Archives for posts with tag: Stephen Harper

One of the more contentious political rallying cries among non-Conservative voters this election has been to hurl obscenities about Stephen Harper out into the void. This raises concerns that civil discourse within Canada is being eroded beyond mudslinging and into immature pettiness.

What is the value of language? If we look at the sentence, “Those fucking lazy Indians wouldn’t be getting murdered if they just got off their asses and got a job!” and compare it to, “One of the major drivers of missing and murdered aboriginal women is lack of economic activity, or simply put, a lack of a job” we can see that one really isn’t much different from the other. The phrasing is different and one is certainly more crass, but the content is essentially the same. In any dialectic, it is content that is most essential.

So what is the content of a “Fuck Harper” slogan? There isn’t any. It’s the name of our political leader with a strong negative connotation attached to it. It offers no reasoning, no evidence, and no point beyond what amounts to a dog growling at someone at the door. The “Fuck Harper” mentality is, at best, feral.

I want to go completely off track here and talk about the Vancouver riot. Remember that?

She really is just mooning the whole world, isn't she?

The ass-shot that lived in infamy.

What a delightful time that was!

Vancouverites were devastated by this riot, and many volunteered to aid with the cleanup the morning after. There were a few reasons given for how a community could riot over what amounts to the wrong team winning on Family Feud, and most of them centred around there not being enough control of the situation. Too many people in the streets, not enough police presence, not enough access out of town, etc. I think there is a better and more simplistic answer available. People riot because they do not feel connected to their community. A riot is an extreme example of this, but one does not set vehicles on fire if they believe they have a stake in the way their society operates. You don’t throw a brick through a store window if you consider the owner of that store to be your neighbour. People went downtown with the intent to riot, and while greater control might have alleviated the damages caused by the riot, it would not have eliminated the intent of the individuals who saw rioting as a meaningful endeavour to participate in.

If people are devastated by the riot and what it entails, the question must become: what caused the lack of community connection? There are several theories for this. Most businesses are not locally owned, so there is no possible way to form a bond with that organization. Contemporary government does its best to exonerate itself from the community by privatizing everything and approaching their constituents with a hands-off attitude. Government is a symbol of community, and if that government does not appear to care about its populace, then community will never be present. There are millions of reasons, but what it boils down to is people don’t care about their communities because for the most part the community does not care about them. This will always have the potential to lead to something violent and dangerous, as the Vancouver riot demonstrated.

Which brings us back to “Fuck Harper.” This isn’t a slogan of activism; there is nothing substantial behind it. It was not created to change anybody’s mind. It is a warning that dissent exists within communities that feel there is no connection between them and their government. You may even disagree with me that neoliberalism is the root cause of this dissent, but you cannot deny the mentality behind it exists as what I claim it to be. The content, which is paramount, of “Fuck Harper” is a country reaching its tipping point. It is a harbinger of resistance, bubbling to a boil beneath the surface.

I’m pretty sure everyone in Canada, and possibly the world, is terrified of a Trump presidency. The Book of Revelation is pretty specific about what would happen if he were to be elected. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would rain destruction from the skies, and the music of Metallica would blast across the heavens. Now, as awesome as that actually sounds, it really wouldn’t be because brimstone literally smells like rotten farts, and we would all be on fire or something equally terrible.

Now, without all my humble understatement, let’s take a look at what kind of policies Donald Trump would actually enact if he were to become president.

Trump is a smug, arrogant asshole. I don’t think this is in question. I think his supporters actually like this attribute about him because it comes off as slimy confidence. He decorates his buildings with his name, and pastes them all over town. If he were elected, he would probably rebrand the Republican party as the Trump Government, and enforce it in every facet of the system. On top of this, he might set up a portrait gallery in the American equivalent of the House of Commons, dedicated entirely to himself.

