In defense of Partisans

Our ongoing national dialogue about state of Canadian politics is touching on some very necessary topics, like the ones covered in this article.  I’ve seen this article shared on Facebook and Twitter several times, and I’m glad that it’s being talked about. There’s one clarification I’d like to make to everyone who uses the word ‘partisan’ as a label for the people responsible for our current political morass: ‘partisan’ isn’t a dirty word.

Maybe it’s just the language geek in me, but I can’t accept an automatic negative connotation to ‘partisan’. It simply means “a supporter of a person, party, group, or cause”.  You could easily substitute the word ‘fan’ for ‘partisan’ and it would work just as well.  And just like a room full of Leaf fans, there will be a wide range of personalities within any partisan crowd. Some will be blindly partisan, committed to the cause no matter what the team does or how badly it abuses the rules of the game. But there will be a large number of thoughtful, respectful fans there too. Those fans will cheer when the team plays hard and clean, but they’ll make their disappointment known when the team starts to play dirty.

And that cuts to the heart of the problem we’re facing in the current political climate: not enough respect for the rules of the game.  Good sportsmanship demands that you care about how you win, not just winning itself. A victory made possible by exploiting the rules isn’t much of a victory at all, and it certainly doesn’t reflect the dignity and seriousness that government requires. It’s the job of the partisan to police their own team, and make sure that the leaders they support are acting in a way that they can be proud of. We don’t need leaders who are “shamelessly political”, we need leaders who avoid doing shameful things.

Published by Chris

I'm an author, freelance writer, dad, and civic busybody living in London, Ontario

3 thoughts on “In defense of Partisans

  1. ….that would be lovely…just how do we do that? It seems that the very nature of politics either corrupts or attracts the corrupted…

    1. There isn’t any easy fix for it-it takes hard work and involvement from sensible and decent people. I believe that there are good people who can have a profoundly positive impact in the public arena, but they need support from their communities. When we tune out and disengage, the bad guys win.

  2. I think the biggest problem is that so many people are incredibly overwhelmed by their day-to-day lives and tuning-out is a protective mechanism. And, here in NZ anyway, the differences between our Left and Right wing parties seem so small these days that people can’t see what they would be fighting for if they started backing one or the other – or even individuals for that matter. Interestingly, it’s our Green Party which is making the greatest gains in the popularity stakes at the moment.

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