Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

The you and me, us and them gap



By G.D. Maxwell

I think it’s time to consider electoral reform. And, like all good movements, this one should start locally and spread to the bigger stage of provincial and federal elections.

When I say electoral reform, I don’t mean the kind of electoral reform Slash Gordon, our beloved and besotted premier was making noises about before the provincial election earlier this year, which is to say any reform that wouldn’t pose a challenge to his continued stranglehold on the reins of power. The single transferable vote, or some other manner of tortured, proportional representation, just isn’t bold enough for the kind of change I’m envisioning. Besides, since we don’t do party politics locally, it would be both difficult to understand and pointless.

And I don’t mean the kind of reform where people running for office would have to demonstrate any real penchant for leadership, understanding of issues, listening to voters, playing well with others, knowing the difference between right and wrong, chewing gum and walking at the same time – or locomoting themselves by any other means since I’m a sensitive, inclusive kind of guy and wouldn’t want to start getting nasty letters from anyone with any form of walking challenge whatsoever, honest – or a firm grasp of the difference between, oh say, leading the town and duping some tourist who’s had one too many Mai Tais into buying a vacation condo. I mean, let’s keep it within the realm of possibilities here, folks. This ain’t science fiction.

I’m thinking something more today, more with it, more hip, more media savvy. I’m thinking about Survivor: The Political Challenge.

Let’s face it, in our increasingly polarized society – and I use the word advisedly – the gap between you and me is growing ever more vast even as the physical space between us, especially on the ski hill, seems to diminish to almost nothing. Now, I don’t mean the literal you, dear reader, and me, esteemed if not entirely believable writer. I mean the figurative, representational, archetypical you and me; the us and them you and me if you get my drift. Heck, you and me? We’re still like two sweet peas in a pod, aren’t we?

But the gaps, the thin, see-through, shiny spots in the social fabric are growing more numerous and noticeable. If we wore this thing out in public we’d probably be busted for indecent exposure. Whether it’s the gap between the educated and uneducated, the digitally hip and digitally clueless, urban and rural, tattooed and untattooed, low-fat or full-fat latte drinkers or Liberal and Conservative – whatever those terms mean when you capitalize them – the gaps look more like crevasses.

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