Day Eight – Neither Fair nor Fowl

 

 

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Is my town like yours?

My town, London, Ontario, has a population of about 400,000 people who politically either lean right or left depending on the mood. We have a river that runs through our town. We have a hockey arena downtown and a sort of chic market. Our main branch of the library is pretty cool but resides in a failed mall. We do not have a particularly inspired set of political leaders. They go from the petty and corrupt to the genuinely caring and engaged. Our wealthier neighbourhoods are hotbeds of NIMBYISM where they will drop a few bucks in the Sally Anne kettle at Christmas, but you try building something in, or at the edges, of one of their neighbourhoods to help the neediest in our city and you can expect an avalanche of opposition. Charity and helping people is all well and fine but keep it out of our sight seems to be the message.

Our city has 20% of our children living in poverty and a Food Bank that grows and grows and grows in response to the demand from our citizens. We do not have a very strong local arts scene. We have some amazing visual artists in London, for which we a have a world-class history, but generally, we import our talent, and almost all of our young artists go elsewhere to train and live.

Our transit system was the focus of a 3-year battle that really was a proxy war for two different political tribes in our community—the Progressive and Conservative. The result was one of the most brutal arguments, filled with lies and deception, that resulted in a kind of kludged solution that will ultimately serve no one, especially those that need transit the most. It was likely the most divisive political event to happen in our community in more than a decade that was full of sound and fury ultimately creating nothing.

Our town has a history of serial killing.

No, really it does. London, Ontario was at one time the serial killer capital of Canada. Weird eh?

We have, at times, an incredibly generous response from Londoners to emergencies. Like the time the whole town came together when a drunk driver rammed into a house that caused a fire and almost destroyed an entire neighbourhood. Hundreds of people came together to offer food and comfort and their own homes as a place to stay. We also volunteer almost more than anywhere else in Canada. We are the longtime champs of volunteerism as a matter of fact.

Parts of our town are so pretty they take your breath away. We have some of the most gorgeous neighbourhoods in the whole of our country, and the Thames Valley Pathway System is and treasure that needs to be protected and enhanced. We have these collections of natural parks and sites that are unique, and the neighbourhoods that surround them are stalwart wardens for them. They have driven off many a developer. And our downtown recently went through a transformation that was both inspired and will lead to a more robust downtown.

My town is ultimately directionless when it comes to longterm thinking. Its political seasons are filled with arguments for or against taxes. Candidates and incumbents jostling for position and advantage but rarely talk about big ideas and bold visions that chart a course to economic and community growth. When those people come along and propose a bold vision or clear path, there is inevitable a feeding frenzy on local radio, or from former reporters, that shoot it down. Not a good place to have an idea and stick up your hand, London Ontario, lest it is chopped off and shot down.

In the end, my town is neither fair nor fowl but a directionless beige that doesn’t dare to be something more but can still show flashes of brilliance now and then. It is a place of the middle. A place that is and is not.

Is my town like yours?

Day Seven – Economics you Don’t Know

audience auditorium bleachers chairs

Photo by Tuur Tisseghem on Pexels.com

Many have a sort of bi-polar view of the life of an artist. On the one hand, they think they are starting in foreign garrets, serving tables, doing menial jobs, yet, on the other hand, they believe they live a jet-set glamourous life. People also have a bi-polar view of the arts as a sector. On the one side, we shouldn’t pay for it form tax dollars and on the other that it’s nice to have around. There is then the bi-polar view of those that attend the arts. On the one hand, they’re rich, snobby one-percenters on the other weird druggies dancing to thumping music at 4 in the morning. None of these descriptions is accurate. None of them tells a story of being an artist, being an arts supporter, or the benefits we get as a country when we invest in it.

To be a professional artist, you have had to study with the intensity of an engineering student while allowing yourself and your work to be criticized in class and in public daily. When you’ve finished studying, formally or informally, then you have to be an entrepreneur and sell a commission or land a gig. Landing the gig will often mean surveying a series of predatory, humiliating, and distracting people who know what’s best for your career but will lead you down a path of pain and woe.

In order to make a professional arts organization work, you have to be continually applying for funding, engaging the public, trying not to offend the politicians, competing against the other acts orgs in your own, and keeping the lights with an overhead cost of less than 6%. Not something a so-called “real business”. could do. And then you will always be facing the kinds of questions from funders that many other non-profits don’t have to face. So you’re expected to have answered to a faceless bureaucracy to a level of detail most non-profits never have to.

