I signed up to volunteer with the federal NDP today. It’s my first such action, though I have been thinking about taking this step for half a lifetime now. The first thing that happened was I got an email asking me to recruit 3 more people by sending them this link:
Political parties are funny organizations. Thus far I have gotten a whole lot of emails from the NDP asking for money, a few promising silly things like a chance to win a trip to a hockey game with Tom Mulcair, and a small number pointing me at press events held by the party.
I started dipping my toe in these waters because I wanted to be part of something I believe in. And I have to be clear, I still believe in the NDP right now. Their message includes major planks upon which I would happily elect a government – proportional representation, strong action on environmental matters, strong social nets, etc.
But there isn’t a sense of involvement yet. This is where politics falls down for me right now. If alienation is the great destroyer of democracy, involvement needs to be accessible and come with incentives. I don’t see it right now. An endless stream of money asks is the opposite of what’s needed to change the landscape. It may win elections, but it damages everything else.
I hope somebody up there is paying attention and trying to understand what it feels like from this end. I hope policy is being crafted to drain this abscess of political necessity.
And I’m really worried that necessity is going to crowd out citizenry for a long time to come.