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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Again with the coalition fearmongering?

Can we give it a rest, for Christ's sakes?

In their seemingly endless quest to generate bullshit stories and manufacture controversies (honestly, don't these people have better things to do?  Like, maybe, I don't know ... govern competently?), the Harpokons are reviving the moldy and discredited spectre of a coalition among the opposition parties.  Stand by for the usual flood of crap:  anti-democratic, coup, seizing power against the will of the people, yargle bargle bleghhh ...

It's beyond me how this nonsense continues to find any traction. As anyone versed in even the most basic civic principles knows, this is how parliamentary democracies work: you get to govern only as long as you can command the confidence of Parliament. Once you lose that, your mandate is gone.  Moreover, coalition governments function all over the world, anywhere there are parliamentary democracies. They're a fact of life. Describing the possibility of a coalition as anti-democratic isn't just disingenuous -- it's a lie. A Pants-On-Fire lie. Plain and simple. It is a deliberate and calculated attempt to mislead.

And yet, in the poisonous atmosphere of partisanship and misinformation that seems central to the Harper government's modus operandi, that simple fact has been transformed into a rhetorical cudgel used to beat the opposition and the media. Pointing out the facts about how things work, or citing parliamentary convention, isn't merely a statement of fact any more. Now it's taken as evidence of bias and partisanship.

Never mind their sustained and systematic assault on the infrastructure of democracy for the moment. Among the Harpokons' many acts of vandalism against Canadian civil society, that's got to be one of the worst. The goalposts defining civic discourse have been moved so far that the simple act of telling the truth in the face of lies and bullshit is now not merely a risky act -- it's taken as evidence of disloyalty. The farther down this road we allow them to take us, the harder it's going to be to get back.

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