enjoying the foliage

Posts Tagged ‘retarded

Since I turned 18 I have voted in exactly two elections. Being the age that I am, it’s fairly obvious which direction of center I have voted for, and I have no problem disclosing that information. The first election I participated in, I voted NDP in my university riding in a room on the first floor of the university centre – exactly a 15 second outdoor stroll from my first year residences. I chose NDP based mostly on health care and environment policy. As someone who was (unfortunately) raised on the Sun, I couldn’t see myself ever voting for the Liberal party. They had been in power so long! And there were all those scandals. They clearly couldn’t be counted on to form effective government. And while I respect their values, I do not hold much love for the Green Party and would never vote for a group of people who never intend to be elected. And unlike most other students I passingly discussed politics with, I do not hate Stephen Harper or the Conservative Party. I support many core conservative values that are not always reflected in how the party votes, such as fiscal responsibility or a tough on crime mentality. Also, I oppose almost every single policy they support – voting for them was never really an option.

I was not surprised when Liberal gay-marriage opposer Brenda Chamberlain won in my riding. While we are most definitely not a two-party system, in most ridings the showdown seems to be between the red and the blue. Not deterred, I was ready to vote again in the two-shakes-of-a-moose’s-tail that usually separates our elections.

I admit, from August onwards of this year I spent most of my headspace being entranced by the siren song of Barack Obama’s sensible liberalism, and wetting myself with hope that the US would elect a leader that we as a country could stand. I only really noticed that an election was coming up when a virus of plastic signs began to plague my summer commutes into the city of Guelph. Fast forward to election day because I was summarily ignoring Canadian politics in favor of the, let’s face it, more interesting stuff south of the border. 1630 Election Day I was running myself in circles on the Election Canada website, trying to find my polling station and not yet having decided who I was going to vote for. When I discovered that I was, in fact, not in the Guelph riding but two blocks outside of it in Wellington-Halton Hills, and that the Conservatives won in my riding with 60% of the vote last election, well, my decision had been made. I had never seen myself as a strategic voter, but then, I had never seen myself as living in a riding with an actual real-life Christian Heritage Party candidate. I voted Liberal to keep the Conservatives out of power. Harper won with 62% of the vote in my riding this election. No real surprises there. I sat in the library and streamed election results off my laptop. I shudder to think of the amount of money that was spent with the ultimate value of seven parliament seats in flux. What is the real value of elections to our officials?

Continue with my ignoring the state of Canadian politics to focus on other things. While I do not get the paper and have only a passing interest in the news, I assumed (perhaps correctly) that nothing was getting done as per usual. Fast forward yet again to Facebook rumblings of a “coalition” being formed by Stephane Dion and Jack Layton against Harper and the Conservatives. If you consider nothing but the way I have voted all my voter life, you would suppose I would be pleased as punch having my two favourite ladies become best friends and go on Atlantic City jaunts together.

For someone only half-following the state of politics through hearsay, it was easy to identify a knee-jerk visceral WHAT THE FUCK reaction among my fellow students. Admittedly none of us paid attention in Civics class. Come on. It was REALLY boring and we were fifteen. You can’t blame us. Our brand of Gen X/Internet/Cybertext or whatever the old folks are calling us these days immediately devolved into uses of CapsLock and the word “communism” which began spilling out into my Facebook Newsfeed. COMMIE LIBERALS!!! THIS IS A DEMOCRACY!! I DO NOT UNDERSTAND CANADIAN GOVERNMENT THEREFORE I AM OUTRAGED! Come on. We’re not fooling anyone. This coalition shit hasn’t been pulled since Borden, it’s safe to say it’s pretty new to most of us. But we all get to learn NEW FUN words like prorogue and then crawl up on our smartypants high horses and say snottily that we knew all this shit about our parliamentary system WHY, DIDN’T YOU?!? while other people that had no such knowitall pretenses threw around sentences they found haphazardly dangingly from McCain’s speeches on Barack Obama and his rampant socialism. Immediately lines were drawn all around and across what used to be counted on as being a fairly cohesively ultraliberal grouping. Suddenly everyone’s an expert on Canadian politics, and everyone has an opinion.

