When we look at political issues, the sides people take seem to be determined by their ideology rather than about the facts in a given situation. Truth be damned, in favour of the “party line”. To be fair, this has become to unfortunate norm, with guilt shared almost equally on both sides of the proverbial “aisle”.
While there is enough blame to go around, left-wing Canadians have agreed on one main whipping boy: Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Since 2005, in the time leading up to the 39th general election in January 2006, the Canadian left have been singing a familiar refrain: Stephen Harper and the Conservatives will destroy Canada with their extreme right-wing policies. When the Conservatives were on clearly on track to win a minority, the chorus became more specific: Stop Harper’s majority – for the same, fear-mongering reason.
Well, since 2011, Canada has been under Conservative majority rule. And while their government has not been free of trouble (which government has been, honestly?) they have certainly not destroyed the country. In fact, economically, Canada is considerably healthier than most, if not all, of the G8 and G20 countries, and weathered the recent recession much quicker and with less hardship than all of them.
But has that stopped the automatic left-wing anti-Harper chants? Not at all. Why not? Because the facts don’t mmatter to people who are driven by ideology.
And the invective continues. When Harper agrees to work with the United States on a common venture, the Canadian left is quick to accuse Harper of being a “puppet” and a “sellout”. The Left cries out that Canada is not the US and that what’s good for them is not what’s good for us.
And then, Harper proposes tough-on-crime legislation that increases mandatory jail sentences and punishment for Canada’s worst offenders. And all of a sudden, Canada’s left wing, who have been anti-US for so long, starts singing its praises. The articles and videos abound: “Texas Conservatives reject Harper’s anti-crime approach.” Texas says they tried what Harper is proposing, and that it doesn’t work, and Canada’s left suddenly takes the side of one of the most right-wing American states.
How can this be? What explains the sudden 180-degree shift? Ideology. Pure and simple. My enemy’s opponent is my friend. Doesn’t matter that they have been insulting and belittling Texas (and American policy in general) for decades, the fact that they now oppose Harper on an issue is a testament to their incredible wisdom.
Fast forward to this week. News right out of, you guessed it, Texas, where a 16-year old driver, under the influence of drugs and alcohol, kills 4 people, paralyzes 2 others, and injures 5 more, gets 10 years PROBATION. No jail time.
Let me repeat that. NO JAIL TIME. And why? Because a Texas judge bought the inconceivable defense that the kid is not responsible because his parents bailed him out, financially, of every problem he had been in. “Affluenza”, a junk psychologist called it; “a rich-kid syndrome that led him to believe money solved everything.”
Hey Canadian left wing: do you still want to take lessons on crime from Texas?
And if you haven’t managed to put your ideology aside to answer that question, here are the names of the victims:
Hollie Boyles, 52 and her daughter Shelby, 21, who went to help Breanna Mitchell, 24, after her SUV broke down on a dark country road and Brian Jennings, 41, a youth pastor, who also pulled over to see if he could help.
These innocent people’s lives are over at the hands of a killer who has gone unpunished by the same system that you support and defend out of your short-sighted ideological blindness.
Put yourself in the shoes of these people’s families.
This is the product of Texas’ justice system choices. Is this fair? Is this right?
Hopefully, those who blindly supported Texas because they stood opposite Harper will learn through this terrible story that context matters, that we need to consider all factors before jumping to a conclusion – even when the conclusion supports our goals. Hopefully, you will learn that there are productive and constructive ways to get involved in governing that are more honourable than just slagging government proposals because they don’t align with your ideals.
And for the rest of you, as I always say, some people have an ideology, and for others, their ideology has them.