Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Liberal re-invention must include all, and exclude none

By Jane Taber, Globe and Mail, June 6, 2011
Grassroots Grits have spoken and they want nothing less than a revolution – a party no longer dominated by “middle-aged white guys,” no merger with the NDP, an effort to reach out to Quebec, time for deep reflection and an interim leader who can “reclaim and articulate the progressive centre.”

Taber is making reference to the statement made by Alfred Apps, Party President of the Federal Liberals.
"Middle-ages-white-guys" has become a catch phrase for everything that is wrong with, not only the party but also everything that apparently is wrong with the society.
It is this "demographic broad brush" that paints everyone in any category as the same, or as having a similar point of view, and then throwing them under the bus when things go awry that is so out-of-touch with reality.
Politics, as practiced by all political parties, runs the serious risk of falling into the trap of seening "groups" as more important than individuals, because not everyone either expresses a point of view, because the pollsters do demographically based surveys that say 'x group favours/opposes/doesn't care/will physically protest....or whatever on a particular issue....and that kind of polling is so instrumental to those who seek to practice wedge politics.
As one of those very "middle-aged-white-guys" (albeit at the upper end of that demographic) I deeply resent this lumping into a no-longer-useful-group who has presumably had too much power for too long, and therefore has to step aside and be replaced by another "demographic group."
Perhaps, it is a journalists's bias that results in such a lumping and such an inferential trashing.
However, as an individual, on behalf of all other individuals, I refuse to be classed as trash by any leader, by any potential leadership team, and by any jounralist or pollster.
Recently, I received a phone call from another "marketing survey" for a radio broadcasting client, and when asked which age grouping I fell into, I was told that "we have all the numbers for that category that we need" and the survey ended. Of course, I knew that the client was only interested in the demogrphic that was younger than I because that is where their marketing and their programming is targetted. I am no longer relevant to that survey, and potentially to the Liberal Party of Canada.
Hold on a minute!
I am not dead yet, and I am not prepared to be sluffed off into one of Canada's warehousing institutions for people over a certain age whose usefulness has become "redundant".
I, and millions of others, am not redundant; along with millions of others, I am not useless, or willing to be pushed aside, and certainly not ready to be thrown under the bus. And if the Liberal Party is going to re-invent itself, without my demographic, it is going to fail in that process.
And neither Alfred Apps, nor Jane Taber, is going to change that reality, no matter how much ink or air time they dedicate to a different proposition.
Of course, there are new people who have not joined the party, whose views and whose aspirations are important to include in any discussion of a re-invented party; and of course, there is no individual, including this one, who is opposed to their inclusion. But their inclusion does not imply or require my exclusion...and if it does, the process of renewal will fall flat on its preening face.

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