Then there is the funding itself and the views of the politicians and their woefully uninformed opinions. Using there limited understand they then engage in decisions that have life-changing consequences on individuals and an industry they have not even the remotest understanding of. As opposed to what many politicians say, that the arts are a luxury, The Ontario Arts Council shares that “Ontario’s arts and culture sector represents $26.7 billion or 3.5% of the province’s GDP and almost 300,378 jobs. This “industry perspective” measures all of the culture sector’s output – including both culture and non-culture products (e.g. a theatre company may generate GDP from both ticket sales – a culture activity – and food and beverage services – a non-culture activity).” 

Further, they do us the favour of comparing this to other major industries and, in what will be a surprise to many, the Arts outperforms numerous Ontario economic sectors. For example “Ontario’s culture GDP is larger than that of the accommodation and food services industry ($16.2 billion), the utilities industry ($14.6 billion), the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries combined ($7.4 billion) and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction ($6.9 billion).”. In my home town, our local Arts Council created a report and shared that culture generates “$540 million per annum”. So lets put to rest the ridiculous notion that the arts are a luxury but is, in fact, an economic engine in Ontario.

Yet during this pandemic where is the support for the Arts and its vital economic and community contribution to Ontario. Our government gave some money to the most significant arts org in our town, one by the way that has its own foundation, but there was not a penny for the small and medium orgs. Not a penny from a Federal Government for the ongoing support of artists who will not qualify for unemployment benefits. Nor supports for all those professional Arts teachers at the post-secondary and community level who do not qualify for EI. No support from any level of government anywhere I can see that steps into the breach and supports the cultural industry during this time of pandemic in the same way other economic sectors are. 

No, there is a double standard for to the arts; be it from politicians or arts funders or you the public. Artists add more than so many other parts of our economy in terms of real dollar for dollar impact, but that doesn’t matter does it?

No. 

After all the Arts is a nice to have not a need to have. 

Isn’t it? 

Day 6 – Saturday Virus Coffee Special

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Photo by Vova Krasilnikov on Pexels.com

Gotta say I am thrilled my daughter is not in school anymore. The thought of her going into those school hallways and classrooms would have had me feeling very anxious. But I don’t have to make that choice though sadly many of you do. Our governments have made this a lot easier, have they? Across Canada, there is a variety of approaches, none of which particularly install confidence.

Here in my adopted Ontario, Doug Ford has come out with a plan that has been roundly criticized by the Toronto School Board and by Sick Kids Hospital. Not a great signs of a winning strategy. Also, the need to open up the rest of the economy seems to be precipitous. I’m not convinced we’re through the first danger far enough yet to start opening everything back up, and yes I know that our economy has been brutalized. Still, I’d rather see a closed business than a life lost.

Add to all this the misinformation that comes out every day from that trusted news source Facebook friends. It’s no wonder people are confused and feeling uncertain. Yesterday someone who was in high school with me, who you would think would know better, sent me a private message with a news story insisting that the WHO had changed its mind about Carona Virus and it wasn’t contagious at all ! And now the WHO was being muzzled from telling the truth.

REALLY?

REALLY?

What I don’t understand is why so many people buy this kind of deliberate misinformation. With just 5 minutes using the goole, you will find the story debunked, verifiable sources for true information, and a host of stories about how this kind of pernicious mistelling of the truth damages our democracy. Yet there’s an old high school classmate blithely serving up a great big serving of self-delusion and misinformation.

Look the thing is I can be both cynical, in terms of school and business opening, and be for factual and accurate information. I don’t have to go over to crackpot theories to feel vindicated in my thinking. You don’t have to either. We should be able to hold two simultaneous points of view from slightly different perspectives.

In the end, what I say, and really what you say, matters not a wit. The government will do what they feel is best and everyone else will, or will not, obey safe distancing and mask-wearing. There will be decent people believing conspiracies and misinformation. Me? I’m going to enjoy the tomatoes growing in my back yard, wear a mask when in public, and cynically look at the information that comes my way. The only other choice is to listen to the conspiracists, and that does not serve my time or focus.

So onward and outward (inward?) friends. Saturday awaits, and so does my morning coffee. But you know did hear that the coffee plantations are using aliens to……….

Day Five – Hearth and Home

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Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

I woke this morning anxious. Many of you may how woken up the same way. Anxious about our children, anxious about our finances, anxious about friends and family, and anxious about the state of the world. I awoke this morning anxious. What I was not anxious about this morning was that tonight I would not have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in.

