Peter and Politics

In today’s column, I’m going to reflect on a number of aspects of current politics, and I hope that you can take something away from this “sermon”.

One of my favourite comic strips is “Pearls before Swine”, by Stephan Pastis 1). In one particular episode, Rat, one of the main characters, is confronted by a “repo man”. When Rat asks why the man is there, as he is up to date with his car payments, the “repo man” replies that he is there to repossess Democracy, as people didn’t care to vote, nor did they bother to become informed about the issues. In the third panel, the man leaves with Democracy, and in the final panel, Rat says that he hates when that happens.

I hate when that happens too, but sadly enough, Democracy is in danger of dying from a number of causes. One of these is Apathy. We in North America 2) are blessed with the hard won right to decide for ourselves who will govern us. Doing some elementary research, (and Wiki doesn’t count), will show you beyond a doubt just how tough the struggle was, and how much suffering had to be endured to enable people to have this right today. Yet voter turnout is quite low, which is strange, considering how important one’s vote is in the grand scheme of things. For example, research has shown that Trump’s victory in 2016 was facilitated by the fact that many people stayed home. I also remember reading that if Gore had received five thousand more votes in Florida in 2000, he would have won the election, yet apparently a lot of college students didn’t bother to vote. As an aside, less than 30% of the eligible voters in Barrie, Ontario bothered to vote last Monday.

While one would have hoped that we were smarter people than that, Ontario in its own right elected a party led by an unqualified clown in June. He ran with no visible platform, had minimal contact with the media and reduced his soundbites to “catchwords”, speaking mysteriously of “efficiencies” which lurked unseen, and would passively finance his masterplan, once they were “efficienced” 3). Again, about 40% of all eligible voters chose not to exercise their franchise, and as a result, about 17% of all eligible voters in Ontario gave him a majority of the seats in the provincial legislature.

As a result, worker’s rights, labour laws, education budgets and so much more are being slashed. He wants to repeal Bill 148, which among other things, boosts the hourly minimum wage province wide. One of the saddest pictures I have ever seen I saw yesterday, showing government MPPs 4) cheering after freezing the Ontario minimum wage.

How did we come to this situation as a province? What is his hold on the public, or at least on his adherents? Like his “idol” to the south, he stirs up controversy and division. He turns it into an “Us versus Them” situation. He rails against politicians, civil servants, welfare recipients and immigrants, among others. Because of the discord he stirs up against these “undesirables”,  people shun the altruistic principles that made this province great and welcoming and seamlessly enter the age of “Fuck you Jack, I got mine” 5)

I lost a long time friend over “Mini Trump”, but I can see why. My ex friend has his own home, is retired, married and lives a pretty good life. Food and shelter are not a big concern to him, so why worry about those less fortunate? Prevalent arguments amongst those who support the current Ontario government regarding looking after the less fortunate include “Isn’t it their fault?” and “How come MY taxes have to be used to help fund safe injection sites for drug addicts?”

We face hard times in Ontario over the next 4 years, and the struggle will be fierce and protracted. Let me address the “15 is fair” crowd. I stand beside you in your fight. Death threats and vandalism do not advance your case however, and may turn public opinion against you. Let’s keep to the high road. Extremists on both ends of the political spectrum are a major part of the problem we currently face.

Finishing off with a brief look down south, there is no doubt that the United States is in grave danger at this time, due to the current president and his various and sundry enablers across the country. This professed political “outsider” is completely unqualified for the office which he holds. (I shudder to think what the outcome might have been if Trump had been President during the Cuban Missile Crisis.) He actively foments violence, delegitimizes not only the media, but those who disagree with him and whips up fear and hysteria at his “rallies”. His cult of followers eagerly swallow his obvious and blatant lies and willfully turn a blind eye to voter suppression and other assaults on democracy.

Sometimes I will engage in a “conversation” online, and I’ve noticed something peculiar. About 98% of the time, when someone replies something like “He’s the best president we’ve ever had! Thank God for Mr Trump!”, their profile is very strange. (When you click on their name, you go to their profile.) The posts then show in reverse temporal order. You might see a post from last month, then one from February, then nothing for quite some time. In one case, the next post was made in 2016!

What’s strange is that there are no pictures of BBQs, or happy birthday wishes or grandchild pictures, none of the normal traffic that you would normally have on a Facebook page. Often there are no friends, no other activities, yet they just happened to jump into this conversation to praise Trump. Strange indeed.

In closing, above is a letter to the editor of a major newspaper defending Trump. Take a look at it. The writer makes a statement “I have watched the U.S. decline over the past 10 years and feel that Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is long overdue.” Having said this, he does not put forth one viable argument to prove his point, resorting to vague mutterings and frankly odd sentence structure. “…The article did not mention his appropriate mentality or his excellent policies….” (WTF???) Then he reverts to the “Whadabout” chestnut. Really? Assad? Putin? Killary’s emails? 6) Sort of the internet equivalent of “I know you are, but what am I?” I realize that these letters are edited, but they wouldn’t have changed his words THAT much in editing……unless you believe in “Fake News”.

So America, mid terms are coming. Get out and vote. Start taking your country back!!

Matt Groening fore told in the mid 1980s that the people who had pushed your face into the water fountain in high school would eventually be on the radio, telling you that your country is at war.

See you soon

1) An excellent comic strip

2) As I live in Canada, I will speak to that which I know.

3) Made up verb, based on “efficiencies”.

4) Member of Provincial Parliament; provincial representative in Ontario

5) If my profanity offends you more than what is happening, you just might be part of the problem.

6) Albeit that may have been edited out.


4 Responses to “Peter and Politics”

  1. peter mossman Says:

    QUIETLY, CALMLY and CEVERLY PUT—What worries me is those in positions to put a stop to this man do nothing–it all reminds me of old western movies where the town is taken over by some bad ass and no one will make a move until the guy in the white hat rides into town–WHERE IN GOD’S NAME IS OUR (their guy actually) GUY IN A WHITE HAT

  2. Teresa Coulter Says:

    Bravo Peter. Your opinions totally mirror mine. This has been a particularly bad week for the states. First the pipe bombs and yesterday the tragedy in Pittsburg. Trump had the opportunity to send a strong message of unity to the American people. But of course he didn’t. Ford would be a joke if he wasn’t so dangerous. I shudder to think what might happen to this province while he is in office.

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