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May 31, 2007

A Quick Guide to Politics, Blogging, and Fair Play

PencilsgreenHere's something I really struggle with when I'm wearing my blogger/activist's hat. Maybe you struggle with it, too. Sometimes politics can get so personal.

Here's what I mean.

My parents always taught me to attack the problem, not the person, but these days politics seems to have become as at least as much about personalities as it is about issues.

As a social/political activist, I tell myself that it's reasonable to criticize a politician's record, but it's not fair game to attack the politician as a person unless the criticisms are relevant to that person's performance as a politician (e.g., the politician has done something really wrong that the public needs to know about).

And as for the all-out political attacks on political opponents that seem to have become a form of political entertainment in Ottawa as of late, I'm totally opposed to them.

  • First of all, they basically amount to bully tactics; and I disagree with bullying in any arena, including the political arena. Besides bullying tends to lead to a general lack of respect and civility and, as we've seen in recent weeks on The Hill, it's hard to get much of anything done in a climate of mutual distrust or outright loathing.

  • Secondly, personal attacks sidetrack the political debate, allowing the conversation to become focused on personalities rather than the issues that should actually actually be being debated or the work of Parliament that should actually be being done.

I think I may have crossed the line a few times in this blog (although when I re-read the posts that make me wonder, I'm not quite sure). If I have, I apologize. What I can promise is that I'll try even harder to err on the side of generosity of spirit in future, even if it means taking a blogging timeout when it comes to a particular issue.

P.S. This post wasn't motivated by any incident in particular; just me trying to live my life in synch with my values (which is always a tall order). Since I was mulling over these issues, I thought I'd blog about them in case someone else was mulling them over, too.


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Good post. I am of similar mind.

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