The number of wonderfully insightful and funny Canadian comedians attests to this. Intelligent and influential individuals often use humour as the vehicle for investigating current issues. Many of these people have become prominent members of the CBC community but still others take to the web and banter on social networks about complex questions. Such behaviour often walks a fine line between ‘good fun’ and personal/career suicide.
Over the past decade, politics has retreated into the realm of ‘safe rather than sorry’ on the humour front. Unfortunately, this adds to the divide between political parties, citizen knowledge of current affairs and voter participation. The fact is that people like things that make them feel good and in a time when depression is at its highest this has never been more true. What sounds like a contradictory notion is perhaps one of the most important methods of encouraging the attention of Canadian citizens: Make ‘em laugh to make ‘em care.
Reading up on individual party platforms, histories and attitudes is an integral part of voter awareness but so, too, is humour. Comedic jousts bring to light contradictions and hidden insight often overlooked or forgotten in political positions. An active participant in the Canadian parliamentary process should never be completely satisfied with the party they choose to affiliate with. As odd as this sounds it’s very effective at keeping a person fresh on their values. Although a person may have a party with which they generally side, paying attention to the surrounding atmosphere and other party objectives keeps us informed about the directions politics are taking. Parties do not always do what they say they will, so monitoring all of them to varying degrees is the most effective way of keeping their individual agendas in sight.
Political humour highlights the discrepancies, histories and truths of Canadian politics. As citizens we can sit back for a good laugh that also energizes our intellect. Democracy represents the freedom and rights of all people. A right to dignity exists in this framework but also the reality that none of us is without fault. Laughing at ourselves and those around us can be a difficult skill to master but its ability to unite people in a bond of commonality cannot be underestimated.
Politicians will be less afraid of being engaging when the citizens are less inclined to become hostile. Individuals who have been exposed to insights through joy are more likely to participate in the political process. Accepting humour’s role in our lives makes each challenge a bit more manageable and a lot more fun.
Some links to lighten the mood:
CBC's 'This Hour Has 22 Minutes': http://www.cbc.ca/22minutes/
CBC's 'The Debaters': http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thedebaters
SwanParadise’s Canadian Humour: http://www.swanparadise.com/Canadian-Jokes.html