Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Honestly?

<April 5/12> Honestly, I haven’t been feeling all that cheery lately, mostly, & all the stuff I’ve been writing is kind of dark & dreary, for example I wrote something the other day called ‘Dying’ – sort of like a really long poem, I guess, although I don’t write pomes as a rule…

& yesterday (Wednesday, actually) while surrounded by a circus-y atmosphere of political theatre characterized by nonsense & irony & posturing & … well, never mind, the … people (politicians) involved did ultimately vote the right way

it came to me that I’d like to start recording a list of things I wonder, & I do honestly wonder these things (something else I wrote recently is called ‘Liars’ – did I point out that my mind is kind of on the sober side lately? & that may seem like a non-sequitur but it isn’t really, being around politicians & thinking of lying, this is not a non-sequitur)

& so here’s my list of things I honestly wonder about, & of course this kind of list could go on for days…but I’ll only write ‘till my fingers are sore & then I’ll get back to “the REAL world,” so here goes:

Honestly, people…

  • Why are some politicians such utter DINOSAURS??? Or, hmmm, I guess it isn’t just politicians is it, it’s people, period. Why are some of us so darn stuck in a vision of “the good old days” (which of course everyone always says were not as good as some folks pretend they were) that we can’t see the noses right in front of our faces? I mean honestly
  • I also marvel at the greed & duplicity & rapaciousness & dishonesty of some people, I mean how do these people live with themselves?? I will go to my grave, I think, wondering about this. Honestly.
  • I sometimes wonder too, don’t phoney people know they are phoney? Can they not spot their own phoneyness?? Really???
  • Politicians & people who talk about democracy… Yesterday a politician who strikes me as a wee bit (well, maybe more than just a wee bit) phoney used the phrase “our great democracy” & I was dying to give him a ‘Platitude of the Day’ award or maybe tie him for an ‘Irony of the Day’ award with another politician, who’d begged for support for a cancer fundraiser in his community (I’m aware of what I just said, btw) with no hint of irony over the fact that these very same politicians are bringing us a garbage incinerator that will bring increased rates of dangerous air pollution & cancer (they just can’t seem to GET this, can they???) & also on the irony front, this is a council that can spout platitudes like “our great democracy” right after they’ve just limited the amount of time that “deputations” (i.e., the great unwashed public) can speak & have a say about all these matters affecting us & whose tax dollars pay their salaries & office space & overhead & pensions…..I mean honestly, dudes, how do you deal with yourselves???
  • But then I wonder too when I hear non-politicians who refer to our political system as a “democracy.” Was it ever really a democracy?? I’m not so sure it ever actually was. Oh sure it’s a treat & I guess even a privilege to live in Canada compared to tons of countries we could name but let’s stop pretending it’s a democracy, oh lazy people who think democracy means marking your ballot once every blue moon (or failing to do so, even!!) & then checking out & doing your own thing for the next 4 years. I mean honestly. If you think this is a democracy we are living in, you are not paying attention

** Note: some relevant quotations about democracy down below & also here

Well I guess I could go on here indefinitely, almost, but I’m itching for a cup of coffee & I’m even (more than) a little tired of my own negativity of late, but here’s 1 last thing I just gotta say

  • This big charade we’re all engaged in, this big civilization-about-to-go-under gig, yeah, that one, the one we’re not allowed to talk about – why is it we’re so darn afraid to talk about it?? Is everyone afraid we’ll all collapse into great big blobs of pathetic quivering jelly or something? Will saying the words out loud destroy & devastate us more than pretending it isn’t happening & then acting all shocked & horrified later, as things get worse & worse & worse? I mean honestly

Janet

p.s. well there are other things I honestly wonder about, like, when women are being dishonest &/or petty &/or control freak-y, do we notice we’re being petty & dishonest & control freak-y?? (I sure notice.) When men are being dishonest &/or patronizing &/or control freak-y, are they aware they are doing it???

p.p.s. I’m going to try & re-locate my cheerful, uplifting Pollyanna persona soon, & write something cheerful & uplifting soon, I mean it. I’ll try I’ll try I’ll try, I promise, I promise I promise. I mean it I mean it I mean it. Honestly

(‘cos I don’t even like myself when I’m in this kind of head space…)

p.p.p.s. if you feel insulted or minimized or….whatever…by my tone here, & do feel too afraid to talk about stuff & are just kind of in despair about it, consider reading this old posting about ‘Despair & Empowerment’ okay? It might just help…

p.s. # 4: & I’m still walking every day, & talking, & singing often-ish, & hanging out with people, oh yeah. Walking helps a lot

