34 THE PROTESTORS

A friend drew my attention to a You Tube recording of a young activist protester speaking on the steps of the Legislature building in Winnipeg. I was impressed with the effort taken in preparing and delivering the speech on “ Our tax dollars being spent on murdering innocent civilians”. It is heartening to realize that there are concerned young people dedicated to correcting the wrongs that they have identified in our country and the world. However, it is not enough to only protest. It is necessary to do the things necessary to return our country to Responsible Government. It is not enough to change the Political Party in power. We have seen many changes of party over the last 50 or more years, but the deterioration of governance and our economy continues.

The generations younger than I are able to use the information and communication tools now available to them in this new digital world. Maybe with the help of they these tools, they will be able to avoid the violent means for change that young citizens have had to apply in other countries. They have a wealth of immediate information about what is wrong with the world and what part Canada plays. Protesting what is wrong is commendable, but at what point will they realize that, if their elected representatives can do little to influence and change Government, as ordinary citizens they can do less. When they see no improvement they may give up or become violent. Or, they can get to work and do something effective, as well as protest.

It may seem mundane, boring, too low key, too time consuming and too much hard work to learn why and how their Government does the things that they are protesting. If they are able to absorb more than the video clips and headlines on their TV screens, they will learn why our Representative Democracy is deteriorating. By reading books like, “Tragedy in the Commons” “Irresponsible Government” “ What I learned about politics” and others, they may realize what changes are necessary before their protests can have any effect. They must learn why wealth is being accumulated in the hands of the few. Even by only watching economic documentaries on You Tube they can learn how the actions of the financial industry and the “New Economics” are leading us to the edge of a 25 year recession.

I look at these smart, vital, dedicated protesters marching and waving their placards and wonder when, and if, they will learn what they must do to make a difference. I know that if those 25 or 50 or 100 joined together behind a qualified, thinking, dedicated, independent candidate in their constituency, and personally explained and asked every voter in a constituency to vote for that candidate, our legislatures would no longer be controlled by the political parties and rich elite. The millions of advertising dollars poured out to control the minds of voters will not convince a voter like a knowledgeable and dedicated canvasser, face to face.

Protesters who turn their efforts to working toward a truly democratic system will effect change. They can attract the experience and knowledge needed to organize a constituency from the many who have been involved in politics, and those who have been previously elected, who now see that we must take control back from the party organizations and leaders. Those of us who have seen the insidious growth of undemocratic governance may be so overwhelmed by the effort required, that we need younger leaders to motivate us. With those who use their minds and vote their consciences in our legislative bodies, our Governments can again be responsible.