When confronting things that challenge me I often turn to song because the words flow out pretty quickly when I latch on to an idea. Put on your headphones, turn up the bass!
Lyrics also help to keep things compact, useless words get dumped to meet a rhythmic need. Syncopation is everything. So, without further delay, here is my song for this week. 20 minutes to write it, one topic. I asked my friend Brian Knox McGugan to come over to my micro studio and play bass. He’s a really great bass player and it was a great pleasure to have him on this. McGoog, I still owe you a sandwich.
Meanwhile, in Canada…
I have been going on about American politics in these last couple of blogs because, well, some things just can’t be avoided. The Dumptard dominates the news cycle no matter how much I try to adjust my algorithm by searching for pictures of cats and sour mash recipes. The behaviour that takes place in the American political arena often goes on to be emulated in other nations. It’s been going on for decades, but this recent shit show, which started with Brexit, is now trying to make a guest appearance in France, Germany and Holland, and a few other countries like some sort of idiocratic infection. Is this the zombie apocalypse?!
Even here in polite, easy going Canada we have people who are eager to cash in on the new fear of chaos craze. I don’t mention their names because I choose not to give them and their ideas any publicity what so ever. It’s as if some stranger is standing in the middle of the street, yelling, “Let’s replace one group of rich liars with another, different, group of rich liars because the first batch of liars can’t be trusted to lie correctly anymore”. And the crowd is going “what? Yea? Yeah!”. People on that side if things believe it to be a working class revolution, but I think it is just a transition of power from the political class to the financial class, if there even is a difference beyond the lack of manners the latter seems to celebrate jubilantly.
Which brings me to the recent actions of our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to whom I would speak directly should he ever read my blog. I have been a big fan of Justin because, in the beginning days, he made good on a lot of the things he promised. I’m a Dad, so I wanted to believe. His behaviour filled me with hope and joy that my kid would have a chance at growing up in a tolerant and responsible Canada that celebrates it’s diversity. Many good things happened in the wake of the election, the most relevant of which was his promise to bring 25, 000 Syrian refugees to our shores before a specified date. He missed the date, but still managed to get that, and many other seemingly cosmetic things, done swiftly. There were great photo ops of him greeting the refugees at the airport and we cheered him on. They were great days because we all felt that our national identity as a peaceful and loving nation had been rebooted after the decimation wrought by Sinister Stephen The Dark. But there is always a huge difference between the small short term stuff and the big long term stuff. Justin is tripping over the big stuff.
First Past the Post
Justin decided, last week, to say no to electoral reform even though it was central to his being elected. Here is a video from last October of him declaring he will end first-past-the-post over and over again during the election cycle. The thing to observe is how sincere he sounds and how nice his clothing is. All very convincing. However, despite the media image, sometimes Justin’s speaking ability sounds a little stilted and rehearsed, as if coached. When juxtaposed to his current position, he just sounds like a big fat liar, albeit a nicely groomed one who is getting better at convincing people that his pants aren’t actually on fire.
Yes, we all hated the Mad King Harper and wanted him gone, so Trudeau could have said almost anything and gotten elected. As Canadians we had a mission to dethrone a destructive despot, have decency reinstalled as our central virtue and unity as our collective objective. Even though I am an NDP supporter, I gave Justin my vote, strategically, along with many of my fellow Canadians, so that he and The Libersls could put an end to The Harper Scorched Earth Regime.
But, for most of us, who are to Liberals, electoral reform was top of the list and I believe we have consensus here, on this. Electoral reform was the most important promise because it was about changing the system that allowed our previous tinpot dictator to stay in power for so long, repeatedly proroguing parliament with a minority of votes and wrecking our country like some spoiled child. Ejecting Harper, his cronyism and the system that put him in power remains at the top of our countries priorities. The challenge is that, now Justin is in power, he seems bent on taking up the same dishonest position as Harper in order to hold onto power. Don’t they all? Have we been here before? Duh?!
What is Leadership?
My question will always be; is this the kind of leadership our children should be exposed to? Is it, in fact, a statement by the current government that lying to get what you want is okay? The American Trumpocaplyse is a direct result of people being fed up with the limited selection of creatures crawling out of their two party swamp. The election of the Dumpomaniac has exposed the core of America’s soul. That lying is not only necessary, but expected. The ongoing cries of disgust and protest seem to me to be ill founded when it is, and always has been, in America’s nature to lie and deceive.
As Canadians, we have constantly suffered from the cultural onslaught created by “American Exceptionalism”. When I was a kid, American television programming was so successful that when I was 16 years old, I once asked my Dad when Canada would finally become one of the United States. Only when I was 20 did I begin to understand how manipulated I had been. It has been said that whatever happens in America happens in Canada 10 years later. The same is true of Australia, although it takes longer there, probably because of the heat. I’m not interested in following America on its current path. People are getting hurt and having their rights taken away. Whatever it is that they have incubated down there is not, in any way Canadian, and should be kept contained.
Justin has argued briefly, in this video, as to why he is now against pursing Proportional Representation (PR), every Canadian’s preferred system. He went into it more in-depth here when speaking at a town hall in Yellowknife earlier today, but I remain unconvinced.
He speaks of a three party system being the strongest way to represent individual Canadian voices, but his reasoning doesn’t make sense to me. It would suggest that you must join one of the three parties even if none of the parties offer policies that you can get behind or disagree with, like the ongoing violation of indigenous land rights. He says this system allows our individual voices to be heard, but as long as oil and the private interests of millionaires continue to dominate our political system, those of us who have reached real consensus about how our country should be governed will NOT be heard.
Canada has 18 registered political parties. I favour the idea of rule by coalition governments because those kinds of governments, made up of smaller groups of people, MUST cooperate in order to advance. There is a simple truth that Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Once in power, people like to stay in power and then they begin to make it harder for the people they serve to remove them from power. 21 of 28 countries in Western Europe use Proportional Representation, including Germany, which, last i looked, was the most powerful nation in Europe with the most prosperous economy. There is no reason to be afraid of this transition, it has been proven to work. And they have accepted over a million refugees. If anything PR brings us closer to unity because so many of our allies use it. The only reasons to deny it would be opportunistic.
Confront Anxiety, Deal With Root Causes
Finally, like all politicians, Justin has decided to use fear to justify the reversal of his promise. He is now suggesting that it will fragment our democracy, giving rise to ultra right parties that may well pursue Trumpian Policies.
I don’t buy tickets on the fear train. As Canadians, I think we are better than that. I am disappointed that Justin has decided to turn to fear as a motivator. When he spoke to the UN for the first time last September, he warned repeatedly about politicians exploiting anxiety for personal gain, He said, speaking of initiatives his government had taken, “We have done all of this…because we believe we should confront anxiety with a clear plan to deal with its root causes”. And yet, fear and anxiety is what he cultivates now to explain why he changed his mind. The root cause is directly in front of us and I’d like to know what Justin thinks the clear plan to deal with this is.
We are supposed to teach our kids to be good people and to tell the truth. Maybe we need to reassess that outlook. Perhaps we should explain to our children that if you are rich and come from a privileged background, lying is okay because you can afford nice clothes and buy your way out of trouble. Should we explain that only people who are NOT millionaires must always tell the truth? I want a system where every vote counts.
That is the only real democracy.