Monday, December 24, 2012

Provincial politics should be more like pro wrestling

My opening commentary from the November 23, 2012 edition of Maritime Morning on News95.7 radio in Halifax:

Provincial politics needs to be more like professional wrestling. I’ll explain.

Joe E Legend pulls on the face of The Rogue at Ring N Ears at Toronto's Opera House.
New Democrat politician Joe E Legend
debates nasal-adjustment rhetoric
with Progressive Conservative
member The Rogue.
Everyone should know by now that professional wrestling is not a bona fide competition.

Athletes play roles, playing to the audience’s passions in an exhibition of exaggerated physicality simulating combat on a stage with ropes. What appears to be a brutal, angry, violent airing of personal grievances is actually a cooperative effort. The wrestlers work together to put on a good show, and take care of each other so they can keep working, night after night.

And of course, it’s all surrounded by interviews … under the lights and in front of the cameras, they forward their storylines with trash talk. The good guys pledge to do their best and play fair, the bad guys are convinced of their goals but will do whatever it takes, even if it means bending the rules.

Now, compare that to provincial politics. The participants are not as sweaty and muscular -- for the most part -- but they do their own theatrics in front of the cameras on their way into the arena, the legislature, where they act out combat in question period, shouting and gesturing and deriding their opponents.

The problem is, it seems to be less and less about show.

The premier was asked about it yesterday at province house. He said he used to take this approach: there were three categories -- things we agreed on and should try to get done, things we didn't agree on but we could work on, and then there were things we were going to disagree on. The things that we disagreed on were things that were going to be the substance of the election to come, but the House was the place to get things done that could get done and work on things that it was possible to get done.

In other words, the fighting was for show, except on things that were election issues.

But now there seems to have been a change. When’s the last time you felt like your provincial politicians were working together on anything? Doesn’t it feel like they’re fighting all the time?

It feels more and more like real nastiness, and it’s tough to imagine some of these elected combatants driving to the next town in the same car as profesional wrestlers would.

Perhaps our leaders could take some lessons from The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin about how to have an exciting fight while cooperating.

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