This evening, my friends, as your faithful correspondent, I met an idealist of the rarest sort: a political idealist. He is thoughtful, and as near as I can tell, sincere. In politics, if you can fake that, you’re in.
It is obvious that the Atlantica Party website doesn’t do their position justice. Yes, they are advocating political union of the four Atlantic provinces, but that isn’t their only position, contrary to the impression I came away with after seeing the television interview with the leader of the party, Jonathan Dean. They also advocate a system of proportional representation which would ensure that the democratic ideal of ‘every vote counts’ actually meant something. Related to this is the idea that citizens could actually feel engaged in the political system again by directly influencing government policy, a position that certainly doesn’t work too well now. This party has ideas, and energy, and they are being met thus far with a rousing wave of…
Which is a shame, really. It’s obvious that the idea of proportional representation alone would ensure real citizen involvement in the political process. That in itself would go a long way to combating the unfortunate sense of hopelessness that lies at the center of the Atlantica Party’s philosophy.
I’m not sure whether the reforms that are being proposed can ever realistically come to pass, and I’m not entirely convinced that some of the ideas in the party platform are as practical as they seem on the surface…but I can tell you this, as your humble correspondent: I walked away from the meeting (sadly, not well attended – I was 1/3 of the people in the room, including Mr. Dean) thinking about what I’d heard. Actually thinking about the political ideas presented in that room, because they had obviously been thought about and considered. It’s been a long time since I walked away from any political context without a sense of frustration, so something has been accomplished. This idea is not nearly so half-assed as it may seem. There’s something here worth thinking about, even if that’s as far as it gets.
Even if it’s just an idea that makes us stop taking our democracy for granted, that idea is worth considering. Because it’s an actual idea. About how to make things better and to engage citizens in their own governance. I may not be a ‘convert’ to the cause, as I remain skeptical on some points, but at least it kicked my brain into gear. That’s something.