Killing Democracy Softly


Header-image-Maggio-2By Gabe Maggio

(WINDSOR, ON) – You can accept every little thing your child does or you can be the ever critical type. Either parenting technique comes with consequences. But, to not care what your child is ever doing, or to never pay attention, is seriously more damaging.

The same goes for paying attention to our socio-economic system as well as our everyday political discourse.

Too few are actually keeping up with the news. Burying their heads in the sand or blindly accepting the status quo and swimming with the current is much easier. It sounds harmless since there are worse things people could be doing or not doing, but it comes with a larger price.

In a recent poll, Britain’s Royal Statistical Society surveyed 11,000 people in 14 countries about their knowledge of everyday economics and civil and social issues. In, what is now called an, Index of Ignorance, Canadians ranked 7th. Considering our access to education and information, through more than just traditional means, but also through fingertip technology, this is hardly impressive.

I find it an indication that we are taking too much for granted and our priorities are out of whack.

As Edmund Burke, a great Irish statesman once bemoaned the prevalent lethargy.

The only necessary thing needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Unfortunately, that is exactly how we, as a society, have arrived at such a point.

No action.

Sure, there are plenty of talkers on social media. They have an opinion on it all. But what are they actually doing?

Again, not much at all.

A common theme among many social media posts this year surrounded the disdain for haters. Although often misplaced, it is not the haters who are gonna hate with whom we should be concerned. If we are serious about the advancement of human civilization, we must therefore be more preoccupied with not those that hate, but rather those who are indifferent.

Why are they disengaged in the first place?

For decades they have been systematically disenfranchised and now, to keep them in the dark, there is in place a series of manufactured distractions. The indifferent must now be re-engaged, re-educated on the issues, and made to be vigilant and aware once again.

But, regardless of the root causes, those that pay no attention, or who just don’t care, are the population which is quickly eroding our democracy. Such a population, none the wiser, is a politician’s dream.

The same goes for not paying attention to the policies, social program, laws and regulations, pilot projects, or political platforms that our elected officials churn out. They all affect each and every one of us, in one way or another. They deserve your attention.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions are made on a daily basis while the vast majority of society doesn’t even bat an eye. Rustling the attention of much of the population is a daunting task these days. Their collective attention span is ever so fleeting, with not only a plethora of competing social media, and millions of websites, but also the hundreds of cable channels being surfed at all times of the day and night.

This doesn’t even take into account those that are listening to podcasts, satellite radio, and the many other new distractions, such as the phenomena of binge television; commonly associated with Netflix.

Trying to get the attention of a population during the season premiere of Walking Dead? The best of luck to you and your rally against pesticides, vaccinations, or whatever the cause.

The current electorate is no longer reading beyond headlines, let alone the newspaper cover to cover. A newspaper is now often only found in the coffee shop. It is unfortunately not on the next generation’s doorstep nor part of their daily to-do list.

Such a distracted population is to be our downfall as the general inattentiveness is up for exploit.

When heads are turned the other way, corruption goes unnoticed and unchecked, democratic freedoms are undermined, constitutional infringement is accepted, human rights are violated and ignored, and even actions once considered crimes are legalized with little to no public scrutiny.

Sure, sure, the old adage arises that you can’t fight city hall.

I disagree.

I would rather fail while living my life by Elie Weisel’s words.

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

So, before you go on spending valuable time on what you call a hater, be at ease, they are at least, in some manner, engaged in the dialogue. Your time is better spent ignoring the hater and waking the dead in your walk, and actually sticking your neck out.

Our predecessors swung swords to stay alive, all we are asking is that you read and pick up a pen.

Thank you for reading to the end. Now go and keep Canada Strong, Proud, and Free.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Email Ian Shalapata