Covid Journal, May 24, 2021
The Death of Populism?
Stephen Harper used to chirp on about how populism is here to stay.
He’s been pretty quiet these days.
Possibly because populism is an experiment that opportunistic and cynical politicians organized on the backs of the unemployed and people who are scared for their livelihoods.
‘Populism’ comes from ‘grass-roots’ me-first sentiments, born from Ayn Rand and libertarians.
At least, that’s the marekting side of things.
Populist voters tend to be the core support group for right-wing governments around the world. They tend to shun change and progressive attitudes. They are defiant and find fault in most things related to politics while failing to offer genuine solutions.
It’s hard for populists to think of the ‘greater good’. Or SCIENCE.
Unfortunately, when we look at the responses that various governments have had, the populist governments exhibit the greatest failure and defeat, particularly with respect to the pandemic and other issues like mental illness and caring for, well, anyone but themselves and their donors.
- US (under Trump)
For a while, it seemed like populism was the domain of xenophobic and racist North Americans, what with Make America Great Again (MAGA) and derivatives that are possibly more deadly than Covid variants. Populist voters were white, middle-aged (although growing older and greyer), traditional religious.
But populism spread to countries like Brazil and India.
Ultimately, we’re seeing that populists are incapable of responding to a pandemic without finding someone else to blame in the process.
Take Brian Pallister, premier of Manitoba. Just a few weeks ago, Manitobans were defiantly opposing any sanctions on their movements.
Now, Manitoba is in desparate need of repair, but even while the province is suffering, with thousands of cases and many dying from Covid, Pallister still has the audacity to pick away at the federal government, a conveniently ‘non-populist’ government. All the while, Manitoba still does NOT have a ‘stay at home’ order to help minimize spread.
I can only hope that Covid is the unfortunate – but necessary – wake-up call for those who believe that they’re more important than the rest of us.
They can’t abide by the ‘we’re all in this together’, although the expression is somewhat tired now because we’ve seen more wealth transfered to a handful of people in the last year than we’ve seen in decades. But that’s a topic for another day …