If you insist on looking under rocks, you may find things that you do not want to touch. Recently this happened to me. I interacted with a politician.
Politicians and I are on different pages. I believe in equal inclusion of the population as the basis of a democracy, and that that inclusion is of primary importance, in an ideal world of course. That ideal puts me in a philosophical position where I do not accept poverty as necessary, or violence, or conflict, or greed. I accept that these things presently exist, and are ubiquitous in this suffering, dying world that we live in. But do so many of us have to suffer? I don’t think so. I think that the human species needs to calmly introduce new ways of looking at things. “Same old, same old” social structures are not how change happens, in my opinion.
My interaction with the politician was ill advised, I admit it. I know better, really, I do. But every once in a while I feel the urge to turn that rock over, the one with the word “helper” written on it, and see what is going on where the light does not shine. I feel the urge to see if a politician is on the same page as I am.
The discussion ensued after being publicly asked to donate money to a specific politician’s election campaign. I do not have money to give away. But I am a talented, well-educated individual with a lot to offer. I asked, “how can a cash strapped person support you xxxx?” And I will admit that I harboured hope, that this question would generate genuine consideration. Otherwise I would not have bothered to ask.
The interaction wound around in various directions, suggesting I volunteer locally (the money they asked for was not for a local campaign, but to help this politician in his personal bid for power). I have been watching what the “local” group does and I will not be joining. Since I was asked by the particular politician for money for HIS campaign, I was asking how I could support HIM, which is what I told him. The discussion went on, and I had the impression that he was feeling impatient with my request for suggestions for cash strapped supporters. At one point he stated, “I am not looking for viable and profound solutions to the world’s problems. My job is to have a team in place to beat the Harper gang. This is how change happens.”
And this is where we are not on the same page. For me the old adage applies, “It is not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game.” If a politician is elected, I personally would hope that they were interested in all problems that impact all Canadians, including world problems. The politician and I have stopped interacting. I suspect he felt he scored points by explaining, to the cash strapped Canadian woman, that change happens by beating the Harper gang. I shall leave him with whatever impressions he has garnered from the interaction. I have stopped reading what he writes, and what he shares. For no matter how plausibly he speaks of change, I know that the kind of change I would like to see is not what he is talking about. Once I know verbiage is what I perceive as “doublespeak”, what they are saying is not what I am hearing, I cease to listen.
I only learned one new thing from this interaction. It was the Facebook never forgets. The politician’s original statement, “I am not looking for viable and profound solutions to the world’s problems. My job is to have a team in place to beat the Harper gang. This is how change happens.” was edited out of the comment within minutes. I was disoriented by that for a few minutes. Then what I discovered was that if a comment on Facebook has a little word Edited below it, and if you click on Edited, you get to see the before and after of the edited comment, and you get to read what the author decided they wanted to change about what they said. So those words, although most people won’t see them even if they read the post and comments, will always be there. And of course, if you are sent email messages alerting you to each post comment, you will have a record of those words in your email Inbox.
In a way it is a cautionary tale to all of us who interact on Facebook. “Big brother” corporation is watching, keeping a record, of every single word. I was also thinking that it would be extremely easy for big brother corporation to rewrite history, would it not?
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“Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.”
A. J. Liebling
1904 – 1963