The Colours of Politics (or My Orange Tie)

The Colours of Politics (or My Orange Tie)

Politics has become increasingly more partisan over the last decade.  There used to be a time when members of opposing parties could get together for a drink or two to share ideas and debate the issues of the day.  They might not always agree and often heated but friendly discussion would come from these disagreements.  Oh yes, the theatre of Question Period required them to make animated speeches and blustering attacks on their opposition, but at the end of the day they knew they were all in the same boat, elected politicians there to serve the constituents that elected them.

Sadly, those days are gone.  The bickering and sniping continues long after the theatre of Parliament has closed.  Elected officials no longer get together with members of opposing parties to see what they could accomplish together.  They rarely are seen with members of opposing parties and in some cases it is greatly frowned upon to be seen in the company of an opposition member.  The divisions and partisan games have spread beyond the House of Commons and invade the simplest of everyday interactions.

Perhaps one of the saddest examples of this is related by an experience I had recently while working for a federal cabinet minister in Ottawa.  I have this really funky orange checked tie that I like to wear to add colour and cheer to the dark blue suit world of politics.  I wear it often.  Whenever I wear this tie though, I am grilled and lambasted by my colleagues as to why I am wearing an NDP tie.  You see, orange is the colour used by the New Democratic Party, Canada’s left-leaning party.  The very fact that as a Conservative I would be caught wearing “an NDP tie” was ghastly.  “How dare you wear that NDP tie?”

Folks, it’s an orange tie!  That’s it.  I like the colour orange, nothing more, nothing less.  It’s not a political statement or a display of turning allegiance.  It’s an orange tie!

The hyper-partisan atmosphere has approached ridiculous new levels.  Colours are now statements and how dare you deviate from anything but your team’s colours?

Really though, colours are just that, colours; and people are just that, people.  We need to get back to a time where politicians are seen for their ideas, views and contributions.  In order to truly serve all the people of our country there is a need to pay less attention to the colours we wear and more attention to the ideas and discussions we put forward.

I am going to continue to wear my orange tie and I am going to continue to hear people out regardless of the colour they are wearing.  I am sure everyone will be better off for it.

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