Green and growing

My story about being a Green politician in Canada, and why it was the best thing I ever did.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

How to tell is a poitician is lying to you

I post this, in part, because I heard a great joke.

Q: How can you tell that a politician is lying to you?
A: Their lips are moving.

I hope it is not so bad as that. In my travels, I have learned a few things. First of all, the eyes are the window to the soul. I often get a strong sense of who a person is from their eyes. If someone doesn't look at you when they are talking, it sets off a little alarm in my mind.

Politicians have some special ways of trying to convince people to support them. Three of these are often used together, and are sometimes referred to as a F.U.D. attack. The three elements are Fear, Uncertainty and Deception. The way it is done is to create some real or imagined fear within the audience that something might happen, then emphasize the uncertainty of the future to expand the fear and then use deception to suggest that the best way to seek relief from this fear is to support the politician.

This approach has been used over and over again in Canadian politics. Here is a good example in only four words: "Not worth the risk". This simple phrase raises the fear of risk and uncertainty, and concludes with an opinion stated as fact.

Here is another example. If there is economic uncertainty in a region, you might raise the fear of possible future job loss, and then suggest that your solution is the only bright future. Trust me, you say.

I tell you about this in the hope that you will evaluate the messages you see in this campaign and beyond. I don't believe in this kind of manipulation. I believe in showing Canadians the Green Vision for the future of Canada, and helping them to understand what that means. I believe in being honest in identifying and evaluating our current situation, and likewise for the government policies that have gotten us to where we are now. I believe that if something if broken, it should be fixed. Even if it is a big problem, like global climate change, we must begin to maturely face the information available to us, and begin to implement incremental solutions. As the Chinese proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


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