Municipalities are making increased use of social media to facilitate communications with their citizens, a trend widely endorsed – including in an earlier blog at this site. The benefits of modern technology are beyond dispute, especially in connecting with the younger generation, which has grown up on the Internet. For those of us of a certain age, however, there was something to be said for the up close and personal contact that used to arise when citizens visited their local municipal office. The example that follows describes a scene that I witnessed over 40 years ago.
I am old enough to remember well the barren wasteland that was the Liquor Store of Ontario some half century ago. Not a single bottle of alcohol was anywhere to be seen. You entered to face a wall which featured a few openings where clerks were available. You first wrote out the specifics of your order and handed it in to one of these clerks. Back through the opening came your purchase, fully concealed inside brown paper bags. The whole process seemed predicated on the notion that the mere sight of alcohol might inflame the populace, tipping them over the edge and sending them out in the streets to commit God knows what manner of civic unrest, or worse!
The results of the Super Tuesday primaries on March 1 reinforce the apparent inevitability of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for President of the United States. Those appalled by this prospect grasp at possible explanations for this unwelcome phenomenon. Some take refuge in the notion that Trump’s popularity simply demonstrates the risk to democracy of uneducated and ill-informed voters. Others see this as the culture of celebrity taken to a bizarre extreme. But there are other, more substantive, factors behind the rise of Trump.
C. Richard Tindal, Ph.D is a retired Professor of Government. He taught for 30 years at St. Lawrence College, Kingston and was an occasional Visiting Professor at Queen's University. He has also written and consulted extensively about government.