Thursday, 6 April 2017

Why I "Waste" My Time On Social Media

A few months ago, someone accused me of not doing anything to affect change and "wasting" my time on Facebook. I took great offense to this, because it's simply not true. In fact, I've spent the better part of my life trying to affect change, from attending rallies and meetings on various issues to joining a political party. But you know what? None of that seemed to make any difference from my perspective. The ultimate lesson that I've taken from years and years of trying to affect change by working within the Canadian political system is that it's not worth my time and effort and never has been. I actually find social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to be much more effective forums for airing grievances and making change.

In fact, I would argue that social media is the best forum for the average Canadian to make him or herself heard. I honestly can't believe that there are still people in this country who think writing to their local MP or MPP can make a difference. What a load of crap. Do you know what MPs and MPPs are? They're little more than drones or trained seals. In theory, the MP or MPP in each riding represents the people in those ridings. But in practice, they represent the political party to which they belong, unless they've been elected as independents, which of course is very rare. Their bosses aren't the voters, but rather the leaders of their respective parties. All they do is tow the party line. And if they refuse to do so, they're warned to shut up or get booted out of caucus. Your local MP or MPP can't help you get a law or policy changed, unless they happen to be members of the cabinet, where the real power is. But of course, if they are cabinet ministers, they probably don't have time for the average Canadian. So unless you happen to be the head of a lobby group or a sizable corporation, or perhaps a major donor to the party, you won't get any audience with a cabinet member. At best, you'll get to speak to one of that person's office staff, because cabinet members themselves just can't be bothered by the average Joe Canadian.

Now of course, at some point the folks in power do have to face the voters. If you don't like what the people in power are doing, make yourself heard at the ballot box. Simple, right? Not quite, especially in Canada where our electoral system is rigged to keep the same old establishment in power and keep those with new ideas out. Why is this? Because our elections don't accurately reflect the will of the Canadian electorate. Instead, it produces a political oligarchy in which two or three big political parties control everything and new players barely stand a chance of gaining representation in our federal or provincial legislatures. Kind of like how Canada's telecommunications sector is dominated by Rogers, Bell and Telus, resulting in the sky high prices for cable, internet and wireless services that we all have to pay. In essence, our elections have become equivalent to choosing a wireless service provider and getting screwed no matter who you pick. It should't surprise anyone that Prime Minister Trudeau Junior reneged on his promise to bring in electoral reform. He never intended to keep this promise. He lied! After all, why would he do away with an electoral system that has served him and the rest of the political establishment so well for all of Canada's 150 years?

So if your local MP or MPP isn't accountable to you and elections just end up substituting one group of fat cats for another, how else are you supposed to make yourself heard? I for one am sick and tired of going through the traditional channels of political power in Canada and getting absolutely nowhere. Therefore, I plan to "waste" plenty more of my time on social media, where I actually have a voice.

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