The terms “left” and “right” date back to the French Revolution. Their meanings evolved over time, with those who held more socialist ideals being called economically left-wing, and those who supported free-market capitalism being called right-wing.
Today, while there are still disagreements on many issues, one sees a great deal of unity on many important issues between the so-called left and right. If we look at the corporate and billionaire-sponsored media, however, this reality is clouded over.
In fact, we’re told that the two sides are deeply entrenched and that they hate each other.
This may be the case among well-paid media pundits, but is it true for ordinary citizens? I, for one, thoroughly enjoy listening to and learning from people with diverse views. While our politicians verbally assault one another in the House of Commons and in the media, all the while taking “donations” from the corporate class, ordinary Canadians are having productive discussions.
While major political parties, especially the Liberals, find ways to drain public coffers to give lucrative deals to international corporations promising to deliver green energy, people with socialist views say, “Shouldn’t that money go to ordinary Canadians?”
People who support a free-market economy question why small business owners like truck drivers and farmers are paying a carbon tax.
Ordinary Canadians of all stripes are pointing out that this not only increases the cost of food, but corporate food vendors are also using it as an excuse to disproportionately raise their prices.
The truth is, Canada developed a strong and prosperous middle class because in the past, our socialist-leaning leaders and those who supported a free-market economy had the kinds of discussions ordinary Canadians like to have, and they found ways to blend their ideas for the good of everyone. We also had a public broadcaster that facilitated reasonable discussions among diverse groups of people.
Today, we have a divisive parliament and a corporate-funded media creating a ruse of discord, and nothing is getting done to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.
We are seeing our real wages shrink so much that many Canadians cannot even afford to own their own homes.
We are paying higher and higher interest rates to big banks, and small businesses are being pushed out of their markets by corporate giants.
On the international scene, only the Green Party questions the blank cheque we have given to NATO to support a forever war in Ukraine. In the United States, interestingly, the MAGA Republicans and the Social Democrats are both calling for a negotiated settlement. The bulk of the American government, the Corporate Republicans and Corporate Democrats, blindly support the military-industrial complex and continued death and destruction in Ukraine.
When one ventures away from the billionaire-sponsored media, however, it is surprising how reasonable the discussions become.
While CNN host Anderson Cooper continually interrupts American Green Party presidential candidate Cornel West and accuses him of supporting Vladimir Putin, West has a conversation with Russell Brand where both share their idealism and hopes for a better world. While unsubstantiated accusations are made against Democratic presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy Jr. on CNN and MSNBC, he is able to fully articulate his views when speaking with both left and right-leaning interviewers elsewhere in the media.
The world is filled with good people who are looking for moral consistency. For us, left and right may reflect some of our opinions, but they do not define us as human beings.
It is a good thing that we are questioning the messages fed to us by those who want to divide and distract us, and it is good that we are challenging the “cancel culture” of extremist interest groups. Perhaps we are finally realizing the dream of a free flow of information on the internet.
Ordinary people are having real conversations, embracing the opportunity for legitimate online dialogue, and nothing could be healthier for our democracy.
Gerry Chidiac is a Prince George writer.