Remembrances of Lester B

With all this remembering going on, I got to thinking about growing up and how my mother never seemed to give a rat’s ass about what she was leaving for the next generation to deal with, particularly debt-wise.

And with regard to the environment, I distinctly recall her telling the television, “Oh for Christ’s sake, doesn’t old growth forest eventually fall down, anyway?”

I don’t know if she was particularly selfish, but I don’t think so. After all, she voted for a lot of social programs she didn’t need, personally, necessarily, but which she thought were a good idea, anyway.

Of Christmas cheer type charities she’d ask her Goody friends, “Why not just give people cash so they can buy their own turkeys and snowsuits?”

“Oh no, Sooey’s mom, they’d just spend it on beer and cigarettes.”

“So what? It’s Christmas.”

Also, she entertained a lot, so she knew how important a well-stocked liquor cabinet was – especially over the holiday season when people would be dropping by.

I remember one year a Goody friend having a fruit basket delivered to our house.

“Jesus H. Christ. It’s not enough she’s delivering turkeys to people who probably don’t have roasters. Why the hell would she send me a fruit basket? I drink scotch.”

The roaster comment always stuck with me, though, because it’s so true. And these days, a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily know how to cook a great big bird.

They don’t teach that sort of thing in school, anymore. Of course, they didn’t teach it when I was in school, either, although they did teach us how to make cheese fingers.

The one use for a toaster oven, cheese fingers.

And snowsuits, well, I outfit my three kids in snowsuits from the Salvation Army until they were old enough to go through an Ottawa winter in running shoes and hoodies.

Phff, kids today, so soft – I remember going through a Sault Ste. Marie winter in running shoes and a jean jacket. And as I’ve blogged before, the one time my mother gave me a ride, I had a broken leg and it was to the hospital from school.

She yelled at me all the way, too, for the inconvenience I’d caused her.

So now, every year when I see the philanthropists of Ottawa charging up the Christmas machine I think, “Just give cash. Or at least receipts with the crap you think people want/need when what they really want/need is a way to make their own money so they don’t have to feel in any way beholden to a bunch of Goodies.”

Better yet – give beer and cigarettes so people without cars will be well supplied without having to leave the house.

Heh – chip off the old bitch much, Sooey?

Which brings me to taxes and physical/social infrastructure and the fact that, while our generation talks a good game about not saddling the next generation with debt, we’re so full of shit I think we’ve just gotten used to the smell.

And when I hear politicians go on to “and our children’s children” I wish a reporter would interrupt, “Quick! Off the top of your head, names and ages of your OWN children, first! Just the legitimate ones, we don’t have all day!”

The fact is, we’re slackers. We don’t like paying to maintain physical/social infrastructure because it’s not a visible monument to the good times. Which is understandable because, as anybody living through the inconvenience of sewer/water infrastructure upgrades can testify (or, at least, I hope we’re upgrading and not simply replacing) the process lacks glamour.

And yet, clearly, it costs a lot more.

So my eyes start rolling when baby boomer politicians go on and on Remembrance Day after Remembrance Day about the sacrifices made by The Greatest Generation (of which my mom is, after all, a member – she was even a WAC or a WREN or some such dancing partner to soldiers on leave, while my father was a veteran of WWII, having served overseas in Holland) and every other day go on and on about cutting taxes lest we have to pay what it costs to maintain the physical/social infrastructure built by… wait for it… The Greatest Generation.

That’s right – after the warring was done.

Indeed, to my mother, member of The Greatest Generation (who put four kids through university on her own, by the way, speaking of sacrifice – which I never even noticed her making, so matter of fact was she about it) it was that what made Canada great after WWII finally ended with the American nuclear bombing of Japanese cities full of civilians.

Oh, that, and becoming our own country, out from the shadow of colonialism, having fought for King and country, and won.

The Greatest Generation, here, at least, eventually got it together to elect Lester B, war hero, peace hero, and our greatest Prime Minister (whose name was just erased from a federal public building and replaced with John Diefenbaker’s on account of there was never a cause partisan enough for Stephen Harper not to embrace) who made us the reasonably socialist paradise that we used to be.

That is, until we became a nation of selfish slackers such that the people who don’t want to pay taxes are the ones who keep winning elections.

Still, it looks like our good neighbors to the south may be seeing the light, hunkered down at the end of the tunnel as they are, having voted their economy into ruins via wars AND tax cuts.

They may even be prepared to peace and tax themselves back into functionality.

We’re a ways away yet. I notice our Prime Minister who, according to his own public relations hates travel and isn’t interested in money, was recently lecturing India from the Taj Mahal about getting its act together so we could make some money (he took time out to lecture Obama, too, on avoiding the fiscal cliff most Americans went off when the financial sector collapsed due to their duly elected government’s failure to properly regulate it) but I notice he never takes it upon himself to tell Canadians that physical/social infrastructure, while not glamorous, costs money to maintain, so taxes can’t realistically be cut.

Instead, he’s wants more war and LESS taxes. And he’s an economics graduate.

Hm, wonder if he has a roaster OR knows how to make cheese fingers.

And if his dad was an aberration of some kind who made like he gave a rat’s ass about the next generation after he spawned it and it turned into a baby boomer.

I mean, really, it seems silly to pretend you care about the next generation and leaving it a debt to pay off, when you won’t even take on the responsibility of telling Canadians that we have to pay higher taxes if we’re going to even maintain, let alone upgrade, the physical/social infrastructure built up by The Greatest Generation.

After it won a friggin’ war and made us a country, ferchrissakes.

Of course, my mom would freely admit that she doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what kind of world she leaves behind. You pay what it costs to make a better life for everybody in the here and now and then let the next generation of taxpayers take over.

I dunno. We’ll see if Obama can cut the shit and get Americans to pay what it costs to get out from under all those years of slacking off.

But he should probably just ignore any advice from Stephen Harper and instead, read up on Canada’s Lester B.




  1. obama would be doin as well to also consult the ghost of fdr

  2. No kidding. He really has to step it up.