WARNING: COARSE LANGUAGE.
I’m sure most of you by now are familiar with the story about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who used a public beach “that has been closed to all other New Jerseyans amid a government shutdown that Christie ordered Friday.”
His defense that ‘‘the governor has a residence at Island Beach….that’s the way it goes” and “run for governor and you can have the residence.’’ is logically correct but still reeks of qu’ils mangent de la brioche.
In other words, “let them eat cake.”
I can see why Tuja, who once ran an excellent job search blog, has such a deep hatred for this guy. We’ve had some insensitive pricks up here in Canada in charge of federal, provincial, and municipal governments, but this guy — pardon the expression — takes the cake. Actually, by the looks of him, he must have taken a lot of cake.
It’s no wonder that many of our social issues — such as poverty, homelessness, unemployment, high taxes, long wait times to see a medical specialist, crumbling infrastructure — are still around and kicking our collective ass. It’s not that these issues are hard to fix: with the right leadership and planning, most of them could be resolved within our lifetime.
It’s just that the men and women we elect to office, whom we expect to fix these issues, are hardly leadership material. Christie’s behaviour might be an extreme example to use as evidence of this, but it can still serve as the “confirmed sighting” that politicians are self-entitled assholes who do not have the people’s interests in mind and at heart.
Having said this, is it enough to just point blame at the badly-behaving politician, or perhaps we need to look further for the reason why government no longer serves the people?
It’s true what lawyer, diplomat, writer, and philosopher Joseph de Maistre once wrote: in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve. Christie’s a dick, but the last time I checked America is still a democracy and he was voted in, not appointed by divine rule as dictator. In Ontario, the Kathleen Wynne government has enough evidence stacked against them to show that they are both inept and corrupt, yet when given the choice nearly four years ago, the people re-elected the Liberal Party. Justin Trudeau has proven himself to be clueless about the economy, terrorism, and what defines national unity, yet he was elected Prime Minister of Canada instead of having Stephen Harper return for another term.
We can grind our teeth all we want about the next new tax, rant and rave about how it’s “do what we say and not as we do” with people like Christie, or sigh in resignation you just can’t fight City Hall, but this madness is our manufacture.
For not doing our homework at election time and not taking charge in how government should serve the people, this is what we deserve.
That does not mean it has to always be this way.
If we want better in government, we need to look for better within and amongst ourselves. We have to turn our BS detectors up to 11 and look past the false promises listed in election platforms that look more like marketing strategies. More importantly, we must ask each person who is running for public office at election time this question:
“What will you do if you fail to keep your promises?”
It’s a fair question. Most people are fired when they don’t carry out what their employers tell them to do. Why should this be different for politicians? Are we not their employers? Shouldn’t we send them packing when they don’t do what we ask them to do? Apparently we don’t, and this is what we get.
Either we hold our elected officials to a higher standard, or we better get used to seeing more stories like Christie’s in the future, and they won’t just be just the odd extreme exception but an everyday occurrence.
Thanks for reading.