Guestpost#9: Amanda Klein – Ten things I’ve learned from (partisan) politics

Amanda Klein is a Toronto-based lawyer, writer, and political strategist, and a close friend. She was very involved in the recent mayoral race, and if she had had her way, I would not be afraid for our city like I am now. Amanda is witty, acerbic, and all around a terrific person to have in my life.
  1. Anti-intellectualism and fear mongering, underpinned by falsehoods and bad reasoning.  These are the sinews of modern partisan politics in North America – broken, irrational and so. fucking. yawn.
  2. Even people who don’t think that politicians are disingenuous chameleons, political staff whore-droids and pundits glue-sniffing charlatans, feel alienated from the processes and people that govern us.
  3. The fact that people are alienated doesn’t imply they don’t care.  In the current political system however, getting people to care often means duping them with slogans and slight of hand.
  4. Contrary to what seems to be the case, getting involved in partisan politics because you feel it’s important to participate in institutions you want to change is exactly the right reason.  But glistening idealism makes you vulnerable.
  5. Our cities, provinces, states and countries do not belong to our elected officials alone.  The fact of getting involved in political communities (including NGO’s) is at least as important as the what.
  6. If we are to secure real leadership on a meaningful scale, politics must be the next battleground for the diversity movement, and must move beyond lip service, tokenism and one-offism.
  7. We will do a lot for improving political culture by voting reform.  First-past-the-post devalues votes and excludes people, encourages petty partisanism, and shifts attention away from real issues.
  8. Politics is Hollywood for ugly people and can turn the otherwise decent into astounding assholes.  But there are also some truly incredible people involved, and we need to leverage them and expand their numbers.
  9. Political history and voter perception is importantly determined by the media, and an improved political atmosphere requires more constructive reporting and editorial writing.  This usually makes for less sexy news, however.
  10. Better partisan politics results in better democracy.  That is something we should all be able to agree, and show willingness to take action on – regardless of which team we belong to.

1 Comment

Filed under tenthingsivelearned, Uncategorized

One response to “Guestpost#9: Amanda Klein – Ten things I’ve learned from (partisan) politics

  1. Sabrina

    Great post! Having worked on Parliament Hill, I especially appreciate point number 2.

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