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An Open Letter to People Who Don’t Vote

vote hereYou suck.

Seriously. You do.

Today after work I made the effort to go vote. I know, living in a democracy and having the inconvenience of another ‘errand’ after work is awfully demanding.

There were no protestors blocking the entrance, and there was no funny business going on with vote tampering that I could see. No one coerced me into voting for a specific candidate. Nope.

Despite the recent assault on our country, the polling station here in my urban community was a pretty unthreatening place to be. If we don’t get a little more passionate about the way our country is led, this could soon change.

Like most citizens, I feel a bit beleaguered by the egoist, party-favouring politicians we have today. As much as I do feel that my vote is one of the lesser of two, maybe three evils, I still vote. After all, if I don’t like it, I can always throw my hat in the three-ring-political circus we call Canadian democracy.

If, like many people during the past provincial and federal elections you want to protest the whole shamozzle, you have the option of protest-voting, or declining your vote. That is to say, that when you’re handed your ballot, you accept the ballot, and then hand it back to the over-paid person sitting on the other side of the table, and they must register your vote as ‘declined’.

During the last election, this got quite a bit of attention. There was a clear message sent to our government that citizens were getting fed-up with their antics.

This is not going to be a finish-your-dinner-because-there-are-children-starving-in-China rant. No. What it is, is a list of rights you give up when you choose not to vote.

You give up the right to;

1) Pollute public aural space with your uneducated and ignorant opinions having anything to do with our country.

2) Pay respect to our veterans. By not voting you metaphorically spit in their face.

3) Bitch, whine, or moan about what social services you have available to yourself and  your loved ones.

4) Say anything about any kind of tax or the way public money is spent.

5) Live and work in a culture that is free from discrimination of any kind.

6)  Publicly funded education and all income support programs

7) Any international respect that comes with being a Canadian.

8) Call yourself a Canadian.

People who don’t vote,  roll out the welcome mat for the destruction of democracy. They perpetuate a dangerous apathy that has eroded our national values.

If you didn’t vote, or register your ‘declined’ vote, I feel behooved to tell you that you suck.

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Christmas Rant: Part I

The War in the Vendée was a royalist uprising ...
The War in the Vendée was a royalist uprising that was suppressed by the republican forces in 1796 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, ‘Part I’. There may, indeed, be a ‘Part II’ , depending upon how stupid things get before the new year.

Last year the grand ‘we’,  declined to see the value in the Occupy Wall Street campaign, that was staggeringly avoided by major press agencies.

We let the dreadlocked-live-our-values-over-charged-for-our-mediocre-educations-and-under-employed youth, fight it out in the streets for the middle class. The middle class, who are losing their ever crippling grip on the edge of affluence as they march to the hypnotically convincing drum of ‘The Man’.

‘The Man’, yep, that pretty much almost sums it up. Consider two facts from Joseph E. Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality;

“The top 1% earned more than 65 percent of the total national income [in the United States], ” and, ” …the ratio of CEO annual compensation to that of the typical worker by 2010 was back to what it had been before the crisis, to 243 to 1“.

While the media reports on Miley’s junior-miss sized twerking patooty, in above-the-fold-full-colour-coverage, they give about half of that coverage to reports about unions being vilified (by the powers that be), as unfairly over-compensating workers.

It doesn’t take a PhD in maths to know that the statistics mentioned above impact the majority of folks in not only North America, but everywhere on the planet.

When we treat silver-spoon born Conrad Black as a real journalist, and Rob Ford as a misunderstood ‘average guy’, we’re wrong. Dead wrong. Rob Ford’s Escalade is worth 3x that of the average vehicle (a simple Honda Civic) owned by those living in the GTA, and his assets multiply to have net value in the millions.

Toronto has a mayor who openly flaunts the rules, degrades homosexuals, women and anyone else who thinks differently than him, and uses the excuse that the press is too rough on him to get away with it all. Actually, his big bully brother does the talking. The day I knew we’d lost all dignity as a nation was the one that showed Mr. Ford and his compadres dancing like  idiots in council chambers just days after having his mayoral power stripped from him.

Only someone with the wealth of Mr. Black has the gumption to whine about being incarcerated for being a liar and a cheat. Call it fraud, bad accounting, whatever…it’s lying and cheating at the cost of everyone else who shares the same planet.

