Thursday May 26 , 2016

Category: Sooey Says

On the Rebound

If it’s even possible, I think I might reinvent myself on the internet.

I watched a segment on TVO’s The Agenda tonight (we don’t have cable) and it was about the decline of public discourse, the author being interviewed having written a book “I’m Right and You’re an Idiot”.

There are certain topics I claim not to engage in on the internet, but it’s not really true that I don’t. I just wish that I didn’t. But I do. And it just adds to the noise, I know it does, and I don’t want to add to the noise anymore.

I have a coworker, I’d peg him as a Conservative, and he’d peg me as a Socialist of the bleeding heart variety. And we talk about life a lot. We’re close in age but that’s about it and sometimes he forgets that part. He was part of the 60s scoop, eight different foster homes. I grew up in the house my grandfather built, lawyer father, teacher mother.

Still, there are surprising similarities in the general sort of benign neglect that typified parenting then, as opposed to parenting now. We often both cite them to our twenty year old colleague, an only child of two teachers.

It’s funny, the other day we were arguing about something, and all I can remember about it is him suddenly swiveling around in his chair, an almost startled look on his face, saying, “You’re right”.

And I was, I was right. I just can’t remember what I was right about now. And it doesn’t really matter because the experience of having someone I respect, whose opinions are so different from mine, tell me that I was right (and I was, I distinctly remember knowing I was right) altered me somehow, in a good way, and I want to go with it.

Because the author of the book cited above mentioned to Steve Paikin (host) that during the course of his research he talked to a number of religious leaders and the takeaway from his discussions with them, about human relation, is that it all comes down to the golden rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

And there was an argument I was always having on and off with my coworker, who is all hard knocks to my soft landings, so very different life experiences, that involves people who’ve been brutalized by other people from an early age and so end up living in what we call survivor mode. He’s done years of work in this particular area, I haven’t, but that’s not to say I know nothing about it, just, next to nothing.

What’s weird is, the other day, after thinking a lot about our argument, I went into work and said, “You know that discussion we were having about people who live in survivor mode? Well, I was thinking about what you said, and, you’re right.”

And it wasn’t until later that I realized there was even a connection between his “You’re right” (I was SO right – about something – if I remember what it was I’ll let you know) and my “You’re right” (and he was, probably – certainly more right than I was, my argument being entirely hopeful, his based on years of real life experience, his own and others).

It’s no small thing, really, the positive effect we can have on each other.



Medium Poppies

Neil MacDonald wrote a piece for CBC a couple of weeks ago calling out critics of Sophie Gregoire Trudeau’s request for more staff. His critique was along the lines of Alice Munro’s “Who Do You Think You Are”, citing that time honoured Canadian tradition of cutting down our “tall poppies”.

Ol’ Neil put us down.

And I agree, both that SGT should have as much staff as she needs/wants and that we have a tradition of cutting down our “tall poppies”. However, as much as I agree with SGT having more staff – and I certainly agree that anyone who thinks she needs help should feel free to ask for it without her co-citizens attacking her – I think the fundraisers and speeches should be relegated to the past.

I believe that people with money should pay their fair share of taxes and all of us should have a guaranteed annual basic income. I think it should be $15 thousand but $12 thousand is okay to start.

But that’s not what this entry is about because this entry is about the awful people we can become on social media. Guilty for sure. And how. Oh my. But the other day I had a funny thing happen when Jason Kenny liked one of my tweets:

Jason Kenney, two hours previous to making this tweet: “Well mother, it’s booze o’clock somewhere! Bottoms up!”

which was in response to one of his tweets.

Thank you to our allies for taking the fight to #ISIS. We’re sorry that Canada is no longer there doing the same.

And the funny thing was that I recognized him as a person with a sense of humour, and not “Jason Kenney”. It changed my perception of him.

Meanwhile, a lot of the people with whom I have politics in common, not so much. And this latest imbroglio with Justin Trudeau, Acting! Decisively!, has really, I think, driven home an important point, for me, at least, which is that, well, maybe tall poppies should be cut down.

I write this because I thought Justin Trudeau improved politics by being in it. I thought his campaign showed up both Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair as a couple of same old suits, neither man doing much to dissuade me from thinking “enough already – I want the young man in the new suit!”

Except that Justin Trudeau isn’t a young man, is he. He’s a middle-aged man, not so different in age from his father when he became Prime Minister, actually, and SGT is middle-aged, too. They’re 40-somethings. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but, why was I thinking this time it will be different?

Anyway, I really don’t care a whole lot, I think the people in power are well-intentioned, at least, but watching Justin and Sophie in Japan put me in mind of Will and Kate, and I had the feeling that we’re moving backward, not forward, that as well-intentioned as our new government may be, the people in charge really don’t have a clue how it is out here.

On the upside, I suppose, if you’re a CPC or NDP supporter, as I watched our royal couple in Japan, they brought to mind, for me, anyway, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Oh dear, I just realized in my tweet re same I put it “Louise XXVI”. Yikes. My new Liberal haters will have a field day with that one. I even googled it because originally I had Louis XXIV (I meant Louis XIV, of course) and thought, hm, he was the Sun King, though, and they wouldn’t call a king they’d guillotined the Sun King.

Although… French, so…

Anyway, my point is, maybe there’s something to this cutting down of tall poppies that isn’t all bad.

Because winning certainly doesn’t seem to do much for the Canadian character.


