Resolving Timeline Issues

Posts Tagged ‘democracy

So, kids, let’s talk about democracy. Because I’d rather do that than stuff diapers at the moment.

I’ll start off by saying that we (and by “we” I mean “Canadians”) live in one of the greatest countries of the world. We’ve got a nice blend of capitalism and socialism – decent health care and other social services, freedom from illegal search and seizure, and so on.

And it’s because we live in a democracy. Every four or five years (give or take – I’m not getting into how elections get scheduled here) we vote for a new government. It could be the same as before, it could be different – but each election is a chance for change.

Often, because of the way the electoral system works, there is only a change when people are good and pissed off. This is what is known as the protest vote. People come out in droves to vote because they finally have an opinion, usually about the outgoing government.

Are we good so far? Do you have my main point? That it is the electorate – citizens – that control who is in power.

Since 2001, there has been a marked change in how elections take place. Throughout campaigning, there has been an emphasis on fear. What I have noted over and over is that politicians need to tell me why to vote for them and not why I shouldn’t vote for the other guy. All they tell me is that if I vote for Candidate X, that will guarantee Armageddon.

And here I thought the Mayans said that would occur in December 2012.

Fear is politics’ commodity. It’s been effectively used before against populations: Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, various pre-democratic and democratic monarchies. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing: fear disguised as hope. And it is, unfortunately, being used far too oftenby politicians against citizens, in what are, ostensibly, democratic countries.

Now given that we live in a democracy, or at least a country with democratic tendencies, who should be scared of whom?

Come back later, and I’ll let you know what I think and give you a reason to unfollow me. But I have to get the roast ready for dinner now.

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I have spent the day surrounded by sheeples (really people, there’s a double door at the entrance to the train station – you don’t need to line up 40 deep in order to get inside and don’t yell at me for skipping the line when I go to open the other door) and my boobs hurt. A lot.

Just to let you know where I am right now.

One of the things I’ve been hearing a lot in the media is that there’s some idea of election exhaustion here in Canada. Not only are we approaching our 3rd election in 4 years, for the last year, we’ve been his with the US primaries and now the US election.

Amy over at BlogHers ACT Canada asks why we’re going to the polls – again and notes the National Post quotes the Prime Minister as saying “this Parliament at its useful end.” Yeah, the PM isn’t getting his way. I’ll agree with that.

I’d also say that the election would have happened anyways, and in short order.  I have to give some props to Stephen Harper for at least attempting to talk to the leaders of the other parties to get some sort of agreement. If Parliament had been recalled, eventually, the Conservative government would have been subjected to a confidence vote, and we’d be in the same place we are now.

Except that it’d be that much closer to Christmas – just like last time. When elections are close to major holidays, there is a decrease in the number of votes cast – which means fewer people have a say.

Amy, by the way, has an excellent synopsis on this post of the environmental standpoints of each of the parties (except the Bloc Quebecois of course).

At any rate, I’m not going to discuss the party platforms here. I linked all the parties on this post and they’re linked on Amy’s post noted above. I’ll leave it to you to read the platforms yourself and figure out how you’re going to vote on your own.

Because really, I don’t care how you vote. Just VOTE, dammit. Get out there. Your employer must give you 3 consecutive hours on election day to go vote if your hours of work do not otherwise allow it. That is time with pay.

Why don’t I care how you vote? Because of that nasty first past the post/concentration of votes in ridings thing I mentioned in an earlier post. I flip my vote all the time – I have voted Conservative, Liberal, NDP and once, even, the Marijuana Party (and then I got smart about one-issue parties. And stopped smoking pot).

So I flip my vote depending on the issues of the day. And here’s the thing: often, its the party with the most grass-roots issues that gets my vote. I guess I tend towards the grassroots side.

My dad didn’t vote for many years. He was jaded, disillusioned. And then in the last election, he registered to vote because he didn’t want the Conservatives to form a government. And that’s as good a reason as any.

The problem is, in democratic countries, we take the right to vote for granted. Ask anyone from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus or any of the other former Soviet countries – its not a given. Do not take it for granted.

Instead, see it as the blessing it is, and exercise that right, regardless of your degree of election exhaustion.

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

– Sir Winston Churchill

Also posted at Wet Coast Women

Two things to ponder this Labour Day Weekend:

1. New Orleans is Sinking…again

Hurricane Gustav is projected to make landfall tomorrow morning as a Category 4 Hurricane.

Folks, almost exactly three years ago Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as a Category 3.

Can’t these people just catch a fucking break?

2. Bree Van de Kamp Hodge – I mean, Sarah Palin

I was sitting in my parents’ living room, minding my own business, when Mom flipped the TV to CBC Newsworld. They announced the presumptive Republican Presidential Candidate had picked someone named Sarah Palin as his running-mate.

Oh, I thought to myself. A woman; I wonder who she is? Hm, probably just trying to grab those PUMAs who are now voting republican because Hillary didn’t win. (yes, I think semi-colons sometimes).

So I fired up my laptop, got into dad’s wireless and asked Google who this mystery woman was.

And was promptly scared out of my skin.

