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What are the reasons for disinterest in the political system?

I am from Canada, and I am finding that more and more people seem to be losing interest in politics. Some say "no party represents them well enough". Others say "leaders will break their promises anyways, so why bother?". It it true that politicians have less integrity now, than in the past? Is it that we see their lives more transparently now, and are able to voice our opinions, so they cannot keep up a perfect facade? Or possibly other reasons?

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    Jul 5 2011: I feel that one of the reasons why people feel disinterested in Politics is because they have nothing to watch. The way that the workings of government are shared with the people are overly complex out of a desire to hide the real actions of the politicians.

    I feel that a politician should have to be a figure who is open to intense public scrutiny but in reality most of the real decision making is done behind closed doors and involves details which we as citizens aren't allowed to know.

    What's the government doing that requires so much secrecy?
    • Jul 13 2011: In particular, the secrecy surrounding lobbyists and their power over political figures is what really troubles me, so, amen to that, Kevin. With so much opacity, there's a real desire to question whether or not the public can ever really know how our political system works--we know how it should, we all studied our countries' constitutions in school, but we're not taught about the lobbying, the graft, the "aristocracy of pull," as Ayn Rand put it.

      As to the public scrutiny, it looks like too often, such scrutiny focuses not on politicians' professional conduct, but on their personal lives. Look at Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner--we love scandals, especially ones with gory details. Sometimes organizations like PolitiFact check out how they change stances on issues, or reporters might run an expose on their corporate ties, but far more often such intense public scrutiny is media-driven, and therefore responsible only to the amount of ratings to be garnered.

      The one area where I can see a reasonable excuse for government secrecy is in military operations, but even then, there has to be a limit. The raid that recently "neutralized" (euphemisms, euphemisms) Osama Bin Laden certainly had to have an element of secrecy to it. Operations in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, etc? Not so much. Should military operations be completely transparently released after the fact? I don't have any idea where to draw the line, really. Thoughts?
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        Jul 13 2011: It's a quite undefended viewpoint for me to hold but I'm of the opinion that being a politician should require open access to the information used to make major decisions. If you represent the people you should be fully transparent in your actions. I'm not saying all your text messages and e-mail accounts should have no passwords but any change of opinion should be based on a reasonable, defend-able and openly accessible (read recorded and published) set of meetings with openly available agendas and key points.
        If you want people to be interested in politics you must allow them to learn the deep workings of politics.

        In reference to military operations I tend to agree. Putting a military stamp on an operation could be used to hide any number of activities but if they must be fully disclosed once the operation has been halted/completed then it gives disincentive to do things that would damage your reputation once it gets released. . . The problem is does that not mean you allow 'history is written by the victor' to be the standard policy? Another aspect though of note is that we don't vote in our military leaders. They fight to the top. In every country it's obviously different -- but who has more control over the vast amounts of money put in the hands of world militarys the democratic leaders, or the military leaders?
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        Jul 13 2011: Also, although I'm not an american citizen I found this in another ted Conversation. http://www.whitehouse.gov/open
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    Jul 15 2011: "rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness... give me truth" i think somes up the reason why. politicians can trump up there "love" for community, or the integrity of there faith, but most cannot not deliver, or accept, the truth.
  • Jul 15 2011: The non stop lies.

  • Jul 5 2011: It also depends on the voting system.

    Any type of non-proportional voting system will disenfranchise large numbers of people. In the UK, there are constituencies where it is virtually pointless to vote if you do not support the party that has won since WW2. Add to this that the ruling party can change the constituency boundaries (usually to suit them), and vast numbers of people can't change anything. Only a few floating voters in a few marginal constituencies will actually have an effect on the end result.
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    Jun 30 2011: I think no one single party or politician can please all people.sometime it has to do with the role they play instead of person .
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      Jul 1 2011: true. It would be great if parties at least tried to please someone though. Parties really should have specific objectives for being, instead of of just existing to gain more power. One in power parties would have to deal with issues outside their focus but, at least how they dealt with an issues would not be a mystery to the voters. For instance if you elect a green candidate they will have to deal with a labor issues. They are going to deal with it from an environmental point of view. You may like this and continue voting or not like this and vote for a party that is more centered on labor issues. Either way there is no surprise.
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    Jun 29 2011: Culture for the most part is progressing faster than politics. When ever a politician speaks he/she has to appeal to as many people as possible to get elected. This is counter to how cultural innovation work, where you only have to appeal to people who are open to change the most, and they will spread the new meme till it hits a tipping point. Politics will always follows culture, but it is a shame that the young do not follow politics as much as they should because it is a great bad politics can drag a healthy culture down.
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    Jun 29 2011: The lies.

    The fact that democracy is a nice ideal bandied around but in reality is a more than a bit of a joke. Feeling, as a voter, powerless because of this.

    Lack of visionaries in office - just box-tickers moving in the same old ruts.

    A system of opposing parties to me is ludicrous is this day and age.

    Politics (including local body councils) no longer seem to serve the people. It feels very much to me like it has become the other way around.

    Most people with integrity or a genuine desire to better their community aren't attracted to politics because these days, all the problems stem from the bureaucracy. Numbers, stats and averages are meaningless to individuals and belong to a tired and obsolete age.
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    Jun 29 2011: Steve, lack of inspiration in our hearts and minds, pre-occupation with personal or national problems, lacking reasons to trust and hope and lacking awareness of our power to transform our world, among many other reasons.

    Steve, the web is one of the key solution to strengthen our political systems. We simply equate the trust that we give to our leaders with the power of digital information and social network system to expound the principles of accountability and transparency. http://bit.ly/SolutionStrategies