Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Controversy is Essential

When my husband, Kevin attended a political forum recently, he came home frustrated. He turned his thoughts into a post on his blog, Jesus in the Real World, and then a letter to the editor. I thought you may be interested in reading what he had to say:


Last night we had a forum of candidates from both parties for local offices in our community. The opportunity to present questions to the candidates was given, but I didn’t turn one in. Why? Because they said they weren’t going to read any controversial questions.

What’s the matter with controversy? If there were no controversies, there would be no politics at all. Has political correctness gotten so out of hand that we can only bring certain things to the table in an election? There is no such hands-off attitude by politicians after they are elected. Once in government they legislate with regard to every area of our lives and finances, but we are not to probe into the thinking of our candidates before we give them a license to make or enforce laws?

Such meetings are something in the nature of a job interview. Since when was an employer kept back from asking the questions of an applicant pertinent to ascertaining whether the applicant is in synch with what his company was doing? We are electing people, not platforms. Our government officials are doing our business. It is only right that we see if they are qualified to do it the way we want it done. Not only that, but I think it would be a good idea if there would be an open mike at such a meeting where the citizens could express themselves on their thoughts and preferences to the candidates rather than just letting the candidates speak. Government has become too unilateral. It’s time to get it back to being a two way street.

Let us not shy from controversy. Euphemisms destroy perception and never touch reality. The issues don’t ever stop being controversial. We don’t really know what people think if we don’t force the controversy into the open. If a candidate is in the public arena, he or she has, in a sense, a responsibility, as if they had taken an oath, to tell the whole truth about not only their skills and experience, but also about their thinking.

--copyright, Kevin Don Levellie

Do you shy away from controversy? Or do you feel it's needed in this case? What questions would you ask your political candidates?


  1. Your perspective is interesting, Jen. I've never been one who liked the debates or arguments, but politics is becoming more interesting to me. It's difficult to find the truth, sometimes, but it's worth the investigation. It's amazing how something could become exciting after all these years of "not getting it."

  2. I do shy away from controversy, which is why the only political post I hold is library trustee. But he is dead on--if you run for public office, you are accepting the public responsibility to be transparent in things that matter. We do not need anymore stealth politicians.

  3. Kevin - Excellent comments, filled with common sense (something lacking in politics, indicative of their not wanting anything controversial).

    The character of a man/woman is often times best revealed in controversy or problematic situations.

    I once heard a county-level politician say in a speech, "You should trust your politicians more and believe that they are out for your best interests." Not! That turned me off to him immediately and I never supported any of his efforts. Maybe I was wrong, but I feel like if he is going to "serve" the public, he should be open and honest, ready to give and answer. Basing his administration on our trust and not his public accountability smelled of deception.

    Jesus was certainly open and honest. He would be a great model for politicians today to emulate.

    Good post. wb

  4. I would never do well in the political arena, I wouldn't want anyone to argue or disagree with me. I'm too much of a softie. :O)

  5. He's got some great points, Jen. I think they forget that they work for us. I really like the job interview analogy.

    I'd make a terrible politician, though, because I hate having people upset with me, and you really have to have a thick skin for that business!

  6. Rhonda and Diane: I wouldn't be a good politician, either--I'm too agreeable and sensitive to criticism.

  7. What an important post! I try to shy away from most things political but I do vote. I always look for candidates that have values that line up to mine!

  8. Usually no. You can tell by my bold post today, I say what I believe needs to be said. I'm still working on my timing though.
    ~ Wendy

  9. I don't get involved in our Canadian politics very much, although I do vote. I've never heard of censoring questions submitted to a candidate at a public forum. That's atrocious. It promotes an atmosphere of secrecy and dishonesty that mocks the democratic election process. Maybe you two ought to mount a Facebook campaign, starting with the question on the candidate's pages... see if they'll answer it there. It may only have been the forum moderator who was blocking controversial questions, not the candidates themselves.

  10. Hi Jen -

    Bravo, Kevin! I completely agree and strive to stay informed and involved.

    Most people have forgotten this government is by the people and for the people. If the people abdicate their responsibilities, we're in danger of losing our freedoms.

    Susan :)

  11. No controversial questions? Nice work by your husband in calling them on that silly rule. I thought that is what those types of events were for.

    I can play both roles--supportive or controversial. After more than 10 years of marriage, I do know that the Mrs. is a master debater and I better have lots of facts to back up an opinion.

  12. Jeanette:
    Who would have made the call if a question was 'controversial'? When I worked in the federal government, I was told this one annual event was 'mandatory'. My supervisor made the call. The next year I was working in another area of the division and found out that the meeting was NOT mandatory.
    Could it be that 'controversial' is in the eye of the beholder?

  13. I totally agree with you! A little controversy is needed to keep people accountable!

  14. Like Careann I'm Canadian too and have never heard of a forum that disallowed controversial questions. Isn't that what shows the stength of the candidates platform? Well written argument by yor husband.

  15. I am not very confrontational as a rule. Challenge my children or my faith, though, and I can be. :) I aim for a Christ-like balance.

  16. It's so nice to step out of the cave.
    Sigh. On this one, I'm kinda leaning toward Paul's zillion admonitions to keep peace within the Christian fellowship. For everything else, I simply do not have the time right now.

    But I totally understand that God calls different people to different things.

    Blessings to you. Will keep pondering your ???



Oh, it's YOU! I'm so happy to see you here today, and look forward to reading your comments.