Relevant Quotations Promised

“True democracy is only possible when people have effective power over their own affairs, their own goals, and their own resources. The larger the governing unit, the less responsive it is to human needs, the more bureaucratic and inefficient its administration. Government, we must always remind ourselves, is not (or should not be) a professionally organized system to tell people how to run their affairs; it is (or should be) a means whereby people themselves are enabled to resolve matters in their own community.” ~ John Papworth in Putting Power In Its Place

“Life is a passion of activity, or it is nothing. Genuine democracy rests, not upon an attitude of pleased expectation of receiving, not upon an irresponsible sense of liberty to work one’s will, but upon unflinching self-surrender, unceasing activity in behalf of the common good. Services must be voluntarily rendered, often more strenuous than those exacted by superiors under the old feudal order. For democracy is a stern and lofty creed of willing self-denial, of responsibilities staunchly borne, or it is a chaos and a failure, a stampede of the masses for power or for gain.” – Margaret Sherwood, 1918

“A politician is required to listen to humbug, talk humbug, condone humbug. The most we can hope for is that we don’t actually believe it.”Character in P.D. James’ A Taste for Death

“The most serious threat to democracy is the notion that it has already been achieved.” – Source unknown

Tommy Douglas on Fascism: “Once more let me remind you what fascism is. It need not wear a brown shirt or a green shirt – it may even wear a dress shirt. Fascism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege.”

(plenty more related to politics & democracy here, & plenty more, period, listed here)

Quote of the day’ with this post: “A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.” – Bertrand De Jouvenel

06

04 2012

Egypt: This is what the people can do!

I heard on CBC radio on Thursday that, after the 17 days of massive protest against him in the streets of Cairo, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak had decided to step down.

Well.

What can I say??

What I can say is that THIS is what the people can do.

THIS is what determination…& courage … mean.

This is what sheer guts can lead to. (Along with cooperation, of course; we are not islands, after all!)

Wow!!!!

And there are several issues I’m currently involved with that I know call for civil disobedience here in Canada. A couple of nuclear ones, a waste incinerator being planned. Always, always, always climate change.

And I want to ask all my friends to take part in some principled acts of civil disobedience in the days & months ahead.

And I know they won’t.

Because. Because why? Because this is Canada.

This is where we are so polite (so afraid of our own shadows), we even reflexively say “Thank you!” to the police officer who gives us a speeding ticket (yes, I did this once, a million years ago now. Boy was I taught my pleases & thank-you’s well!!)

We don’t do civil disobedience here.

We have a corrupt, self-serving, hypocritical & bordering-on-Bush clone federal prime minister & political party “in charge” – & odds are, Canadians may vote these… “leaders” (note the quotation marks) back in. (They were voted in by default, because so many Canadians DON’T VOTE).

And/or because we ourselves are foolish & deluded & … because our political system is adversarial; it’s not really aimed at cooperation – although we pretend & always claim we are living in a “democracy.”

Ack ack ack!!!!!!!!!

A friend & I had had a good chuckle on the phone the day before. I’d said to her, “Yikes. What, in this pathetic country of ours, would actually get people out in the streets? What would get people off their comfortable, complacent, lazy asses… & out in the streets protesting?”

Hmmmm????

And she said, “Hmmmm. Maybe if the price of a case of beer went up by $10?”

& then we had a grand old laugh.

‘Cos she probably got that about right. The price of gas – &/or the price of beer: these are things that might get Canadians really exercised.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Canada.

Shame on us for our sheer apathy

Janet

P.S. And bless these brave Egyptian people – for their sheer courage

P.P.S. You can find some quotations about courage here. Some political quotes here

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “Each day we are born again to start our life anew. What we do today is what matters most.” ~ Buddha

Runner-up quotes: “Talk – Action = Zero” ……… ad in Jan/Feb. 2009 ‘Watershed Sentinel’ magazine

“Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as cooperation with good.” – Martin Luther King

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” – Margaret Drabble

12

02 2011

New Rules (or, if I ran the world…)

I’m a big fan of Bill Maher & the great & intelligent panel discussions & funny jokes he tells on his TV show “Real Time.” Being a non-TV person myself, I watch these episodes when visiting a friend.

We laugh our socks off listening to Maher, who really does have the most interesting & insightful guests! A relatively recent one, for example, was Jack Kevorkian, who’d just been released from prison. Very clever & witty guy!

Maher also has a portion of the show called “New Rules.” He rhymes off a whole bunch of clever “new rules” about things that are in the news that are really raising his dander. They’re always incisive, well-worded & hilarious.

Now, I recently attended a Council meeting in Pembroke, Ontario. (Just for the record, this was on April 20, 2010.)