But for many in Ontario this week that was not the case. Ontario’s Ford government decided that they no longer needed to use their power to protect people who were economically devastated by the Covid pandemic. Decided that landlord could now evict those people who had no way to pay their rents. Decided that despite the worst economic hit to our country since the great depression, the people in Ontario who couldn’t pay their rent could be kicked out onto the street.

Last night I wondered how do you respond rationally to a leader who allows this to happen? How do you give a party which marches in lockstep with that leader a fair hearing? How do you not see them as indifferent and callous? How do you not see the Ontario Conservative Party, Or the Republican Party in the United States, as a moral threat to Human Decency? I don’t know.

We here in the little berg of London, Ontario, see homelessness every day. We also have our share of indifference to homeless people as evidenced by the crackdowns our city governments have had on homeless camps. We don’t have a solution to housing in our town either. But as much as I disagree with our Major and a number of our Councillors, they did not actively create a law to make it easier to evict people onto the streets. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, did just that. And in our town, and your town as well, we will be left to inadequately pick up the pieces of Mr.Ford and The Conservative Party in the desperate form of more homeless people.

In a month or two, you’ll likely forget about this issue, but those people who were evicted will still be without a home. And so we go on. And so this cycle continues; A cycle of politicians, emboldened by the people who elected them, cutting services and protections for the most vulnerable in our community while the rest of shake our heads and wag our fingers for the prescribed amount of virtue signalling before moving on.

I woke up Anxious this morning, but I did not wake up homeless. This week thousands of Ontarian’s will and you and I allowed it to happen.

To say shame on us somehow feels pathetically inadequate, but it is all I have.

Shame on us.

Day Four – What Dreams May Come

Last night two separate things happened. While on the deck, just before I went to bed, I looked up at the stars and thought I don’t think I’d like to go Space. It has no mystery for me, but it does for some, and one day they will get anywhere in Space they want to. The second thing that happened was a series of dreams. I dream very, very vividly. They’re like watching a movie for me. In one of those dreams for some reason, I was on an old 1950’s greyhound bus travelling to Jasper Alberta. But on the way there we had to cross the U.S. Border for 25 mins. So we had 25 mins to hit a 1970’s U.S. shopping mall. After a little while, a group of U.S. marine drill sergeants started screaming at us to get back on the bus. We had 25 seconds. My adult daughter, a slow mover, was nowhere to be seen. I was waiting at the door to our bus, and there she was slowing walking toward me from 50 yards away with three marine Sargents’ screaming at her to hurry up and get on the bus. Then a buzzer went, and I was screaming at her from 50 yards away as they dragged her off.

Why I am I telling you about my thoughts on space travel and my bizarre dreams? Well, in the case of space travel, I realized that the much harder journey was not outward to Space but inward. Gaining the knowledge and skills to understand ourselves and overcome our sometimes violent, selfish, and angry natures. In the case of the dream, I was in that most inward of spaces, a dream, and rather than defend my daughter or rescue her, I was unbelievably furious. I was angry and woke up in the night very angry at her.

This morning as I lay in bed on those precious 3 to 5 minutes when consciousness has just arrived, and you begin to consider the night that past and the day to come, another thought occurred to me. Anything we humans can think of we can eventually create. Someone thought of the need to cross a river, and from that, we have colossal ocean-going vessels both above and below the ocean. Someone once thought of the idea of flying, and sure enough, we fly. We wanted machines to make work for us easier, and we created those, and from there devices to help us think faster, and sure enough, we have them today. Will we have teleportation?. Sure we will. Will we be able to live entirely in virtual environments wholly separated from our bodies? Yep, we will. Will he be able to travel to stars and then sit inside them. Yep. Time travel? Sure. Faster than light travel? Yep. Overcome poverty, the destruction of the environment, end disease? No problem – we could do that today if we wanted to.

How about peace? Understanding? Love for our fellow human? Equality? End Prejudice? Create a harmonious world?

Well…..

And there’s the rub. When I woke up last night, furious with my daughter, I realized the important journey is not one to the stars or toward some brighter technological future, but one toward a more humane human race. Do we have the self-control or self-awareness to travel the universe when we have such indifference toward one another? Can we handle the responsibility of immortality when there are black people in the streets telling the rest of they are not treated with equality or equity? Can we handle the vast potential of artificial intelligence when allowing ourselves to be manipulated into believing monstrous lies on Facebook?

No, I don’t think so.

