It’s an age old tradition in etiquette; it’s impolite to discuss politics or religion. Two of our major difference defining opinions have been regarded as off limits to ensure happiness and tolerance.
This isn’t 1950.
The thing about these two subjects is that they define who we are on a large scale. Even worse, they are built upon the premise that one needs to have faith in their choice. Faith is believing something, regardless of truth.
Religion, long debated, forever fought over, and so different across the world, is usually our main divider. Loyalties to different divisions of the same religions divide people even further. The MAIN issue with discussing religion is that one can’t prove to another that their religion is right, because to believe in any given religion, you’re putting your faith in it. This faith, is exactly the same faith people put in their own religions. To battle faith with faith is impossible, as you are both believing in something because YOU choose to believe it. Not because there is any more proof for one than the other, but because you believe it.
But here is what is wrong with being divided by religion; They are not founded on definitive truth. These are philosophies written by mankind, for mankind. The human imagination is very broad and when supposedly divine occurences occur in one’s life, the mind can make up some pretty interesting stories to account for the occurence. Even go as far as to give those stories backstories. Then characters, time periods, further occurences leading up to this one, motivations behind the occurences, etc. We can write amazing fiction and label it as such, and we can also label it as fact.
Look at movies that claim to be based on true stories, based on actual events, inspired by either. Often times they’ve been nothing like the actual event or story. A Beautiful Mind completely fabricated the main character’s hallucinations. The Fourth Kind filmed its own “real footage”. Open Water started with the actual scuba divers that disappeared, then went on to be completely unfounded fiction.
Yet people eat this up. They don’t read the fine print, and this story has become FACT for them. An alternate reality is born, and they live in it. The same goes for religion. Mom and dad say its real, and they wouldn’t lie to you, would they? It turns out, the answer is “Not knowingly.”.
Politics are more maddening. Most people admit politicians are liars or at least will not tell the entire truth. But people rally behind their politicians. He’s the one they voted for, he’s their man! In many democracies, usually this dissolves into “He hasn’t been keeping his promises.” “What a liar, he lost my vote next time.” or “I wish he would do more.”.
The United States seems to have remedied this erosion of faith in any given party by splitting the opinion cleanly in two. You are either Republican, the right wing lovers of capitalism, personal liberty, privatization, and economy! Or you are a Democrat, the left wing lovers of environmentalism, the middle and lower class, social unity, and peace! There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.
Actually, there is, but it has become the abstain zone. You vote for a third party, which will never see a seat in the house, or choose not to vote. Either way, the right and left wing despise your kind. They also despise eachother, though, so don’t feel excluded.
My point is, people have their preferences, and they choose which side closest fits those preferences. Unfortunately, these politicians represent social interests the most right before being elected or re-elected. The campaign trail is where the people come first! I will eliminate ALL taxes and have riches for all! Security and freedom! War on those you hate and peace for those you like! We will shut down industry to save the environment and build more industry to boost the economy! Everyone will be happy!
And after the ballots come to rest on the floor and the last streamer is swept away, its always business as usual. Those promises become reserved ideas in case good publicity is needed later. Your hero ascends to the throne, or walks sadly off the platform, and neither one talks to you again.
You believed them. You thought they would save the country. Surely, they would put all those tax dollars right back in your pocket. But they didn’t, and they won’t.
And as the clouds roll over the abandoned political rally stands, the people sigh, pick up their suitcases, their wrenches, their shovels, and trudge off to work. They still believe in those guys. The winning half is breathing a little easier. After all, he’s better than the other guy, right? HE was definitely evil and incompetent! So this guy was probably the right choice. The other half grumble and say with knowing sneers “It’ll all fall apart, you know. Just wait. And if it doesn’t, it’ll be so bad that OUR guy will win next time!”.
Then the first drops of rain begin to soak into discarded banners. No thunder. No theatrics for this conclusion. Just soft rain and dark clouds. A few haven’t left the area yet. They stand, staring at the sky. They think to themselves, “Why? Why do we put so much hope in these men?” Their faith has been dwindling for years and years. A disappointing administration followed by an exciting election followed by more disappointment.
The truth is, people, these men are the best at what they do. And what they do, is get themselves elected.
They don’t balance the books, they don’t design the bridges, they don’t build the hospitals and schools.
They don’t know how to fix an overloaded sewer system or how much money you need to run a town.
They’ve never chosen what crops to seed in a given year or tried to feed and shelter an entire downtown’s worth of homeless people on less than a month’s worth of minimum wage.
They haven’t seen a neighbourhood go from prime real estate to dilapitated slums over the course of a lifetime and know WHY it happened.
They can’t make the decisions that run a country, but they can change who makes them, and how they are made. They hold the strings, but are never quite sure which one to pull or who tied which string where.
I’m sorry for rambling, but this should paint the bleak picture for you. Two belief systems, two unreliable concepts. We are allowed to think for ourselves. Some of us should really try it.
And, for the good of all mankind, talk to eachother about it.
Apologies to all that follow this blog. The harvest does tend to consume one’s time.
I return to speak of something that lights a fire in my chest and puts an angry gleam in my eyes.
The Harper Government.
Yes, not the Canadian government, the HARPER Government. This man has encouraged, through his Conservative Party members that infest parliament, referring to the Canadian government as his government.
