I’m a graduate student in political science at York University.
And there are times – increasingly more times – that I can’t believe that I study politics.
And I’d like to suggest that this is precisely what Stephen Harper wants.
Personally, I think that it’s kind of telling that someone like me – a student who has, thus far, dedicated six years and more than thirty thousand dollars to actually studying politics – might be getting tired of what I used to find so interesting, and what I might have, at one time, been passionate about.
After all, if someone like me, who was so dedicated to studying politics, might tire of it, then what of everyone else in the country? Everyone out there who hasn’t spent countless hours and dollars studying politics, understanding the vagaries of political systems, wondering what votes might mean?
But, again, I’d like to suggest that this is what Stephen Harper wants. He wants everyone to tire of politics. And he’s well on his way to doing this.
Using a description written by Javier Auyero, when he was studying oligarchic and undemocratic practices in South America, Stephen Harper probably wants us to think of “politics [as] an activity alien to” the people. Harper probably wants us to exist in a scenario where politics “is defined as an action that is foreign to everyday life.”
And in such a situation, Harper wants the Conservative Party to appear beyond politics. He wants you to think of the Conservative Party as an apolitical, beneficent organization, that does good in the world. And that politics is alien, apart, separate from this.
Why would Harper, a politician of all things, want this?
Because politics has become something alien to all of us. And engaging in politics is then something foreign to us. So we won’t engage in politics. But thankfully, the Conservative Party will be there for us, if we need anything… because that’s not political.
In short, Harper is trying to construe politics – the very processes by which we, as a democratic society, ought to have broad discussions on our priorities and how we might live together – as something that we shouldn’t ever want to get involved in, so that he and his Conservative Party have all the control, all the power, and can do whatever they want.
And when I see this happening, I can’t believe that I actually study politics.
Over the past week and a bit, a number of ridiculous political events have taken place that serve to undermine the concept of the political in Canadian discourses.
(continued after the break!)