Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Hypocrisy Hall of Fame. . .

Ok, ok, I don't blog that much anymore. I have lots of irons in the fire, so to speak. I mean, a lot of us have grown weary of the spectacle that is the Harper government. I think our weariness derives in large part from the fact that so much of Harper's corruption and hypocrisy goes almost unnoticed at this point. Perhaps this seeming apathy of much of the public is rooted in the sheer tonnage of oafish pompousness that comes out of the government. Its like having a teenager - after a while you just sort of block out a lot of their behaviour because if you let it all get to you madness would ensue.

But sometimes you just have to laugh out loud through the tears at some sound bite that emanates from the dark, fiery bowels of the festering cesspool that is the Harper government. Anyone who is familiar with the books or television series All Creatures Great and Small knows the frustrating character that is Siegfried Farnon. He is a pompous and often silly veterinarian who continually contradicts himself and changes his story, usually in an attempt to maintain the moral or ethical high ground in the face of the main character James Harriot who is ernest and scrupulously honest. The interactions can be frustrating because as you read (or watch) you often think 'how can people put up with Siegfried's hypocrisy and pompousness?' On the other hand, he is a character with redeeming features, (he is charming, charismatic,amusing, intelligent, hard-working, and genuinely cares for others). Not so, the Harper minions. Short of all of the admirable qualities of that literary figure, the Harper government had its ultimate 'Siegfried Farnon' moment yesterday.

In the face of criticism over the total failure to adequately deal with the recent oil spill in English Bay, Federal Industry Minister James Moore spoke words that surely must be given a place in the Hall of Fame of Harper Government hypocrisy, and, given the sheer number of contending moments, that is not an easy honour to receive. Mr. Moore actually had the nerve to say that it is "highly inappropriate for politicians to point fingers and make political jabs." Let that sink in for a moment. I laughed out loud, I really did. He went on to say that he thinks "it is irresponsible for people to dial up anxiety and fear." I don't need to recount all the moments that demonstrate that the entire Harper political identity is grounded in finger pointing, scapegoating, blaming and discrediting others, and, of course, dialling up anxiety and fear.

I must say that though it was a small moment, a little sound bite rather than a shot heard round the world, it reminded me of seminal moment of politics from the last century. That moment was given to us by Joseph Nye Welch, the head counsel for the US Army while it was under investigation by the notorious Senator Joseph McCarthy. When McCarthy persisted in questioning the integrity of Welch's young associates (Fred Fisher), Welch finally became exasperated and said those now famous lines to McCarthy - "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness . . . You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" This is often credited as the moment at which Senator McCarthy's downfall began, the moment at which the American public and their officials saw McCarthy for what he was - a mean-spirited, hypocritical, ideologically driven, corrupted, shell of a man who had no credibility in questioning anyone's integrity. Joseph McCarthy was finished, and the great Edward R. Murrow hammered away until no one had any faith in the Senator anymore.

Watching James Moore incredible hypocrisy was, for me, much like that moment when Welch finally stood up to the corruption that was Senator McCarthy. This government clearly has no decency, honesty or integrity. And given the toxicity and hypocrisy that Harper and his seals have injected into our politics, the words of Edward R. Murrow echo in my ear, and though he was speaking of the US, his sentiments should be applied to our own country  -  "We must no confuse dissent with disloyalty . . . We will not walk in fear, one of another  . . .We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men - not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular . . .We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."

All we are waiting for now is the right moment and the right person to say to Stephen Harper in a public forum - "You have done enough. Have you no decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"


Scotian said...

Well Said!!!

I was wondering whether I was going to need to upbraid you for smearing poor old Sigfried, but thankfully you relived me of that (yes, a fan of both the novels and of the series, indeed when the man playing Tristan became the 5th Doctor Who for me it was a hard shift because he was already so strongly in my mind as Tristan). Not to mention at least some of Sigfeied's problems came from being raised in one school of scientific (for the time) thought on vet medicine as it was being truly revolutionized as was human medicine with things like first sulfa drugs and then antibiotics and far better understandings of the holistic elements of medicine, both animal and human. Harper has none of that in his favour of course. Then though Harper has never operated in good faith, he proved that beyond all doubt in spring 2005 with the Grewal fraud, as I have detailed many times before.

The problem I fear is that we have no one in the media these days to do what Murrow did once we have someone make that position equivalence and then use it to show why Harper has no credibility. There is already so much out there to make this point that it almost seems like the national media is actively covering it up as a defender of Harper, not exposing him, aside from a handful of serious journalists who somehow do not make the regular public panels unlike say Jon Ivison (Mike Harris being one of the most notable, especially given his record as a profoundly capable investigative journalist and his clear and extensive documentation of the Harperium horrors in both his columns and his book Party of One) who is a regular on both CBC and CTV panels weekly to defend the indefensible (watching him n QP's Scrum today was especially painful, even the others on the panel were clearly having major problems with what he was selling today) of the Harper government's conduct.

Still though to abandon all hope is to let Harper and company win, and I refuse to do that, so I keep fighting the good fight, repeating myself over and over at various online points, and continue in my day to day life in trying to get people to understand why Harper has to go and go decisively. As I have noted before living the full Cassandra Curse for a decade has been taxing, but I refuse to surrender despite that, even though my health has continued to suffer because of it. I simply care too much not to.

Brian said...

Watching John Ivison on QP's Scrum this Sunday was indeed worthwhile for the hilarity of watching him try to shill for and exonerate Harper vis a vis Mike Duffy. The others on the panel reacted to him the same way one would react to an evangelist preacher on the street corner ranting about how the world is going to end next Sunday.

As odd as it is, we all owe a debt of gratitude to Mike Duffy for not dutifully knuckling under and falling in line to protect The Leader when they threatened to throw him under the bus, like every other Conservative. Mike Duffy's at least willing to stand up and risk going down as long as the other people who encouraged his behaviour deservedly go down with him. He's not doing it with purity of mind, but at least he's doing it. Rick Salutin had a good article about that this week: