Well it began again this morning. They rehashed it again on the radio. The question that arises every couple of years. The question that everyone wants an answer to. It's a question that really gets me going. It drives me nuts. That question is, of course -- why don't more young people take part in politics? This question usually comes up just after an election (why it showed up today is beyond me) because statistically, people at the lower end of the voting age limit, tend to not take part in the process. This disengagement with the political life of the country, province, city or town, where these young people live worries those elected officials in the halls of politics. After all, if the younger people don't vote, how will they get elected? Many reasons for this lack of interest are given by people 'in the know'. Lack of knowledge, lack of engagement with the issues of the day, lack of a will to do anything about the problems facing our world. All good reasons. All potentially correct, but none of them address the real problems.
Over the last few years here in Canada, we have seen many things happen in the political world. Not all of them good. There have been scandals involving money. Political parties using less than squeaky clean procedures to divert money to supporters. Questionable awarding of government contracts. Election funding problems. The list goes on. Then there are the people who we actually willingly voted for to represent us in the House of Commons. If you happen to have access to CPAC or are able to attend a sitting of Parliament you will quickly get the picture. I will admit that not all of the representatives are taking part in the chaos but what is with the catcalls, yelling, interruptions and bad behaviour? How can anyone possibly respect these elected officials? I won't compare them to children because that would be an insult to children. Most kids know when they are behaving badly and take steps to change. The sad thing is that the ones who are behaving properly and doing their jobs are being painted with the same brush as the yahoos. Then come the public displays of stupidity that seem to happen every day (or at least every other day). Tirades in airports. Blame for mistakes shifted to staffers. Lack of accountability for personal actions. Misrepresented facts and seemingly complete disregard for the intelligence of the people who elected them.
Personally, I don't think that young people (and yes, I include myself in that group) are being given credit for the intelligence that they have. We can see what's going on. We do listen to the news. We do read newspapers and websites. Perhaps the reason for the lack of engagement of younger people is so obvious that it escapes the notice of the people in power. If our political representatives are looking for reasons why younger people are not engaging in the political process then perhaps they should look in the mirror and ask themselves a few hard questions. What did I do today to make my country better? Did I do anything that might reflect badly on myself, my constituents or my country? Did my political party live up to it's ideals today? What can I do tomorrow to make things better?
If our elected officials are not part of the solution -- they're part of the problem.