But what if we ever do harness our own potential for love and compassion and self-awareness? Those would be dreams of which we can’t even begin to conceive.  Wouldn’t it be audacious of us if we started that journey to those stars? That would be a journey of discovery worth making.

Day Three – Left To Our Own Devices

 

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In the town where I live, I am often very lonely. I don’t have a lot of friends here and don’t see the ones I do have very often. There are some very concrete reasons for my absenting myself from friends and why I am often lonely. This town encourages loneliness, and many, many, many people have told me how difficult they find it making friends here. But this loneliness is not only about my town but also about your town ans the fact that loneliness not only happens here but happens everywhere in such massive numbers that I think it will effect our near and long term future.

I am sure you’ve read about the plague of loneliness that has gripped the western world. I am sure you’re aware of how exasperated that is with the arrival of this virus. It further strips people of any connections they have to other people, and the result is more isolation without any hope of connections to other people. I had read somewhere recently that there has been a huge increase over the last 5 years to help lines and that the volunteers who work those lines have regulars who call every day because that is the only connection to the world they have. Did you know that loneliness can lead to an increase of 30% in early death? I didn’t, but it makes sense to me. So those people who are calling helplines as their only source of social connection are more likely to die because of how alone in the world they are. Doesn’t that break your heart?

In Japan, the lonely and self-isolating are called Hikikomori. Japan has an official number of 1.15 million Hikikomori but experts tell us that this number is more likely 10 million. These people purposely withdraw from society. They are so hurt or bewildered by the world around them that they withdraw from all contact. Shutting themselves up in their apartments, never leaving. Many times they only come out when neighbours complain of smells and authorities investigate finding these poor individuals have died. I think I understand some of the reasons people become Hikikomori. The depths of their pain and hurt must be so extreme that they would rather not see anyone. Ever.

Why I am sharing all this with you? Well because I don’t think about this issue very often and am sure many of you never give it much thought either. More importantly, I want you to consider how we got to the point where people have to call helplines in order not to feel lonely. How did it come to pass that there is such an epidemic of loneliness that it is reported in the planets major newspapers as a substantial public health issue..

I believe that this global loneliness is also linked with the rise in bullying, loss of civility, our inability to see past our own point of view, and growing seeming indifference to one another. We humans are changing friends. We seem to be more lonely, less able to see opportunities for understanding and collaboration, and hardened and indifferent to the suffering that is growing around us.

I am not sure we can change the course we are on, and I would like to leave you with a typically hopeful ending to this kind of blog, but I am not sure I can. I know I am lonely, and I know you are likely alone as well. Both of us knowing this, we don’t seem to be able to connect and change the course of that isolation. So will we become a world of Hikikomori? This may be how many people end up. Unable to cope with the shattered world around them. I hope not, but I am unsure if we collectively have a heart big enough to overcome this and the rest of our problems.

I will look out my window, watch, and see what happens.

Day Two – The Activist

 

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I know some people who think that Activist is a derogatory term. That an Activist is someone that cannot be worked with. That an Activist is a person or persons blocking progress to community-wide goals. So are activists really a problem when trying to solve big problems like food, or housing, or addictions? Yes, Activists can be part of the problem but as equally to blame are often the local Governments, Nonprofits, and Funders. But it’s easier to blame those without power than those with.

The Activist in our community is there to make you feel uncomfortable. Is there to make you recognize there is a problem you have been ignoring. Is there to force an issue, long-buried, into the light of public awareness. They are the persistent voice prodding at us again and again. Prodding at those in power and in the public that there is a serious problem that needs addressing. Activists are an inconvenient pressure that something is wrong.

As I said, I know a number of those in power, and with access to power, who find the Activist a roadblock to solving community problems. I have been told that they are unwilling to work collectively. Unwilling to work with institutions and governments. Unwilling to look at any solution but their own.

I think there is a lot of truth to this. I have known activist leaders who will not work with anyone with power or at the very least distrust those with power to do what they say they will do. I have to say though I have been lied to, or been disappointed by, those in power more often than by activists.

Activists or institutions though aren’t the real problem. No, the real problem is power. Those that have it, or have access to it, don’t want to give it up and those without want it. The result is those community problems that could have been fixed end up in disputes and bad feelings that degenerate into no solutions at all.

Someone told me recently that they thought that the Activists should publicly apologize to those with power in order to resolve the rifts of the past and get to the solutions that could help our community. What I found ironic and troubling about that statement is that there was never a mention of those with, and who have access to, power doing the same thing.

