Politics Is Not a Team Sport; They Work For Us. Period.

As we head into a federal election Canadians are being blessed with warnings about political bots and micro-targeting on social media, and as a bonus, an impressively cohesive attempt by Conservative MPs and Senators to spread allegations of vote rigging.

Message discipline is incredibly strong in the right-leaning party ranks and it would make life ever-so-much easier if the rest of our options would pick up on that.

Hint. Hint. Hint. (That’s the sound my head makes banging against a brick wall, apparently.)

Anyone who was raised in a politically-engaged household has heard the phrase “all politicians are (liars, thieves, corrupt)” but we are facing a new level of public dishonesty that is more than concerning. Measured responses aren’t lauded and appreciated while over-the-top accusations, anger and sheer idiocy are. Boundaries are being tested here in Canada to see just how far the electorate can be pushed.

Incredibly, it is no longer about “the people”. Politics has undergone a massive public relations re-branding; it is now a “team”.  

And politicians are now seen as part of the team. The new political reality is that people will accept the lies, inappropriate behaviour and personal enrichment when it comes from their “team”. Score one for the political elite. 

We now see the same loyalty to political parties as we do sports teams; we wear the colours, we cheer when they win and we shake our heads when they lose but don’t speak out when they make mistakes. We’re loyal. 

Political Parties have managed to turn the tables on the people. 

Political Parties, and politicians, do not deserve our loyalty; they deserve our never-ending scrutiny. Do they have the best interests of their constituencies, their province, and their country in mind?

We elect them to be stewards of our present and our future so we can continue being stewards of our lives. Are they keeping their word? Are they representing us in the way we expect to be represented?

We should not be relegated to the cheap seats to cheer them on; we are not the fans – we are the General Managers and they play for us. We decide whether they’re worth the cost, we decide whether they can be counted on to make the right plays and we decide when to trade them. 

Politics isn’t a sport. When they make mistakes there are real consequences for me, you, your neighbour, your children and your grandchildren. We are not fans and we need to stop acting as such. We run the show, not them – or at least, we are supposed to.

This post is an opinion. 

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

 contact: [email protected]

Twitter: @mitchell_ab for all the commentary; @thisweekinab for posts.




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