Well, here’s mine. I don’t care about how useless the Conservatives are in power. I don’t care that no one’s passed a bill since who-knows-when. I don’t care that we are the only ones not to have passed an economic stimulus package. I don’t care about Harper’s broken promises, words like “dictatorship” or Stephane Dion’s accent. I don’t care about the lies told to me by both parties on national TV. Here is what I do care about.

Currently, parliament has been suspended, so the EXACT definition of “nothing” can be accomplished. Harper has been instrumental in calling a useless election for our useless House, while Dion has been instrumental in doing exactly the opposite of trying to get shit done as he gathers a up a grassroots movement of left-leaners to “get stuff done that real Canadians actually care about etc etc” to maybe do stuff, in like a couple of months, if the guy with bad hair will get out of our way. So, at last count, NO ONE is currently doing their jobs.

I don’t care if you disagree. I don’t care if you think you can’t get shit done unless you play musical chairs with every fucking politician in the House. All I want is for everyone in Ottawa to take their collective dicks out of each others’ collective asses, stop pulling each others hair and get the hell back to work.

It’s going to be a long fucking year and a half until the the next election unless you jackasses can, somehow, some way, figure out how to do what the rest of us have to and negotiate with people you don’t necessarily agree with or like. Because that is, I think, the working definition of a productive politician – working being the operative word. And without a fundamental change in the mentality of Canadian politics, where we go from if you don’t like who you’re working with vote for an election, to, what can we accomplish with people who are different from us, there will be no real change in our government for a very, very long time.

Today I learned three things:

1) The alphabet, numbers up to ten, and basic words in sign language – this was with the autistic boy I work with. Love it – one of those things I wish I had time for during my school year, but will have to wait until the summer when I am…just as busy.

2)  That the rear window on my car is equipped with windshield washer fluid, and how to take advantage of this.

3) That if I pulled the signal flicker thing towards me my highbeams would flash.

One of the first things you need to know about me, is that I am the worst driver ever. Also that I have had my car for nearly a full six months, and while I have not yet hit anything other than snowbanks with it (fingers crossed), I am still learning how it works.

I got my G1 when I was seventeen at the urging of my parents, and began driver’s ed six months later for the same reasons. Living in the suburbs of Mississauga and being unlikely to have a car at my disposal (or parents patient enough to let me have one in my hot little hands), I was apathetic about learning the skill – something I’m sure every teenager but me looked forward to. My lack of interest in driving was only reinforced by having an “altercation”, shall we say, with a cyclist and my driving instructor in the car.

It should have been evident at this point, with the my combination of delayed reaction time and poor spatial skills, that the practice of being encased in metal and glass and moving with other expensive wheeled pods at excessively high speeds was not for me. Like a champ, I allowed the cyclist to skirt the bumper of my car and escape with his life, and finished the rest of my driving lessons without incident. My parents saw no need to assist me in practicing driving after my lessons (I wonder why), and I did not touch the wheel of a car for the next two years, after which I began to take another crack at this whole “getting my license” thing. I learned to drive for the second time on the back roads between Guelph and Mississauga during the summer I turned twenty. Learning to drive with my mother, an emotionally fragile puddle of hysterics and hysterics-induced nicotine addiction, if nothing else, increased the sense of calm about what I over time came to see as my inevitable torturous death in a fiery twisted car wreck. Nevertheless, and to the chagrin of my mother (who had her will redrawn at a similar time) we all survived the summer, and I signed up for a G2 test in early September. Through some miracle of a benevolent driving tester (hill park: “um, do YOU know where my emergency brake is?” – true story) and to everyone’s disbelief, I passed on the first try and was promised a car the next day. Princess that I am was fully displeased about spending four hours a day on the shitty Guelph transit system and drove by herself for the first time three weeks later in an (almost) brand new car.

I’ve been on your roads ever since. Vroom vroom.

Tags: ,