I, unlike some, want the activists in our community That have infuriated me at times. Still, they are there, day in and day out, insistently raising their voice and demanding that the decision-makers, influencers, and the public do something about the serious problems we have. After all wasn’t it the insistent voices that created the civil rights movement, women the vote, and freed India from colonial rule?

They may be inconvenient and as intractable as those with power, but I say bless the Activist. Long may they continue to be an irritant to the powerful and the comfortable. Long may they continue in their underappreciated but critical roles to our communities and long may they be recognized for what they are. The persistent voice of our collective conscious.

Day One

Loser

I fail all the time. I fail professionally, I fail personally, I fail mortally. I fail and fail and fail. Now if you think this is some sort of self-flagellation that leads to some redemption blog, then I will have to disappoint you, friend. I fail because I fail. Not for some deeper purpose like “fail faster “. I fail because I fail.

The reason I am sharing with you that I fail all the time is to put right on the table that I am not some paragon of virtue looking down on everyone. I am not an exemplar of virtue or wisdom. But even though I fail all the time on all kinds of levels at least I can admit it and put a pin in my own hubris as I offer a more severe criticism.

You’re all failing.

In Britain, in the United States, In Canada, in Poland, In France, In Italy, and across the western world you are all failing. All of you are failing miserably. You’re failing because you choose to not care about your neighbour who doesn’t have enough food. You’re failing because you’re willing to let racists and flim flamers take the reins of power in your country. You’re failing because you don’t demand that obscenely wealthy corporations and individuals actually pay their fair share. You are failing because you would rather believe bullshit conspiracy theories propagated by Vladimir Putin on Facebook than the people in your own town. You are failing because you can’t bring yourself to say Black Lives Matter. You’re failing because Me Too makes you feel uncomfortable rather than outraged.

You are failing because you refuse to vote or when you do vote you can’t be bothered to invest the time needed to make sure you’ve made an informed decision. You are failing and failing and failing because you would instead do that, fail, then admit you’re wrong, and it’s that hubris that lets people like Donald Trump get into power. It’s because of that hubris that Boris Johnstone can lie to you again and again and again yet you elect him Prime Minister of Britain. It is because of hubris that you chose the racist Andrzej Duda in Poland. And it is that hubris that allows Justin Trudeau to think he is The Dauphin rather than the servant he is supposed to be.

Now you could blame the right-wingers and the white power element or the patriarchy or the economy, but in the end maybe you should look in the mirror. Perhaps you should consider that you would rather see the world burn, people starve, demagogues be elected, and our children’s future dimmer than admit that you’ve gotten it wrong.

Or maybe you won’t, and you’ll start to hold yourself to account so we can hold those in power to account.

The future of the world os riding on your shoulders friend, so I really have to ask you.

Is failure an option?

Do you care?

You don’t care. You don’t care about housing for the homeless. You don’t care about people sleeping on streets. You don’t care about lack of medical care in our hospitals. You don’t care about ever crowing seniors centres. You don’t care about refugees families fleeing chemical bomb attacks or dead children washed up on shores. You don’t care about the environment. You don’t care about someone having to work 4 jobs to get by. You don’t care about he education system. You don’t care that young people have to pay more to go to college or university or trade school. You don’t care that people on social services don’t have enough to live never mind get back on their feet. You don’t care that things will not be better for our children and grand children. You don’t care.

Of course in your head you’re arguing with me or saying you give to this charity or volunteer for that cause but all of that does not prove that you care. What it proves is that you give to charity or volunteer while poverty increases, homelessness increases, education systems degrade, health systems degrade, women are run over in Toronto, and that our fellow Canadians who live on the streets or who work at Walmart are looked on as disposable. You d’on’t care.

If you did really care you could change, in an instant, all of the negatives above and we would live in a better country. But you haven’t and I don’t think you will.

