook who uses the White House to increase his own wealth and power.
Now that it has been said it can’t be unsaid. It must be dealt with. But to what end? There is no precedent for a sitting President to be charged, let alone convicted, of the crimes Michael Cohen accused Trump of committing. If he is convicted and sentenced, he has the power to give himself a presidential pardon.
London. Almost three years ago a referendum narrowly decided that Britain should leave the European Union. Those who wanted to leave campaigned on a web of lies and won on a 52 – 48 per cent majority. They either didn’t see or didn’t care about Ireland.
Northern Ireland is still part of Britain and will be taken out of the EU. The Republic of Ireland is a sovereign country and will remain in the EU. This will result in the only land border between Britain and the EU. People in Ireland don’t want a hard border, and Theresa May doesn’t want a customs union. The Conservatives want to have their cake and eat it too. They have a month to find a solution that doesn’t exist.
Ottawa. Justin Trudeau has always portrayed himself as a larger than life feminist. In his mind probably greater even than the great Agnes MacPhail. To prove it, he appointed 15 women to his first cabinet. Exactly half. He is probably thinking today that may have been a feminist too far.
He also portrays himself as a supporter of indigenous rights. To prove it, he has aboriginal art tattooed on his shoulder. He let us know how sincere he was by appointing a former Regional Chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations as Justice Minister and Attorney General. He is probably thinking today that someone else might have done it his way.
The optics are both inescapable and terrible. On one side we have Justin Trudeau, Gerald Butts, and Michael Wernick – the Prime Minister, his principal secretary, and the government’s most senior civil servant – lined up to bully the indigenous, female Attorney-General. Some feminist Trudeau turned out to be. Some champion of indigenous rights.
Trudeau built himself a house of cards and it is collapsing. In doing so, he shows himself to be cut from the same cloth as Theresa May and Donald Trump. Peas in a pod. The question on the tip of the public tongue this morning is “what are they going to do about it now?” They being the people behind Trudeau, May and Trump. The people who want to control the narrative. What are they going to do?
This is not the question we need to ask. It should be what are we going to do about it? The answer cannot be to turn to Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party. Stephen Harper v.2.0. This is the man who stood on a stage at the pipeline protest last week with Faith Goldy. He did it without batting an eye, without blushing, without criticizing her white supremacist hateful views. We are never going to get any semblance of moral and ethical integrity from such a man.
What are we going to do when the politicians who govern us can’t be trusted to do the right thing? What are we going to do when the corporations that control our world become too big to fail, too far-reaching to regulate, too corrupt to take to court?
This is the world we are stuck in. This is the world we need to get out of. I don’t know when we’ll do it, or even how we will. I just know we will only do it when we stop depending on others to do it for us.