October 20, 2019

BLUE ON BLUE UP NORTH: Justin Trudeau Exploited the Culture of the ‘Woke.’ “A former member of the prime minister’s foreign-policy staff encourages Canadian progressives to consider other candidates.”

Holding Trudeau up as a progressive paragon, Marche then lays down the pragmatist’s verdict: “Canadian progressives, like progressives all over the world, must decide whether they care more about the pursuit of social and cultural change, through the eradication of racist and sexist imagery, or the pursuit of transformative policies.” Notice the false dichotomy presented here as inevitability. Framing the progressive dilemma as a choice between “style” (wokeness) and “substance” (policy) is too simplistic. An officeholder’s style—in my opinion, their character, judgment, reasons for seeking power, and the story they tell and persuade you to believe in—is a perfectly legitimate area for investigation and critique. And if anyone benefited from and exploited the culture of the “woke,” it was Trudeau himself.

Voters were drawn to Trudeau in the first place because of his style as well as his substance. It is a mark of deep lament that Trudeau bears the distinction of getting so many young people excited about politics for the first time and then disappointing them within a single term. “I wasn’t cynical before Trudeau,” a Palestinian Canadian friend remarked to me last month. He was resigned, not even angry. It is a sentiment that could be echoed by many people in the vital suburbs outside Toronto where the upcoming election will be decided.

A little cynicism towards politics, politicians, and government itself is a healthy outlook, so by that measure Trudeau did wonders to improve the health of his fellow Canadians.

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