People ask me "Why The Rhinoceros Party
? Why Doubleplusgood
? Why The President's Choice
(The also ask me "why not?" Why not run in the municipal elections? Why am I running seriously in the student union elections?)1. I can foster debate.
Since I don't expect to be elected, I can say things that other candidates can't. I can directly attack other candidates or their parties in ways that I think are simply stating the obvious, but which are often considered taboo. I can whip out social policy platforms that are shocking, ridiculous or unpopular, and sometimes people will pay attention, consider my points, and even demand them. Did you know that there is strong defederation sentiment at SFU? Did you know that we banned Llamas on campus? Did you know that there is a rumour floating around SFU about actually installing a gondola? I ran on these platforms in 2005, and one (albeit the most farcical one) has happened, one may soon come to pass, and another could be in the works.2. I can act as a protest vote.
To my knowledge, no country has "none of the above" on the ballot. And Candadian election returns usually don't include spoiled ballots. A crank candidate can make up for this. If people vote for the jester, or if, as has happened in Quebec, they do so in greater numbers than a mainstream party, this sends a strong message of non-confidence, and it shames parties or candidates who have it coming.3. I want to give people something to believe in. ("people" includes myself)
I like, and perhaps need, stories, and how the world can be laid out in oversimplifying narrative. I need the Archetypes, and the sacred struggle; and I think other people do too.
I grew up believing in the potential of our electoral system, and while I think that we need many reforms, I don't think that my optimism was, or is, inherently naiive. Politicians can be honest, upstanding, brilliant virtuous people who advance bold new social changes. They are probably fucked up in other ways (you'd be fucked-up too if you were repeatedly told that your greatest virtue was a veneer over dishonesty) but they can still be good leaders. The stories can be true. There are honest politicians: I have met them.
In fact, there are a great many people who would or do make honest politicians. The problem is that politics is a cruel game, and honest leaders don't want to get their hands dirty, either in terms of doing dishonest things, or by simply touching something this filthy. And so they lose, drop out, or don't get involved in the first place.
I have very high standards, but will also put up with a lot of certified organic crazy to reach them.
But the dishonesty and cruelty in politics vary with time and place. Since they vary in predictable ways, something must be affecting this change. What is it? Maybe it's when the public holds leaders accountable and refuses to believe someone who lives by the creed "this is how the game is played: it is how things have always been and will always be." If this is the case, and I think it is as I can see no other cause that explains why ballot stuffing and voter intimidation are de riguer
in one locale and unthinkable elsewhere, then it is possible to create such a change.
I remember praying, give me something to believe in.
There are times when honest and informed (as well as eccentric and/or personally dysfunctional) people come out to lead, and have a shot at being apointed to power, especially on scales too small to attract the more competent among the big bastards. This is why I will remain with COPE for the forseeable future. And this is why I am running seriously in the SFSS elections alongside some other good candidates. Both have good people, good leaders
, running for office. They are the True King, and I am obliged to serve them.
And she has started talking about pseudo-Jungian archetypes, and things get crazy.
What of other times, when there is no great hope, when competent, honest people aren't running for competent, honest parties with a hope in hell of winning? I can not serve as a Knight if there is no True King, nor can I give you the True King myself, but I can deliver the Trickster, and mock the pretenders to the throne. (or, in the BC elections, I can attack the symbiotic dyad of NDP shortsighted incompetence and Liberal obtuse selfishness)
This is what I believe in. This is why I am here. This is why I do what I do.
See you on the campaign trail.