Op Ed 1: The threat of the modern political climate, Dimitrios Monette

Despite the recent reestablishment of the Liberal party as Canada’s leadership, the nation’s choice to place that leadership in a minority seat has shown the volatility of the political order we live among today. Canadians find themselves in an ever polarizing political world, and while it might be argued that so far Canada has held back the overwhelming sweep of party/party hatred and conflict, it cannot be said for certain that such a path will be maintained into the future. As we look upon nations like the United States with a system that is so fundamentally entrenched against one another, and to Europe where prospects seem equally divisive, is it really so wild minded to look ahead to Canada’s own political future and see a climate of hatred and combativeness? Political pieces of our time focus heavily on the hatred spouted by their opposition, a stance is taken that populism is inherently evil or inherently good for the nation, and more and more are voters and citizens judging each other based upon political affiliation. This to an outward observer looks very similar to the political climates that gave rise to regimes such as the Nazis and Soviets, and does not ring well for a future full of stability. When writers themselves become rather partisan in their strikes against leadership targets and parties, how then should we expect the masses to remain docile and civil? 

To evaluate the path our western leading nation and southern neighbour, the United States, has taken towards the disunion they now face we can simply look to a pew poll set from 2016. Here we steadily see that the numbers of politically minded peoples in the United States have exponentially grown to severely distaste their opposition party and its supporters, with a jump of some 37% for the Republican change of attitude towards the Democrats, and 38% respectively for Democrats against Republicans over a period of 22 years with a rapid spike in the later 2000’s. In addition to this, over 40% of voters for either party believed the opposing political establishment and their supporters were a threat to the nations well being, success and stability. 

It is rather difficult to imagine that such sentiments have reversed in the last 4 years of the Trump presidency and in parallel the scandal filled liberal government of our own nation. It is from divisions like this that party’s like the NSDAP (Nazi Party of Germany) were able to pick cracks in the average citizens armour and exploit them to gain their support, and exploit hatred for their opposition in order to gain a foothold. Here in Canada parties have already begun the process of similar campaigning, including the strikes against Scheer for his old stance on gay marriage and Trudeau’s very interesting black face costume choice. These are not campaigning tactics for the betterment of society through the party presenting them, but rather smear campaigns by either party against the other to invoke feelings of hatred upon the opposition. Campaigning has been undertaken by the NDP leadership to strike at the perceived common enemy of the 1% rich who hold the supposed keys over our society, an easy answer for a far more complex issue of economy and living standard. To me, this looks suspiciously like an attempt to label an easy common other as an enemy and target in order to bring forth election and power, not unlike the perception of the thirties and forties that a common enemy in the Judeo-Bolshevik existed in opposition and oppression of the masses of “normal” citizenry(Hanebrink). While some of these things have a legitimate right to be brought to light, I find it interesting Canada has chosen this path ever more commonly than in its past.

Overall Canada has begun to enter into the unstable political world that has similarly gripped other western nations within this past decade. A sphere where none are willing to work with the other, and all ardently believe their path is the best for advancement for fear of the alternative condemning their nation. Not too unlike our Weimar Republic of the past, a Coalition has been thrown out and claimed ineffective, and an increase in political hostility has given rise to both alt right and far left extremist parties. Our democracy’s choice of path has resulted in the ideal breeding grounds for extremist views and leadership in the political world, and it was a situation just like this that led to the otherwise small NSDAP party seizing a majority of seats, chancellorship, and finally absolute control over the liberal democracy of the post First World War Weimar Republic. Am I claiming the west will bring forth the next Adolf Hitler and Nazi party? Certainly not, but to claim that our current political climate and discourse is good for democracy and stability is plain folly.

Works Cited:

Hanebrink, Paul. A Specter Haunting Europe : The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism, Harvard University Press, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy.library.carleton.ca/lib/oculcarleton-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5521692.

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