“What Have You Done For Me Lately?”

Janet Jackson posed this question with her lead song from her 1986 studio album Control.

It seems to also have a certain resonance with some of our elected officials across all levels of Government in Canada. To that end, I posted on Twitter recently with reference to several high-profile MP’s and MPP’s across different party lines. While I am not a voting supporter of all of them, I wanted to acknowledge their dedication and service. I first thanked them for their hard work, then proceeded to make a small request; actually more of a statement which read:

“Disagreeing should not equal disrespect – We All Love Canada”

Did not get a peep out of any of them, whether in agreement or disagreement. To be honest, I was not really expecting any. Being as busy as they are, seeing one small tweet among hundreds or even thousands daily is difficult at best. It is challenging to get your point of view across in 140 characters or less. Conversely, if by some chance you can work within that limitation, and get noticed, it bodes well and is a good indicator of your communicative ability.

I follow the news regularly and wonder if some of our elected officials (Municipal, Provincial and Federal) recall that they are getting paid to run the country….not run it aground! Disagreements are healthy, even necessary in the sphere of politics, but when opposing viewpoints get boiled down to some vitriolic reduction sauce of pseudo-offenses, it can get to be a bit much.

I recall years ago, I had a thought that on the surface may seem to some (ok, a lot) grossly idealistic and somewhat less than democratic. I envisioned that the principal leaders of the world’s representative G20 countries (along with Third World leaders) were somehow transported to an orbiting space station and left there with a year’s supply of food and water. They all had a year to resolve their differences, mitigate lingering disputes, and actually get practical work accomplished. Not for their next election bid, (or in some instances oppressive dictatorship), but for the countries and constituents they claimed to represent.

If at the end of that year, they failed to come to an understanding, then they were shipped an extra 6 month supply of food and water. If they were still deadlocked after that extra 6 month period then a 3 month supply was delivered; and so on. Incentive is so underrated these days.

But a caution; in our desire to berate and offer armchair criticism towards our elected officials, we should not lose sight of the fact that we the electorate, can be as much a part of the problem as we are potential providers of solutions. Whether we are natural-born or Naturalized Canadians, we too have a responsibility to our country Canada. Note that word Our; that collective pronoun has all of the attendant and intrinsic connotations and responsibilities associated with it. All Canadians have a vested interest in what is happening today in our country. Our responses, or lack thereof, will determine our future.

This is your country. Keep it, protect it, love it, pray for it.

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post Canada