For the Record, Then

So I guess the upshot of all this is that Opposition to the unconscionably restrictive bill regarding our right to physician assisted death, the bill being pretty much the opposite of that intended, is a waste of the majority Liberal government’s time.

Or so the reasoning seems to be for the Prime Minister’s bizarre behaviour in the House last week.

Oh, and that Mulcair hates him. That, too.

Really, whoever would have guessed that Liberals would be worse winners than Conservatives?


It’s the Process, Stupid

As you know I’m on Twitter, where all the other arguers are, too, and it’s maddening a lot of the time, although I’m getting better at not taking a difference of opinion personally.

I know, but some of us take longer than others do in sorting out whose shit is whose.

I’m struck, though, by the aggression with which so many Tweeters are attacking the NDP for playing politics with Justin Trudeau’s bad behaviour last week in the House, going so far as to blame them for preventing passage of the bill on assisted dying.

Except that the bill on assisted dying that’s on the table now strikes me as almost the opposite of what Rob Oliphant’s committee had intended.

It’s not helpful to people in want of physician assisted dying. It’s unhelpful.

And if it does pass, I hope it’s struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada again.

Because enough already of God informing our laws. Governing politicians, at least, must stop diluting reason with religion.

Anyway, it’s one of the reasons why I don’t think Justin Trudeau’s bad behaviour in the House last week had anything to do with legislation and everything to do with the mutual hatred between him and Thomas Mulcair.

And yes, Mulcair has to go. But in defence of New Democrats, some 70% of them voted in favour of him going, too. But no, he’s not to blame for Justin Trudeau’s bad behaviour in the House last week.

But, you know, to each his/her own partisanship, I guess. The Liberals so far have been a breath of fresh air. Mostly just fresh air, though, and I find myself increasingly unimpressed with their zeal to “get things done”.

No, that’s not how government is meant to work. Government is process and process takes time and passing legislation to meet arbitrary deadlines is, well, crazy. I even question now my own support for uprooting Syrians from refugee camps with no plan for them once they arrived here. I’m embarrassed that I fell for “sunny ways” from a man who ruled out forming a coalition with another party because he doesn’t like its leader. And that was when he was in third place and more Canadians than not just wanted the Conservatives out.

Out damn spot.

I get it that Liberals have long been frustrated by the NDP, especially under Mulcair, although under Layton, too. I grew up with that frustration being regularly expressed. And I had a lot of it during the last campaign, too, because like a lot of Canadians I just wanted the Conservatives out.

And there was something about Justin Trudeau that was refreshing and it was his accessibility but it was also his rising above the underhanded attacks that came his way from Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair, the latter being so condescendingly dismissive of him, intellectually, that it almost felt like just desserts when he was handed his hat on election day.

Interesting that both he and Stephen Harper seem to have a hard time getting the hint.

But speaking of hints, there were plenty with regard to Justin Trudeau, weren’t there, the boy dictator admiration for how the Communist Party gets things done in China, the awkward position he put two sexual assault complainants in when he arbitrarily fired the two MPs they had alleged were responsible, the dismissive classification of armed tanks we sell to Saudi Arabia’s murderous royal mafia as “jeeps”, even the master stroke of booting Liberal senators from the fold and relabeling them as Independents.

And yes, I was happy for his insistence that only pro-choice candidates were welcome as new candidates, that the cabinet have 50/50 male/female representation, that Canadian diplomacy be restored along with that critical image of ourselves as outward-looking and welcoming.

So no regrets, really, because the NDP doesn’t know itself anymore and the Conservative Party is the definition of hypocrisy, and thoroughly loathsome, but I had hopes for better from the Liberals, who, lest we forget, have a lot of redeeming to do.

It doesn’t matter, it’s just my opinion, and all I really want out of government these days is a guaranteed annual income for everybody, but yeah, it’s not like we weren’t warned that somebody might think he’s above process.

So maybe somebody could remind PMJT that process is all we have, before he embarrasses himself again.



Sorry, Eh – *Updated

If it were up to me, I’d like a country to have no law for physician assisted dying, no law for the termination of an unwanted pregnancy, no law for prostitution.

I know, some people call it sex work. I don’t.

So I hope the deadline passes for the physician assisted dying bill, which is too watered down to be what we need, and we are left with no law at all.

No law is better than bad law.

But back to Justin Trudeau, The Great Apologizer.

Is it just me or is he now making apologizing for his behaviour all about how he’s so much better than everybody else at apologizing.

I mean, everybody and her Uncle Tom is ganging up on Ruth Ellen Brosseau as if she’s somehow to blame for Justin Trudeau storming across the floor of the House to, literally, push his colleagues around because they were, what? getting on his nerves?, and elbowing her in the breast.

Sure, an accident, but I don’t know if you’ve ever been elbowed in the breast because it hurts like hell.

Meanwhile, the fallout of his actions continues to be on her, with every Tom, Dick and Mary lining up to accuse her of “taking a dive” etc. It’s vicious shit, too, this lashing out in defence of Justin Trudeau, who, for all we know, is not as well balanced as his public relations would have us believe.

You know, lots of things were believed of Stephen Harper that turned out to be manifestly untrue. Too.

Anyway, it’s all pretty disappointing, the reaction, and my own guess is that the incident is more significant than is being acknowledged, but I don’t know any more than anybody else, just that he’s at a stressful time of life, hormone-wise, and maybe he should see a doctor.

No one ever thinks the husband might need help because unlike the wife he doesn’t ask for it.

*Regardless of all the above, Peter Kent actually IS a piece of shit, so, no take back there, may he R.I.P.