|They’re Corrupt Cause You Don’t Vote
By Lloyd Hart
In all the years I've been working political campaigns in Canada and the United States I can't tell you how many times I've heard the expression "Why should I vote, they're all corrupt". When I hear that statement and I must've heard it a million times (there, I said how many times), it always reminds me of the chicken and egg theory and which came first. Did politicians become corrupt because you elected them or did they become corrupt because you didn't? Which came first, the corrupt politician running for office or the corruption of the politician once elected and hence why should you vote for a corrupt politician? There are several answers to these questions but the clearest answer that rises above all the rest is illustrated in the developed nations where the vast majority of people participate in their democracies by voting.
Voting In Vast Majorities
In the developed industrial democracies of Europe and Canada where large numbers, 60 to 90% of the population of eligible voters participate in the democratic process politicians are less likely to ignore their constituents once elected. In fact, in Europe and Canada politicians are more apt to provide the services the public demands their tax dollars be spent on and that laws be past that reflect the community's values. Whereas, in the United States of America where the trend has been not to participate in the democratic process by the vast majority, citing the 2002 midterm elections which pulled a record low 32% to the polls, politicians are more likely not to listen to the vast majority of their constituents for the simple fact that their constituents did not vote by a vast majority to elect them. Consequently, elected politicians within the United States of America are more likely to listen to the special interests who spend millions of dollars aggressively lobbying the elected to provide legislation and tax advantages to the variety of special interests who have the cash to contribute to the elected that can then afford the TV time which can then overwhelm any challenge to a corrupt incumbency. God forbid if these candidates and incumbents would have to do some real political campaigning, pressing the flesh of constituents who in the end politicians actually don't want to go the polls. Politicians are quite happy to have low numbers and participation in their elections for the simple fact that they want a safe, predictable and easy to steal elections.
The evidence is very clear that when eligible voters go to the polls in vast majorities politicians do listen to their constituents. The consistent hallmarks of majority voting are universal health care, a strong safety net, a shorter work week, mandatory paid vacation for the entire working population, above the poverty line Social Security for the aging, comprehensive social and environmental laws that protect the health and welfare of the community as well as wildlife habitat and a fair and equitable system of taxation that recognizes that wealth accumulation does not occur in the vacuum of the wealthy individual but rather is a privilege provided by and as a result of the efforts of the entire society. The other fringe benefit of vast majorities going to the polls is Government accountability. If the Halliburton contract in Iraq occurred in Canada under the same circumstances and a vice-president or in the case of Canada a Deputy Prime Minister was the former CEO of a company like Halliburton and that company received a contract by decree closed to outside bidding as Halliburton did and these facts were made public the same way as they have been in the U.S. , the Canadian Deputy Prime Minister would have to resign immediately and possibly be subject to criminal charges. These societies of course, are not perfect but the distribution and expenditure of taxpayers' contributions to the general health of the entire society has produced the kinds of results that the real majority's of Canada and Europe seem to continue to support
Politicians become even more intimidated by voting majorities when politicians have flat-out lied like in the case of Canadians Prime Minister Brian Mulroney when he swore up and down that he would not sign the free-trade deal with U.S. when running for reelection in 1988 but after he was reelected he did exactly that, signed the free-trade deal with the U.S.. Which by the way, gave the U.S. veto power over Canada's own sovereign energy supplies. This resulted in Brian Mulroney's conservative party going from 187 seat majority to having just two seats left in the Canadian House of Commons in the very next general election.
The Conservative Party today has 99 seats in the Canadian parliament only because they formed an alliance with the radical right wing Alliance Party and many say the party may never recover from the punishment inflicted by the Canadian voters voting in vast majorities. In fact, the Canadian government of Liberal Party Prime Minister Jean Chretien won a third record majority in the House of Commons in part because the Liberal Party followed through on the public's wishes to give the native populations of Canada sovereign control of vast territories after suffering many of the same fates that the Native American populations were and are subject to in the U.S., increased health care spending by $4.5 billion, legalized hemp Agriculture and began a federal government sponsored medical marijuana program. The Liberals might have even won a 4th majority government in the Canadian House Commons because of the stand they took against the war Iraq and the fact that the liberal controlled Senate has recommended the legalization of marijuana in Canada and has already created the defacto decriminalization of cannabis.
But in the most recent general election the Liberal Party was weakened to minority government status in parliament by the Canadian electorate giving the New Democratic Party the party that created the single payer health care system in Canada, the balance of power. Liberal Member of parlimant Paul Martin being selected by his Party to become Prime Minister after Jean Chretien retired began cozying up to George W. Bush and talking about privatizing certain aspects of the Canadian single payer health care system. To this the Canadian public reacted by giving the balance of power to the New Democratic Party of Canada.
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