Trump, despite his blustering, is actually as thin-skinned as an overstretched drum. He pettily refuses to engage with Fox News after they asked him a hard question and then reacted harshly when he was confronted on it. I mean, if you can’t be on the same team as the most right wing news source outside of a Ku Klux Klan pamphlet because they hurt your precious feelings, then how do you expect to engage with the rest of the radical left-wing commie pinko news organizations that make up the rest of American media? Well, if he became president, he probably wouldn’t.  He might section off journalists from meetings, or not tell them when important events were happening, or simply just micro-manage what journalists could ask ahead of time. Or he might just screen visitors to his public events so that only people who agree with him can engage with him. Or he might even just limit the amount people can actually ask him so as to limit any opportunity that something hurtful might get through. If you only ever allow those who agree with you to be near you, and limit anything dicey that someone might ask you, then you can avoid any contact with that pernicious dissent that may crop up otherwise.

Now, most of you may remember Trump’s feelings for women. He has no problems being disgustingly derogatory with such comments as to suggest that a female competitor in the Republican race didn’t stand a chance because of how her face looked, or when he suggested that an intrepid female reporter is only asking a hard-hitting question because she is bleeding out of her “whatever.” This comment actually inspired a wonderful artist to create a portrait of The Donald using only her menstrual blood as paint.

comp-donald-trump

It’s uncanny!

What sort of policies do you think this attitude toward women might lead to? That he would cut funding to women’s health organizations is obvious. It’s a given that he would reject trying to end violence against women. He disrespects women so much, he probably wouldn’t even bother talking about important issues that apply to 50% of our population. With Trump in power, it’s quite likely that a nation ranked first in its treatment of women in 1994 would fall to number 23. Wonder what other shitty things Trump might do for women? Read this.

Of course, Trump’s distaste for women and their bodily fluids is comparable only for his distaste for foreigners. Any man who claims that Mexicans are rapists hasn’t got the memo that we’re actually trying to END racism, not endorse it. As president, Trump would likely try to ban any garb that is confusing and frightening to “Old Stock” Americans. Or set up a hotline so fearful white Americans can bring down the hammer on their ethnic neighbours. Trump’s beliefs about foreigners might not lead to an inclusive society, but when it comes to ostracizing racial minorities and promoting xenophobic hatred he has got it in the bag.

Another part of Trump’s legacy of stupidity is that he has gone bankrupt like, a thousand God damn times. Now, bankruptcy is a fine economic practice for those who have gotten into financial hot water, but to repeatedly use it, time and again, shows vastly incompetent economic ability. A Trump presidency would very likely lead to the worst economic record since World War 2. He might defend himself and say that with North America’s aging population, it only makes sense that the economy would falter, but this flies in the face that old people are working just as hard as the rest of us! And also, it is only fair to point out that Trump didn’t cause the 2008 recession that destroyed the world’s economy, but he would have if he could have!

Now, for those of you who read the title and clicked on any number of these news articles I painstakingly researched, you are aware that I’ve been talking about the current prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, this whole time! Trump hasn’t actually done anything terrible yet because he doesn’t have any political power, but it is not difficult to imagine the kind of politician a man with ideologies like Trump would be, and then compare it to the man we have in power in Canada. That’s not even the whole of it. I didn’t include Harper’s disregard of the epidemic of missing and murdered Aboriginal women plaguing our nation, mostly because I didn’t know whether to include it in the racism or sexism part of this blog. The Harper Government has also destroyed much of Canada’s crucial data, to the point where we are blind when it comes to the lives of Canadians because of his destruction of the long form census, and blind to our future because of his defunding of environmental research facilities and the muzzling of climate scientists.

Now, I won’t tell you how to vote. I’ll let this website do it for me. Think voting strategically is stupid? Me too! But under the current system, a vote with ideals is more often than not a wasted vote, as there are usually only two parties in each riding that have a shot at claiming the ballot. A vote for any party other than those other two is just a waste of paper, since the per vote subsidy that gave each party a certain dollar amount for every vote they received was axed by the Conservative government. So there’s not even that going for an ideals vote anymore. However, by voting strategically, you will actually end this shitty first-past-the-post system because every single party except the Conservatives has vowed to alter the electoral system.

So before going to the polls on October 19th, ask yourself: do you want four more years of Donald Trump as your Prime Minister?