Here’s some interesting fact “For every dollar corporations pay to the Canadian government in income tax, people pay $3.50” or that “Canada’s 102 biggest corporations …have avoided paying $62.9 billion in income taxes over the past six years”

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or that ““Last year, Canada’s Big Five banks — BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank and TD — occupied the top five slots on Report on Business Magazine’s Top 1000 ranking of the country’s most profitable companies. Collectively, they booked $44.1 billion in pre-tax profit. (Their just-reported 2017 profits were even higher.) ….analysis found those five banks avoided $5.5 billion in tax.” https://projects.thestar.com/canadas-corporations-pay-less-tax-than-you-think/

Also important to know is that according to Policy Note writer Iglika Ivanova “ There has been two fundamental shifts in who pays taxes in Canada since the late 1990s:

A shift of the tax bill from business to families (through large reductions of corporate income taxes and a proliferation of business subsidies and tax credits)

A shift of the tax bill from higher income to middle and modest income families (through personal income tax cuts at the high end and an increased reliance on regressive taxes) https://www.policynote.ca/how-have-taxes-changed-over-the-last-half-century/

But we, and an electorate, could change all this. We could make sure banks pay their fair share, that corporations pay their taxes, that the wealthy pay a tax like we had in the 60’s or mid seventies. We could do that and fix every major social, infrastructure, and wage problem we have in Canada in the next 5 years.

But you won’t. Instead people will say and post on social media that immigrants are taking our jobs, or the Fraser Institute will post something about taxes going up by 1000% and you’ll repeat knowing it’s not true, or you’ll complain about teachers making to much money, or about how your city is spending money on transit and what the hell do we need transit for anyway, or you’ll buy a new BMW SUV or Ford F150 and sigh sadly over the whales dying on beaches whose bellies are filled with plastic, or you’ll blame the politicians because they’re all crooks or useless but you elected them.

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 The picture above is from a series done by the Toronto Star  and is a great example of how we used to care as a country. Can you imagine today that? Can you imagine if we said to our municipal, provincial and federal governments that we want you to build 20,000 new homes a year for those that need them and hoe this would change everything on our country? Can you imagine that? 

I know you can.

But will you? Will you do something about it using the most powerful tool you have …..your vote? Well it is Christmas time isn’t it. And isn’t Christmas a time for miracles? And couldn’t we use a miracle right now? You could use you vote next time and create a miracle. Demand that Banks and corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share and then that hope for a miracle will become a reality. That’s all it would take to fix all our infrastructure and social issues from transit to homelessness from bridges to eduction. Your vote.

But turning Christmas wishes into realities is your choice. The questions is will you make that choice and change the course of Canada from less caring to a caring and just one or not? Well that Christmas Miracle is up to you. 

Roger and Me

I was on twitter the other day criticizing a municipal politician on a call he was making regarding public transit and on came Roger to attack me. Now I have to say that Roger really doesn’t like me, though he might protest he does or is neutral , but if you go back and look at our twitter interactions, there have been a number of times I criticized an elected official and Roger jumps in with both feet and usually on my head. Now I have to say I don’t have a lot of time for Roger either. I think we’ve talked in a person a total of 10 mins but in that 10 mins impressions are made of one another and for Roger he doesn’t like me and I’ve no love lost for Roger either.
So What? Why are you sharing this with us you ask? Well I think it’s worth understanding how personal relationships, or the lack of them, can effect public discourse. In my case Roger thinks I’m a misinformed bully who doesn’t know what I’m talking about and am to blame for the public housing woes in our city. To me Roger is a self appointed political troll who formerly held office and is part of the AM talk show controversy gang. If there’s a progressive idea then Roger wants to kill it.
So here we are, two 50 something year old men, arguing like 5 year olds in the school yard, because we don’t like one another. Global is local and local is global when it comes to politics.
I’m willing to bet good money that many a degenerating political argument is fuelled by this kind of animosity. Tump and Obama is widely held to have come from a correspondents dinner held by the White House while Obama was president. Notley and Kenney. – well that is fairly obvious with a short google search. And the list goes on and on. Personal dislikes or grudges turn into long standing dislikes that flair up and die down.
In the case of Roger and me, well he’s been calling me out for at least 5 years, and I’m sure I’ve called him out as well. But all of this doesn’t solve the question of political discourse and it’s decline. Is political discourse declining ? Well more that it’s going back to the way things were in the 19th century with papers and pamphlets calling political opponent’s everything under the sun. Roger and I haven’t quite got to that standard yet but amongst some Canadian and US politicians it sure is there with Triumph recently calling the Democrats in Congress scum.
Now I don’t know if Roger and I are a symptom of the lack of civility and respect in public discourse or merely the expression of some good old fashioned personal rancour, but it doesn’t take much to see Roger and me replicated across all kinds of political parties, issues, and conflicts. I’m not proposing a solutions to all this, way above my pay grade, but I do think it’s worth thinking about how personally motivated these attacks and arguments can become. For Roger and Me, despite anything he might say, I think it is personal. We just don’t seem to get along and if we don’t get along how many others don’t? Just something to consider as you digest your Sunday politics