As you may know (since, in all likelihood, you have stumbled across this post via a link in my Facebook and/or Twitter page, as I don’t have an actual readership), I have not updated in a while. I started up this blog hoping that I would post on a more regular basis of maybe three or four times a week.
I kept up with this for maybe one or two weeks before running out of interesting things to say.
Sure, I had a couple of posts half-started, but the result was never as fun, or as interesting, or even as readable as I had imagined it to be. The first one was commenting on the internet’s ability to turn everyone into coffee and tea snobs, inspired by a friend’s comment that was something along the lines of, “Don’t judge me because I made tea in the microwave.” I thought it was a bit curious that I knew myself that tea is not best made in the microwave, and why it is that now everyone seems to know the “correct” ways of making tea and coffee. But, along the way, I encountered two problems:
- my tea snobbery coincided with my move away from residence, so maybe the correlation is actually just from my level of trashiness in general; and
- everyone already knows that it’s easy to find information on the internet, and you probably don’t want to read a post that probably could have been written in the late ’90s by someone who still uses the phrase “cyberspace.”
I also started a post called “Dichotomies are tearing us apart, Lisa,” in which I bemoaned the slow descent into black-and-white thinking that seems to be pervading public discourse. The whole thing became preachy very quickly, and mercifully I abandoned that one as well. I think all three of us can breathe a sigh of relief that it never saw the light of day (although I still maintain that politics and media should respect the intelligence of their audience and allow them to think a bit for themselves, and the audience should likewise stop being lazy and do some critical thinking from time to time).
Anyway, as a result, this blog, along with my drive to actually write anything in it, has stagnated for a bit until I could come up with something to motivate me. And, lo and behold, the federal election came.
So, truth be told, I have good reason to be disenfranchised with our political system. For starters, I grew up as a lefty in Toryland under the watch of Ralph Klein, who, when he isn’t getting drunk and throwing money at homeless people, throws books at 17-year-old girls.
Right now, I live under a federal government with a disdain for the “Toronto elite,” which I can’t actually figure out a meaning for.
The dropping of said monocles was accompanied by a hearty, "Well, I never!"
Presumably, elite means someone who is either educated or has money, but does not support the Conservative Party of Canada. This would surprisingly include myself, made even more shocking by the 50-ish dollars I had in taxable income in 2010. Being an elite isn’t as cracked up as it might seem.
And, finally, Toronto has now earned the unfortunate moniker of “Ford Country” thanks to our current mayor, Rob Ford.
I totally live right by that yellow dot.
I know it has been said many times, but I still have to iterate that I find Ford to be highly embarrassing. He shares our federal government’s taste for media evasion, and while he used to fly off the cuff in council:
he has at least toned down since he was elected mayor, but sadly, the crazy tirades have just been replaced with bizarre talking points.
I could go on about Ford since the material is readily available, but it’s been done to death, so I’ll leave it at that. My main point is that for the majority of my life, I have lived under governments that, if not outright grinding my political views into the ground with their heel, are at least on the opposing side of the political spectrum. I have good reason to feel defeated, because in all of these cases I have discussed, the political right has fairly won the election and the left was defeated. Fair enough. It would be easy to tune out of politics, dismissing it as a bunch of talking heads who don’t speak to my interests. And if the “shut up and stop whining” call of the right is to be heeded (in the words of the lovely Sue-Ann Levy, “Read my lips you ‘left-wing kooks’: You lost. Get over it“), this is exactly what I should do.
However, I don’t particularly like taking the easy way. While I have never been actively involved in politics in that I haven’t ever run for any office, nor have I gotten involved in any campaigns (although I am a member of the Green Party of Canada, just not a very active one), I think being on the opposing side of the current government is the best time to be engaged. Rather than blindly accepting the actions of “your side,” you are forced to figure out what exactly you find distasteful about the policies of your government, and what you think the ideal alternative should be. I find that I am more interested in following politics when someone I despise is in power, and that interest carries over to when someone I like is in power. It’s taught me to be a good critical thinker when it comes to government regardless of the idea. And besides, it isn’t like Sue-Ann Levy just piped down and shut up when David Miller was mayor of Toronto, as she continually bemoaned the state of politics using the unfortunately trite nickname of “Socialist Silly Hall” for city hall during the time.
I thought there was too much text here, so I needed a photo to break things up but couldn't come up with anything relevant. So, you get a grapefruit again.
And so, with that spirit in mind, I am totally excited for a federal election (May 2!), and will be following it with a good deal of interest. I decided it would be fun to write about it, rather than just mutter under my breath like I usually do. If you are not particularly interested in the election, I am hoping to be posting regularly with my thoughts, and perhaps you can follow that way. I’ll try to keep it amusing and look at each party with a fair critical eye, as despite being a member of one of the federal parties, I still consider my vote up for grabs.
Although, I admit that I have a strong bias against the Conservatives, because as much as I have tried, I can’t really offer any respect for Stephen Harper. He isn’t as bad as I thought he might be, granted, but I get the feeling that despite all the responsible government crap he spouts, he really doesn’t actually like our democracy and would be happier as a dictator. This is a politician (originally I put “man” instead of “politician,” but I judging from what little I have seen about the guy’s family, he doesn’t seem like he is as big of an asshole in person as he is in the House of Commons) who sees absolutely nothing even remotely humourous about peace, love, and understanding.
I will give him one thing: he has some impeccable hair.
First up for discussion, in all likelihood, will be the coalition fear-mongering tactics, in what seems to be the first of what will probably be many strategies by the Conservatives to campaign by deriding the other parties rather than discussing actual ideas or platforms. What fun! My secret hope is that the professorial part of Michael Ignatieff will ignore that and treat Canadians as intelligent, sentient beings like they actually are.
In the meantime, you can go try a fun little tool that CBC is putting out: the Vote Compass. Mine looks not surprisingly like this (although I did it yesterday and ended up right directly in between the NDP and the Greens, and I’m not sure what changed):
Anyway, stay tuned for more of what will, hopefully, not be a soul-destroying excercise.