Saturday 22 Oct 2016

They're at the Polls
Bob Stark

As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action....: . Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests."

Gore Vidal, Writer

A recent Ipsos-Reid poll suggests almost 40% of those surveyed believe the Conservatives under Stephen Harper are the most trusted party "to provide an open, responsible and ethical government".

I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to vote in another election. What's the point?

Seriously. I'm not suggesting that the members of her majesty's loyal opposition are saints but were those 40% asked if they were aware of why the government fell, precipitating the election?

The Conservatives were found in contempt of Parliament. The first time in our history a government has been so chastised.

Two or three... or more... I've lost count.... of their members are being investigated by the RCMP. Then there was the Bev Oda fiasco.... or NOT.

These are the more recent, known breaches of decency and democracy.  

On the election trail, Harper restricts his appearances to well-planned/screened photo-ops, with the press, restricted to four questions per day, kept standing far away, behind barriers, like protesters at the G8 Summit.

And they call it democracy.

We are basically a Petro-state with the Americans so far up our corporate and governmental asses they get to pull the puppet strings. In times of energy shortfalls, it is mandated that the Yanks will get our oil and gas first, giving new meaning to the old phrase shouted by Albertans during the Trudeau era's infamous National Energy Program - "freeze you Eastern bastards!" 

While the glaciers in the Himalayas and the ice in the Arctic melt, the Alberta Tar Sands are not even a major election issue. The mind boggles.

If Stephen Harper is the Paul Simonesque "Boy in the Bubble", the country seems to be hiding its collective head in the oil sands. Crisis? What crisis?

More troubling, Harper says people don't really care about parliamentary procedure etc; they're focused on the economy. As long as our wallets are full, nobody cares much about such messy things as democratic procedures. Right. Our country has become Chicago in the 1930s. Somewhere Al Capone is smiling. While the government announces more international free trade agreements, they practice an odd form of protectionism at home. Here's 50 bucks; now shut'up, give us a majority, and enjoy your freedom.

Child poverty? Remember that issue? A commitment, last Century, by all parties, to eliminate it. Still there folks! But wait.. we have 30 billion to buy fighter jets. We will spend roughly 75 million on each plane. The US Military estimates are to spend 150 million on each plane... the same plane the Canadian government is buying. Harper says the Yanks estimates are different than ours for various reasons.. and ergo, ispo facto, are not comparable. Yo Dude! What are you smoking? A 75 million/per plane difference! C'mon Man! That is just not credible. More to the point, the government is hiding the real numbers. Slight of hand, magic wand politics... for which you and I will pay through the nose holes.

Why do we need 65 fighter jets? What are we fighting? 
There is absolutely no discussion about the two wars in which we are currently engaged. 
Another soldier dies in Afghanistan and the story is ... buried... on page 6. Ho-hum.
We're in Libya supporting the UN-sanctioned no-fly zone.. .. to protect civilians. Which civilians? When the rebels - whomever they are! - attack GaDaffy Duck's troops in cities, do we protect civilians? Just asking.

Build more prisons? Sure. Let's get more psychiatric patients and drug addicts off the streets... and hide them, cause damned if we're going to spend more public money on health care.  

So to those 40% in the survey, I ask:

1. What exactly are our ethics?
2. What are our true responsibilities?
3. How 'open' - caring, do we want to be?

Presumably for 40% of the country, it's damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, everything is tickety-boo.

Maybe a few excerpts form this month's Harper magazine's Index will enlighten us re our modern day politics and ethics.

"Percentage by which books on contemporary ethics are more likely than other books to be stolen: 50."

"Estimated portion of registered voters in Zimbabwe who are dead: 1/4."

Let's hope that those 40% surveyed by Ipso Reid were actually still breathing.... even it is with their heads up their butts.
Man, if Harper can't get a majority based on these disturbing results....
I understand Mubarak is looking for a job.

Thank God the baseball season has started!

Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.

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