Pembroke is a small city in eastern Ontario, Canada (population? I think around 14,000) that is situated on the mighty Ottawa River. Up river from Ottawa (Canada’s capital city) & downriver from the town & nuclear facilities at Chalk River (also just for the record). Pembroke is home to the SRB tritium light facility, also. (I should say more about this, but not today… Check out this site for more. The Rick Mercer skit is a must-see!)

I couldn’t help myself during this meeting. I scrawled some notes about new rules I’d make if I ran the world – all of them coming as a result of watching the antics & shenanigans of the Council as they went about their business. (I’ve been to lots of Council meetings in my time, in several small towns. Folks used to suggest I run for Council myself back in two I used to live in, but for one thing, I used to believe I wasn’t smart enough. Then too, I’ve always said the stuff small town politicians deal with is just too darn boring. Personally, I’d really rather watch paint dry…)

Well. I could say plenty about the stuff that went on at the meeting, & why I was there, & all that kind of razz-ma-tazz, but I’m going to spare you.

Instead, I’m just going to tell you the “New Rules” I came up with, OK? Here goes:

Business suits are to be abolished! Neckties also. I have always firmly believed that when men get themselves all suited up in suits & neckties, it cuts off their circulation. Their brains & good ideas. Their humanity, humour & common sense. It somehow just seems to make them lose touch with down-to-earth-ness. Off with the suits, I say!!

Henceforth, all meetings in the world will be conducted in circles. No fancy raised platforms for tribunal members, mayors, politicians or any other assorted (& self-proclaimed) experts & bigshots. Everyone sits in the same circle. Capiche?

The Lord’s prayer (almost always recited quickly, by rote, & with no depth, meaning or sincerity whatsoever) is to be replaced by a 3-minute reflection on at least 5 things for which one is grateful. This is an exercise that becomes more & more meaningful with time & practice, not less & less so, as appears to be the case with “the Lord’s Prayer.”

Democracy is under stern orders to be spruced up!! It needs to be made more fun; more… sexy?? People stay away from the political process & fail to exercise their democratic rights & responsibilities because all the folks involved seem so damn…serious. Boring. Fun-challenged. Bring on the fun, I say!! Dances. Parades. Music. Fun, dammit! We need some creativity here!!

Fancy titles & roles & any associated fancy-schmancy outfits are to be abolished immediatement. No more “Your Highness” & “Your Excellency” & “Your Worship” & other such fluffy & utterly meaningless, substance-less titles. We is all jes’ folks, hmm? It’s when we revert to roles & their trappings & their associated … bumph (did I just make up a word?) that we lose sight of our common roots & humanity. With the simple fact that we are all just people who pull our pants on one leg at a time (or heck, maybe both at once. Whatever!) Point is, no one is any damn better than anyone else. Got that?

Janet

p.s. a few bracing quotations about democracy (just ‘cos I feel like it & Hey! this is my blog; I get to say whatever I like!):

“The most serious threat to democracy is the notion that it has already been achieved.” – Source unknown

“True democracy is only possible when people have effective power over their own affairs, their own goals, and their own resources. The larger the governing unit, the less responsive it is to human needs, the more bureaucratic and inefficient its administration. Government, we must always remind ourselves, is not (or should not be) a professionally organized system to tell people how to run their affairs; it is (or should be) a means whereby people themselves are enabled to resolve matters in their own community.” ~ John Papworth in Putting Power In Its Place

“Life is a passion of activity, or it is nothing. Genuine democracy rests, not upon an attitude of pleased expectation of receiving, not upon an irresponsible sense of liberty to work one’s will, but upon unflinching self-surrender, unceasing activity in behalf of the common good. Services must be voluntarily rendered, often more strenuous than those exacted by superiors under the old feudal order. For democracy is a stern and lofty creed of willing self-denial, of responsibilities staunchly borne, or it is a chaos and a failure, a stampede of the masses for power or for gain.” – Margaret Sherwood, 1918

Tommy Douglas on Fascism: “Once more let me remind you what fascism is. It need not wear a brown shirt or a green shirt – it may even wear a dress shirt. Fascism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege.”

“Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to totalitarianism.” ~ Noam Chomsky

“The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” Alex Carey

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” – H.L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)[Now ain’t that one a beauty! Any recent Prez’s come to mind??]

“You want sanity, democracy, community, an intact Earth? We can’t get there, obeying Constitutional theory and law crafted by slave masters, imperialists, corporate masters, and Nature destroyers. We can’t get there, kneeling before robed lawyers stockpiling class plunder precedent up their venerable sleeves. So isn’t disobedience the challenge of our age? Principled, inventive, escalating disobedience to liberate our souls, to transfigure our work as humans on this Earth.” – Richard Grossman

“Democracy is not something you believe in or a place to hang your hat, but it’s something you do. You participate. If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles.” – Abbie Hoffman

** lots more relevant quotes here


 

16

05 2010