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not yelling at politicians

While sitting in class today, the prof was talking about organised labour, in the corporate hierarchy sense, and it dawned on me that I was once again a member of a union. The good kind that gets you paid better and gets more benefits rather than any other kind. It is in fact the only union of which I have been a member, though this is the second time I have been part of it. It almost makes me hope that the government does something bad so that the union will have a protest day, so that I can join in to pressure them to change their mind.

This idea contradicts something that I said the other day about an EWB (Engineers Without Borders) video that I saw which included the guy who "leads" MakePovertyHistory in Canada. He was yelling at this camera saying something to the effect of Paul Martin you didn't listen when I had 200 people, now I have 20 000 will you listen now. I struck me that yelling at politicians is not really the way to get things done, not even in a democratic society. Things get done by pressure or favours.

For most of us favours aren't really the angle we should pursue in order to get politicians to change something because, well, we don't have the influence: money, popularity or owe-me-one-ness. The pressure tactic is the better bet. This is the case mainly because if your issue is worthy of public discourse then other people will support the idea. (Keeping in mind that others will not support it and may do whatever they can to stop it. These people are generally called conservatives, at least in my world view.)

The most important element to extending your idea is avoiding the common catch, that is having an idea that is too radical. (Not in the 80s way.) Dismissing a good idea because it doesn't do enough is no way to go about things. Many issues have been resolved with small steps that achieved the overall goal, not by a couple large steps.

With small steps you will arrive at your destination, generally by the desired road, but with large steps the destination will be overshot and you will have to backtrack, often on undesirable roads.

I am not really sure why I decided to write this but since it is written already I will leave it. I don't really have anything against conservatives. They can accomplish useful things just like anybody else, but they did saddle us with NAFTA, took away VIA trains from Calgary and another little thing I think we still call it the GST. (Though, that isn't exactly fair because nobody else has reduced or removed the tax, despite promises to do so.)

Song: Watermark - The Weakerthans, My Favorite Chords - The Weakerthans
Book: Freakonomics