Wednesday, October 24, 2012

'A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus'

Quote by: Martin Luther king Jr.
Dave Meslin is a Toronto based artist and organizer involved in a variety of urban projects. I decided to write a post about his 'TED' talk because I felt it was similar to the issue of food and health - the public not being provided with accurate information about health and food labels, as well as the important role that the media plays in affecting our views about what healthy food really is, and how we are discouraged from being involved.

Dave Meslin believes most people don't lack interest or desire for a positive change in the world, but that the system we live in, actively discourages engagement. Our municipal government, for example, whose duty is to provide the public with local services, safety and infrastructure, discourages such behavior by failing to display accurate, visually appealing and clear information when a city project is proposed. It fails to peek the public's interest to engage in the project, by not asking to hear from the public and by providing 'unreadable' public notices - which limits understanding.

The media also plays a major role in our views and involvement towards political change. It discourages public engagement by focusing more attention on celebrities and scandals. In the media, political articles fail to provide any information, such as contact information or follow up stories, that can allow for the people to be politically involved in their community.

In the case of charities, according to the 'Charitable Purpose, Advocacy and the Income Tax Act', Section 149.1, the common law prevents charities from engaging in 'political' activities. 'Judges have reasoned that by engaging in political activity, the charity enters into debate over a policy that may or may not be a public benefit, rather than working towards an accepted public benefit.' This is seen as a serious problem because Dave Meslin feels that the most passionate and informed voices in society will remain silent, especially during election time.

Dave presents circumstances that are backed up by the law, the people and spaces that are around us, and by the way we interact with each other and the government. In order to live in a better community, you have to be actively involved. Heroism/leadership is imperfect and voluntary. It comes from within, following your own dream, uninvited, and working with those who can make your dream a reality. You can check out his TED talk here. Enjoy!

Image taken from nsb.com

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