Saturday, April 30, 2011

Vote Early, Vote Often & Vote Smart!

Rachel Carson has said, "There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature---the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter." This comforts me in times of crisis and yet, and yet....
Like the tax deadline (see previous post), which is today, election times rolls around for us all and I have launched my appeal, my rant, my call to action, sending out a blind cc to about sixty people on my email list. I was in full gallop, full throttle, full flight (all terms I heard applied to me from those friends who thanked me for sending it out) and so I'm emboldened to go public in this forum. 
Please go to to check on what is happening in your riding so that the many millions of progressive, decent people in Canada can actually be fully represented in our federal parliament. I so loathe bullies, big and small, and Carson's gentle words do not lull me to sleep, not in the least. There is another way of being in this world and there is wisdom in changing paths and approaches when something is very wrong, when something is not working well as is the case with our parliament. 
I have been so heartened by friends who have responded to my plea, telling me that they are sitting down with or phoning and speaking with their adult children and imploring them to research the parties and to vote, no matter what. It's just too important to ignore, to play cynic or to be just plain stupid and then to complain after the fact that 'all politicians are crooked' and 'it'll never change', meaning the way things are run by 'other' people. 
Nobody is perfect and democracy is imperfect, especially the current first past the post method which does not represent many, many citizens in this country. We need to work together in good faith at all levels and to think our way through obnoxious fear-based ads and glossy ads with waterfalls and mountains and Stephen Harper waddling out into a crowd while the voice-over intones: We need courageous warriors. Oh, give me strength & consider the alternatives to democracy around this planet... here goes.
Hello friends, all thoughtful Canadians,
Please take 30 seconds to check out your own postal code as well as the handy map below in the email, riding by riding across Canada, okay, make that 2 minutes.... I'm certainly not telling you or anyone how to vote but just please do vote and, I beg of you, and I apologize in advance but this is truly necessary: please, on your unfettered way to your neighbourhood ballot box, please visualize Stephen Harper's smug, sneering face and hear his carefully coached, modulated new voice, topped off with that ghastly coif sprayed into submission (his preferred posture for all subjects, and objects, for that matter), ever on the lookout for ways and means to suppress dissenting opinions. Or to just take his toys from the sandbox, shut down the sandbox entirely, surround it with armed personnel and proceed to govern based on ideology rather than facts, gained from a proper national census or by genuine consultation in good faith with other democratically elected representatives, for example.
& just think what this fellow would do with a parliamentary majority to bully the House and the country, not to mention his clodhopper performance continuing on the international stage! Oh wait, he quashed funding for Canadian performance tours overseas or even just across the border for fear that artists, when beyond his control, might say or do something he might not approve of. Royal Winnipeg Ballet, be warned not to deviate from the choreography of Giselle! Although this Prime Minister with dictatorial tendencies gives me the Willies, straight out of that classic dance, so you see, it's all connected! Perhaps I should explain how I really feel.
I am such an amiable sort of gal, really, except when I'm furious with sneaky, bullying power-mongers and those bastards are everywhere, it seems. Time to stand up, be counted and to endure some flack for it, no big deal. I have two succinct words for flack-throwers at the sincere intent of this email and the second word is, with feeling, YOU!
The main thing is to vote in this crucial election. We need to rewrite the rules so that the antiquated first past the post system is not the only measurement of the will of the people, for starters, but vote now, as you see fit, perhaps for the party which has pledged true representation if elected. This is no time to be cynical (=stupidly snooty) or too busy (=self-absorbed). Do not ignore history-- recent parliamentary Canadian history or WW2 or the current upheavals in Africa and the Middle East where fed-up citizens are shedding blood just to get past longtime dictators to a ballot box! Vote smart, if possible, hold your nose if you must, but just vote. Apathy is the indulgence of the privileged and/or the blissfully ignorant and it is certainly not a reasonable response at this juncture.
Think of it as contributing to an underground citizen's coalition so that the tolerant and civilized values of the Canadian majority are not tromped on by a pack (less than 33% as of today, apparently) of retrograde individuals apparently itching to build more prisons and simultaneously cut programs for poor people and children, which might keep them out of prisons in the long run, of course.  To name but one topsy-turvy example of punitive righteousness run amuck.
Onwords! Upwords!
Caroline, now calmly heading for the garden