Thursday, July 9, 2009

Barbarism or Compassion?

There is so much wrong with Harper’s government it seems almost comical to bother to recite the problems. And since I am not particularly partisan it amazes me that people would bother to defend a so blatantly incompetent government. At a basic level, Harper just is not fit to govern. His has demonstrated over and over that he has no respect of Canadian’s, no respect for the House of Commons, no respect for the country, its basic legal system or the media. He practices the politics of hate and division and seems not to care even about the core issues that he is supposed to represent. It is ironic that in his own master’s thesis he condemned deficit spending as a device to win votes and now finds himself running the largest deficit in history. Harper has demonstrated again and again that he doesn’t really care about issues unless they are perceived vote winners, then he his right on the band-wagon.

But what frightens me is not Stephen Harper per se, but the fact that we live in a time when someone like this can get elected more than once and when the politics of hatred and division are not just repulsive to people. It seems to me that in very troubled times there are two paths to take. One is the path of division and the other is the path of inclusion and compassion. This is the way it was in the thirties when some countries went to the extreme right while others looked to reform capitalism with more humane solutions. It is now clear that we are going to be facing the same kind of choice. How are Canadians going to react to this dilemma? Do we continue to elect a man who, in the midst of crisis, will do anything he can to divide and conquer, or do we look toward a kinder, gentler future? Do we accept a government which even outside of an election campaign runs any kind of negative advertising or do we demand that our leaders rise to the occasion? Do we let our governing party create handbooks instructing committee chairs on how to shut down debate or do demand real discourse and real respect?

History is a mess of violence and bloodshed, militarism and oppression. But behind the scenes individuals on the margins have constantly worked for compassion and justice. It is not that immoral actions have never had results. Pyramids and railways have been built with slave labour. But how long are we to tolerate inhumanity, violence, hatred, cut-throat competition, and division until we finally say ‘NO MORE!’ ? I regularly write to my MP, one of the most outspoken haters in parliament to demand more respect. But it is time for everyone to make a change in themselves, me included, to insure a better future.

I could go on and on about this governments mistakes and incompetent efforts. But it is not about this anymore. It is time to make a more fundamental change, one that requires a Prime Minister who actually talks to average people, works in a soup kitchen once a week, reads poetry and has a passion for people, refuses the politics of hatred and division, and won’t let the ideologies of money and profit get in the way of humanity.  Now that it has once again become clear that Capitalism is not flawless and the so-called market cannot solve all our problems, we are facing a choice between compassion and barbarism. I hope we can choose compassion for the sake of my children and their children.

John Adams once wrote “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children the right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” Unfortunately, our leaders are still studying, and practicing, politics and war and it is time for us all to move on to a better stage of historical development. 

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