Delta city hall. (Grace Kennedy photo)

COLUMN: Do politics deserve such a bad rap?

ML Burke says that every personal decision she makes is political because it will affect her future

By ML Burke for the North Delta Reporter

When I first started writing these columns, my editor reminded me that this is a community paper and my content should be “mostly” community-based. My problem is that I was raised by a scientist who viewed the world from the point of view of the sun and our entire solar system. In the eyes of my dad, our community was the Earth. So forgive me when I talk about the larger community, and rest assured that it includes Delta.

There are a number of elephants trending in today’s global room. There is the real possibility of life on other planets, or that heaven exists, or that Trump is a Russian puppet. There’s no denying that we live in interesting times. I’m of an age where it’s hard to keep up with the ongoing chaos on Earth, and the hope there will be some respite in the afterlife.

Some folks have said I’m too political. Maybe. I perceive that every personal decision I make is political because it will affect my future. When a toddler learns they are not the centre of the universe, they (hopefully) start to engage with other people’s interests along with their own. As adults, this leads to politics outside of ourselves, aka the ‘body politic’ or the collective ‘we’. We become leaders or we vote for those who will represent our values.

Politics, love it or hate it, is the vehicle we have to calm the beast. In simplistic terms, there seems to be two kinds of people in our world: those who still think they are (or should be) the centre of the universe, and those who understand they are not and are willing to collaborate for the greater good.

I think most of us — left, right or centre — are gob-smacked at what is happening to our southern neighbour. Their beast has emerged from its cave, and we are not immune to its hateful wrath.

My favourite contemporary head-of-state, former U.S. President, said in his memoir Dreams from my Father, “I know that the hardening of lines, the embrace of fundamentalism and tribe, dooms us all.”

So here we are in Delta, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way. When it comes to our local politics, Vicki Huntington made history as a two-term independent MLA. She probably could have won more terms had she not resigned for health reasons. Just imagine if we had an entire legislature full of passionate people like her.

Which brings me to how disappointed I was at the failure of the proportional representation referendum. This could have been a great game-changer. We blew an opportunity to join a progressive club of nations worldwide, which for the most part have proven to be very successful in the way they govern.

Unfortunately, the fear-mongering strategy won again, so we are stuck with the current adversarial winner-takes-all system. Goodbye to collaboration and compromise, hello to more fake news, muckraking and not much getting done.

Oh well, if the beastliness persists, maybe my Finnish cousins will take me in, or there’ll be a peaceful place for us on Mars. Or in time I’ll just go home to heaven, which I hear is lovely.

If there’s a moral to this ramble, it’s this: The beast is out there, so vote carefully, but please vote. Peace, love and good government.

ML Burke retired from the health sector to work on issues such as affordable housing. She sits on the Delta Seniors Planning Team and the BC Seniors Advocate’s Council of Advisors.

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