Thursday, February 04, 2016
Justin Trudeau and the Politics of Empathy
I thought Justin Trudeau's question and answer session with ten so-called ordinary Canadians the other night on the CBC, was a pretty decent little TV show.
Another pleasant sign that our country is starting to look like Canada again, after the muzzled darkness of the Harper years.
And I certainly didn't think that it would offend anybody.
But then I hadn't counted on the Con media, or the outrage of Tasha Kheirridin.
Who was so offended she's calling Trudeau Prime Minister Oprah.
The entire exercise was not designed to provide any answers to anything, or anyone, but to show that the government, in the form of Trudeau, is listening to people. It represented the Oprah-fication of Ottawa. It was a wholly gratuitous exercise, at public expense, both of the PM’s time and the CBC’s resources. Which, I realized, was what had actually made me so furious.
After listening to hundreds of thousands of people for 13 weeks on the campaign trail, why did Trudeau, barely three months into his job, have to sit down with 10 more? Do people really think he doesn’t know what’s going on out there?
And all I can conclude after reading Kheirridin's impassioned rant is that either the shock of Trudeau's victory has shocked her to her Con core, and she's losing her mind.
Or more likely, like so many others in the MSM, she just doesn't get it. Doesn't understand the new politics, or the politics of a new generation.
Or doesn't understand what Jeff Sallot calls the politics of empathy.
So you thought the election campaign ended last October? Think again. Justin Trudeau, with the backing of the CBC, marches his media-savvy Sunny Ways campaign onward through these bleak days of winter.
Because although Sallot drenches his article piece with the kind of cynicism that is so characteristic of our MSM, and so many others in this country.
Being ordinary Canadians they were, of course, far too polite and failed to pry loose even the smallest nugget of news. Professional interviewers like Rosemary Barton or Terry Milewski would have done better.
But hey, news wasn’t the point — certainly not for the CBC. I’m not sure anyone at the public broadcaster had a clear idea of what this program was supposed to be about (other than the need to make nice with a new government that’s promised to restore the broadcaster’s funding).
Who think they are being smart and witty, when in fact they are just wailing the song of the walking dead...
And although Sallot makes the same mistake in assuming that we would rather listen to the questions of the Con media, rather than the questions of ordinary citizens like me and you.
And doesn't understand that Trudeau is simply reflecting the ways of a new generation, because it really is 2016.
At least he recognizes that his empathy seems genuine, understands that in hard times a little empathy can go a long way, and help build up public support for the many challenges he faces.
And that the one they said was not ready, is already quite a formidable politician who understands among other things that a campaign is never over.
On a cold winter night eight years ago in Iowa, Barack Obama promised American voters change and offered them hope. But after he won, he squandered his political capital by refusing to use the bully pulpit of the Oval Office to go over the heads of political opponents and sell his policies directly to voters. He made the mistake of thinking the campaign was over when the polls closed.
Trudeau seems determined to avoid that mistake. He seems to understand that effective leadership means getting up every morning and pitching the message, day after day.
A politician who can make even a seasoned reporter like David Akin look like a fool.
By making him think he had been pressured into pumping gas like Rona, only to leave Akin holding the hose.
And one who understands only too well that he is at war with the Cons, the Con media, and powerful interests in this country who are seeking to destroy him by whatever means necessary.
Which is why I like this picture so much...
Because although he is already being attacked after only three months in office like no other Prime Minister before him.
And although it is still too early to try to predict what might happen. Or whether he will survive the onslaught from those on the right, and sadly some on the left.
I suspect that those who underestimate Justin Trudeau, as so many have before.
Will end up disappointed.
Or live to regret it...
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