Contrary to Martin Macdonald’s recent letter I do not agree that Marc Kitteringham’s “Democracy v. Individualism” is a diatribe. It is neither an abusive piece of writing nor is it satirical.
Kitteringham’s piece is a plea to the public, cautioning against the democracy-eroding power of individualistic behaviour. People need to take responsibility, work together, and protect our community and in doing so we will be striving to uphold democratic values.
Conversely, Macdonald’s letter argues that people are losing faith in democracy and that individualistic behaviour (i.e the Ottawa Truckers/Freedom Convoy) is necessary in order to rail against a government that has gotten too unwieldy, and too detached from reality to function effectively. His piece is less about the erosion of democratic values and more about his distaste for the supposed unlawful actions of Prime Minister Trudeau made evident by a wholly inaccurate conflation of Trudeau with a “certain lederhosen wearer from a few years back.” In Macdonald’s opinion, Trudeau has broken the law by enforcing a border restriction on unvaccinated truckers, and is therefore in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
People may be losing faith in democracy, the government, and our prime minister given the last few years of pandemic-related-mandate yo-yoing but perhaps a more effective way to communicate this dissatisfaction is through our electoral system or writing to your MLA/MP. Free and fair elections are an important yet, seemingly, forgotten component of a functioning democracy. Perhaps, the Ottawa Truckers and other similarly-minded folks would benefit from reading Kitteringham’s column and thinking critically about what taking responsibility, working together, and protecting a community actually means.
I am frustrated with those who say our freedoms are being taken away and I am frustrated by those who Google, and proclaim themselves to have “Researched.” I am frustrated that the Freedom Convoy has become a perfect example of how authoritarianism can creep in. No one is presenting a legitimate, factually-grounded opposition that does not involve or have any adjacency to hate-symbols, white supremacy, or right-wing fundamentalism.
Perhaps that is why we “fear accountability and self-responsibility,” as Macdonald writes. One third of the population makes it look pretty scary.