The worst part is, we let it happen. Yes, read this slowly; we allow this to happen. Instead of rioting in the street, we go to work, pay our taxes, and our over-inflated power, cell phone and health care bills.

Let me get back to the subject of unions. We’ve seen unions vilified by the Conservative government and big business, so much so that we’ve bought into this anti-union perspective.

Unions may have been gauche in the booming 80’s, but today we live a different economic and social reality. The reality is that unions are needed now more than they were needed in the past thirty or forty years. For over thirty years, the average annual income of a full-time worker stagnated, while the profits at the top have multiplied at astonishing rates.

Young adults entering the workforce are under-employed at alarming rates. Not to mention everyone one else. The days of full-time jobs with benefits that sustain a comfortable lifestyle are over. Instead, we have the majority of people working at part-time or contract jobs, unable to sustain themselves, or have any measure of security.

Besides being unable to pay their bills, folks in jobs that are not secure suffer from more illness and social problems than ever before. Economic instability feeds fear, and that creates a downward spiraling quagmire of social issues; homelessness, addiction, abuse, crime, and all of the other wonderful side-effects of poverty.

The top 1%’s after tax income reached an average of $1.3 million in the United States in 2010. That of the bottom 20% only reached $17,000. No wonder big-business-journalism and politics doesn’t like unions. Unions distribute the wealth and offer job security.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are issues with unions too. Look at the billions of dollars of bailout money that went to Automakers with no conditions to streamline their production or offer more affordable, environmentally friendly products. Despite the obvious lazy-barnacles that infest unions (they also infest non-union environments at the same rate though), I’d rather live with unions to ensure more people with full-time jobs, than with what is happening now.

Canada and the U.S.,  live in a world of performing-party-politicking that leaves us without leaders in a wild-western-hemisphere black-hole of civilization.

If we leave the world up to those with no social conscience, and a taste for greed rather than loving-kindness, there will be many darker days to come, than this, the longest night of the year.

 

 

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Our Crack Smoking Mayor & The State of Our Nation

Crack Pipe
Crack Pipe (Photo credit: TylerIngram)

Hold the presses! After months of outright denial of crack use, Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford has admitted that he did, indeed smoke crack.Somebody put me over your knee and spank me. I couldn’t be more shocked darlings.

Just kidding.

“He should not resign. He has to be charged, tried, and found guilty. This is Canada,” said one Toronto city counsellor.

This is Canada.

Frightening, no?

We live in a country where justice prevails? No. We live in a country where our political leaders are not held accountable to lies, deceit, and abuse of power.

Consider also, that today the unconstitutional suspension of some of our Senators took place. Our Prime Minister and the Conservative party have a dark cloud of questionable behaviour regarding voter coersion, shutting down parliament, and most recently, the unethical if not illegal set-up of these three Senators to fall.

This is Canada eh?

You bet your sweet fur-panty covered petunia it is.

We are a nation led by the super-wealthy minority, and their naive middle-class, RRSP investing wanna-be’s.

We whine about taxes, but turn an eye to the gross amounts of money invested in high-paying beaurocratic jobs and point the finger at users of a social system that barely provides enough support to feed and shelter a person even if they’ve worked hard for decades.

We believe the news fed to us by a corporate entity with powerful political clout. We question nothing.

I challenge every single Canadian reading this to do a little investigation into ANY government department. The majority of money spent is at the upper level, for inflated salaries, repetitive planning and process tweaking (I’m not talking millions here folks, I’m talking billions). Been there, seen the waste, had the T-shirt torn from my back.

This is a huge problem throughout the federal, provincial, and municipal governments.

Oh yah, I almost forgot. Beware the Canadian career politician who is more interested in seeing their face on the evening news than fighting for ethical and socially responsible policy making and governance.

This is Canada.

We live in a country where people from across the globe seek refuge from severely broken, religion-tangled and poor countries.

For some they are grateful, for others, they work to make a positive difference. Still, for others moving to Canada they seize the opportunity to bring their mucked up system to a new country and tell us all how much better it was at home. And we let them!

This is Canada.

Tommy Douglas, Jack Layton and Margaret Atwood….now that’s Canada.

It’s time we challenged the status quo and admittted we live in a shattered system. It’s time we showed up; on Parliament Hill, at Queen’s Park, outside the local MP’s office, in council chambers, and take back the Canada we once could be so proud of.

I’m finished ranting now. Someone call the mayor of Toronto and get me something to take away the pain of witnessing the fall of our great country.