I wrote earlier how I was, at the end of the day, disappointed that Hillary Clinton didn’t win – at some fundamental level, I really hoped a woman would become President. Vice-President then? It would have been bad for Obama’s legitimacy to have her as a running mate, so okay.

But Sarah Palin scares the bejeezus out of me. She is, in my (not-so) humble opinion, the kind of Republican that gives Republicans a bad name. She seems to be the Bree Van de Kamp Hodge of Alaska (read: Republican, member of the NRA, and a story on the DailyKos reads like a story from Desperate Housewives)

The MOMocrats have a good primer on Governor Palin. I’m going to leave aside the environmental concerns and the tax issues. What alarms me is the “pro-life” moniker.

Lets just get something straight: the debate on abortion is between “pro-life” and “pro-choice”; I imagine there are very few people out there who are “pro-abortion.” And if you are pro-life, great. The world needs people like you. But your values are not my values – and I value having the choice that cases like Roe v. Wade have given.

Governor Palin’s version of pro-life is to be anti-abortion, even in the case of rape or incest.

So lets get this straight: a teenager is raped, becomes pregnant and is forced to have the child and make a decision whether to give the child up for adoption or raise it herself.

Sure, there’s a choice there – a life altering choice no teenager should have to make. And you’ve put two lives in danger.

Or a pregnant woman with severe pre-eclampsia is admitted to hospital after fighting for a long time just to get pregnant. The doctors can’t control it and if they don’t terminate, the lives of the babies and the mother will be lost. One of the babies has already died, the other is struggling, and the mother is in severe danger. Take away the choice to terminate and you end up with three deaths instead of two.

On the flipside, there’s the whole issue of choice. Many women have fought long and hard to be seen as equals/near-equals to men when it comes to governing their own bodies. And it is a quick slippery slope down to reverting to a time when women had no choice.

So think about it: do you value your “fundamental freedoms” (i.e. choice) more than you value the right to life?

But she’s only set up for the Vice-Presidency. She’s basically an advisor, say those who may not agree with me.

Well, yes. And no. John McCain is 72 with a history of health problems including being in remission for cancer. If anything happens to him, she’s the one in power. She sets the agenda (*gulp*).

Are you willing to have your right to choose – not just over your own body, but over everything that women have engaged in a hard-fought, long campaign for? Are you willing to run that risk?

As Hillary Clinton said, its about policy, not personality. But its also about values. Policy, at the end of the day is about the collective values of a society. Again, those come back to democracy. The fundamental tenet of democracy is about choice: to vote (or not); to pick between candidates; to choose different candidates for different bodies.

The pursuit of happiness is vested in choice.

And those values that take away choice are simply not acceptable in a democratic country.

This post is related to the MOMocrats‘ “Palin in Comparison” series, which starts tomorrow. Go over there to read.

  • In: Political
  • Comments Off on Come together, right now

over him.

I took a break from cutting down a rather large box, to watch part of the Democratic Nomination process. I knew what was going to happen: at some point, someone would move to suspend the rules of the convention and nominate Barack Obama by acclamation.

Then California passed. I was madly twittering about this, trying to figure it out when Julie over at the MOMocrats posted the reason: because they didn’t want to skew the votes so that everyone would have the opportunity to have their votes count – a largely symbolic thing, but symbols matter. They often matter more than people realize. But that’s a subject for another post.

I went back to my box cutting. And Illinois passed. I madly twittered about this to no response.

And then a funny thing happened. When they got to New Mexico, Obama had just over 1500 votes. And New Mexico yielded the floor to Illinois. And the cameras panned to Hillary Clinton coming in. I dropped the knife I was using and came over to the TV. And I started welling up.

Illinois yielded to New York. And when New York had its moment, Senator Clinton made the motion of her life:

“With eyes firmly fixed on the future in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and country, let’s declare together in one voice, right here and right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president,” Mrs. Clinton said.

“I move that Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.”

(Quote published in The New York Times)

And then my tears really started streaming. Hope and joy…and a bit of disappointment. And I finally understood Joanne over at PunditMom, who’s been having a hard time with Senator Clinton not winning. To be blunt, I finally get that for a lot of people, the choice between two men is often the choice of the lesser of two evils.

I think it was sometime around the age of 8 or 9, I asked my Mom, “Why are all the Presidents men?” I don’t remember what she said, but I remember not being satisfied – thinking there was something fundamentally WRONG with the fact that no woman had ever been leader of the United States (or Canada) for that matter. That formed some sort of basis in me: that women have good ideas, are equal, and deserve political, economic and social equality and equity.

And although I like Senator Obama – I like him a lot – on some fundamental level, I was really looking forward to having a woman in the most powerful post in the world.

Not. This. Time. And Senator Clinton’s motion for acclamation made it real. It was the best thing she could do for the sake of the party: a call for all Democrats to come together, right now, over Barack Obama.

Then the “ayes” came – one unified voice behind the Democratic Candidate for President. And the power of that

Democracy, at its base, is the will of the many. Although I cannot vote in the US elections, I would encourage my neighbours to the south to think about the good of the many before they vote – whatever your personal status, look at your neighbours, your towns. Then think about it.

Then vote. And even if voting for the good of the many means for voting for the lesser of the two evils for you personally, consider it. Come together.


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