Susan Delacourt (on politics as marketing-as-usual)

“In a nation of consumer-citizens, the customer is always right. It is not the politician’s job to change people’s minds or prejudices, but to confirm them or play to them, to seal the deal of support. Speeches are not made to educate or inform the audience but to serve up marketing slogans. Political parties become ‘brands’ and political announcements become product launches.”

Susan Delacourt, Canadian journalist and author, in her recent Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them. Yeesh. (And what’s more: hurray for democracy!) The fine columnist Jeffrey Simpson called itone of the very best books about Canadian politics to appear in many years”, but its observations are certainly not exclusive to Canada. Simpson again: “It is a depressing book for anyone who believes in a broad public interest….Now, [political] parties are so sophisticated with their massive databases that they figure out which parts of the electorate they can attract…and fashion their policies with only them in mind. This makes politics more polarized…” (This comes from Simpson’s Globe and Mail review of Delacourt’s book.)

Which immediately reminded me of this passage from the writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, whom I quoted two posts back. Here, the Baha’i Master warns about where to go looking for “reality”:

“We must not look for truth in the deeds and actions of nations; we must investigate truth at its divine source and summon all mankind to unity in the reality itself.”

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