Recently, for you non-Canadians or apathetic citizens, the government has been at odds over what they call the Senate Scandal. Originally, it was a leaked expenditure report showing that a senator had been spending tens of thousands of dollars on personal travel and accomodations. It soon spread out to encompass two more senators.
Of course, the news informed us that we should be outraged. And outraged we were.
Abolish the senate! Fire the offending senators! Make them pay!
Then, apparently by order of Stephen Harper himself, one of the senators’ debts were partially payed using $90,000 from the federal government itself. The outrage ceased as confusion set in.
Didn’t that money come from the same fund from which this senator originally stole money?
Our other political parties, the New Democratic Party, Liberal, Bloc Quebecois, Green, and a few from independants, began to ask questions.
Why did you try and pay him off? What aren’t you telling Canada?
To which the Conservatives responded that this man did this without consent of the Prime Minister and has been dismissed! But he hadn’t been dismissed. He resigned. Forced? Voluntary? They will not tell us. But one thing is true now; the Conservatives want the senators all dismissed immediately. The only things standing in their way is due process and the other parties, now wary and distrustful. The senators themselves have begun to point fingers at the Prime Minister.
He told us we had done nothing wrong! He approved AND encouraged these expendiatures! We were assured that we were safe!
Harper, of course, declined to comment. The battle continues.
But does this battle have any hope of being won by the opposition? It seems not. You see, the Conservatives won the majority. What they say, goes. And what Harper says, his members do. If not, they find themselves replaced. Elections in the House of Commons go to the Conservatives every time, even if the opposition votes “Nay” unanimously.
Last week, Bill C-4 – Economic Action Plan 2013, Act No. 2 passed. This bill is what has become known as an omnibus bill. This means that the bill, handled as a single bill, is actually many smaller bills lumped into one. In this case, Bill C-4 makes 70 amendments. It ammends laws covering “taxation, employment insurance rules, economic immigration parameters, arbitration in the public sector, the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, and so on.”, as one member of the NDP put it.
The part about employment insurance rules is what has the other parties up in arms. Bill C-4 abolishes the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board and relinquishes control of emplyement insurance premiums and payouts to the Finance Minister, who is a Conservative, of course. After control is taken, the Conservatives have stated that they plan to freeze employment insurance premiums over the next 3 years, putting what they claim will be $660 million into the pockets of Canadian small businesses and workers.
Once again, however, the true benefit of this bill isn’t for the workers, its for the large employers. See, the Conservative party has been known to feed corporate interests.
Cut corporate taxes, and we see a boom in job creation and wage increases! It’s just economics!
But how many of you actually believe that the more money any corporation gets, the more jobs they create and the more the little guys get paid? I hope you don’t. Many companies are in love with the profit margin. And the bigger that margin is, the more they love it.
There are many pro-Conservative Canadians under the illusion that the corporations WANT us to have jobs and get paid reasonable wages. They reach down from their thrones and shake our hands and give us big piles of money.
I swear to you that this is NOT the case.
For those of you in Canada, I want to say something; politics isn’t private.
I’ll tell you more tomorrow.
The stacks are quiet towers now,
They spew smoke and soot no more.
The boilers, cracked and empty, are cold
The product line is a pile of unfinished pieces.
Once the foremen shouted for more,
The workers would sweat and run.
Fires like volcanic fissures burning their faces.
An overture of deafening clangs and hisses.
The people in the streets and the stores would buy.
They bought their livlihoods. They bought their distractions.
The people that sold to them
Told them how much they needed those things.
But people aren’t always fools.
They got angry. They didn’t like what they bought.
The distractions would last minutes. The necessities; hours.
They would not buy what would not last.
The sellers insisted “You’re using them wrong,”
“The new one is better, we’ve fixed it all.”
The lies were obvious, the product failed.
The people stopped buying.
And now the wind whistles through dusty vents,
Spider webs hang from rusted chains,
A single office chair in the middle of a sagging room
Twists toward a broken window,
Where the hundreds of other silent stacks
Touch the sky.
Detroit is going to collapse under its own weight. Downtown is going to lose more business as the population becomes poorer and poorer until not even a basic grocery store can survive. Businesses continue to close as people shop less and people shop less as businesses offer less jobs.
Eventually downtown becomes deserted with old Going Out of Business signs flapping in the wind from empty and broken windows. Dilapidated buildings become squatter cities, smoke pouring from windows as the homeless burn what they can to stay warm in the Detroit winters. The food supply from abandoned apartments and restaurant dumpsters slowly disappears as it either rots or gets picked through. Things become even more desperate. Violence becomes the norm in the struggle for supplies.
The outer areas start to see an influx of violent homeless people, robbing and stealing to stay alive. Suburbs experience exponential increases in robberies and muggings. The police, tied up with the downtown situation, are spread thin as it is and can’t help the dwindling middle class. More and more leave Detroit, in search of safer, more stable cities.
The homeless spread further and further out as the inner city becomes gang territory where gunshots echo throughout the night and bonfires in the streets dimly reflect off of the broken windows high up in the abandoned office buildings.
Finally, as the last home owners and tenants in the Detroit area pack up their vehicles and leave, the ‘undesirable’ population begins to die out, eventually leaving the biggest ghost town in America.
…At least that’s the best that could happen.