Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Post Election Thoughts And Other Happennings

Hello everyone. It's been quite a week. Mainly, family events have predominated. My grandmother came from Winnipeg and I did quite a bit with her while she stayed with my parents. She was a bit overwhelmed by all the technology in my life during a brief stop in my apartment. It's such a different mode of existence than what she has known. The slot machines at the casino are more her speed. It's her favourite pastime. Joining her and my parents on a couple of excursions to said establishment, I can't say I'm at all more inclined to go there any more often than when she visits. I can justify it as a way to spend time with her and my family. It's good to hear her enjoying herself. She has more than earned the right to over a long life well lived. I do, of course, gamble only with some of the money she gave me. This time around, I actually won enough to pay for a couple of app's like Navigon for my iPHONE. Should anything happen to my Trekker Breeze, I'll at least have something to work with once I figured this app out.

Over the weekend, I celebrated my niece Ava's fifth birthday. That really spilled over into Monday, her actual birthday. Dan and Allison hosted a very well run happy party of kids at their house in Hamilton. Ava was far more happy to turn five this year than she was about becoming four last year. On Monday, I joined them for an outing to Chuck E. Cheese and had an enjoyable time helping carry tokens, pushing in the odd otherwise unreachable gas pedal as a good uncle ought, and hearing Ava and Amia enjoy themselves so very much. After that, we went back to my parents' house for more celebrating. I captured a little of it with a new app on my iPHONE called audioboo. It made for a very long but happy day that began with news of Osama bin Laden's death and ended with the formation of our new government.

On both subjects, my feelings are mixed but optimistic overall. Osama's death will very likely trigger revenge attacks. The man built his whole organization with the idea that he would very likely die sooner than later right from day one. Instead of one mastermind with a theoretically cohesive plan, we now have multiple heads on the snake free to strike at their own whim and all venom-spitting mad. Hope the Americans thought that through a bit. The man got better than he richly deserved. Were I a vengeful sort after retributive justice, the last thing I would have wanted would be for him to have died quickly. Perhaps, had he been chased by those operatives into a cave like everyone thought he was hiding in and left to rot there, that might have appeased some anger. However, he's just dead now. No information can be gleaned from his corpse. Nor can any further punishment be inflicted upon him other than that which God will certainly inflict. While his death prevents him from killing anybody else, it brings none of his victims back from the dead and elevates him to martyr status. Pandora's box has been well and truly opened.

Turning to the election we just had, I never thought things would be nearly so polarizing in outcome. Despite being a mainly Liberal-leaning man, I think the NDP will make a far better balance to harper. Jack struck me as the right man for that very important job provided he remains healthy. The Liberals can and must finally focus on cleaning house and regaining their consistency. Conservatives should look at this as an opportunity to show us more liberal-minded folk that they do actually care more than the negative campaign portrayals would have us believe. Harper has precisely what he's wanted now. "Give me a majority so I'm not perpetually hamstrung!" he asked us. Well, for better or worse, Canadians have given him that majority. We'll now at least stop wobbling about and head in a stable direction over the next while. That's something at least.

Conservatives do in fact care for those who are less fortunate. My father has been a staunch supporter of Conservatives for as long as I can remember. Despite that, he still very much values me and others in my predicament. Despite not having much prospect for steady jobs, we aren't of no value to him. I don't for a moment believe that all those who support the Conservative agenda ipso facto don't care about the environment, giving people second chances, etc. My father and I have had very different life experiences. He's seen the world of business largely work from his perspective. His efforts in school paid off with steady work which was available from very early on. He has remained with the same company General Electric, for his whole working life right up to an only slightly early retirement. He's been able to support his family well and kept a pretty healthy balance between work and the rest of life as far as I've been able to tell as his son.

I, in contrast, found that my education didn't lead to such a successful road. I've gotten to know many people whose efforts and gifts should have but weren't snapped up by big or small business. It's been a very different world for me than what the so-called experts predicted for my parents and I as I grew up. A world where virtue is often simply untapped. Where people can stay out of trouble, get a degree and still end up chronically unemployed. I've met too many people who have fallen through the cracks despite every effort not to and who had far better credentials than I. I can only hope that by the time the teens I try to be a good friend and mentor to at the Dam are ready, steady jobs are waiting for them. Hopefully, going with the devil we know was the right choice for that to happen. Everything depends on the willingness of this new parliament to sit down and really keep things together. The opposition has got to do a far better job at accepting that for better or worse, the Conservatives have won by a landslide and only oppose the will of the people where it really makes sense to and is necessary. The Conservative agenda was chosen in a pretty fair if somewhat too fear-driven personally negative election. I do so wish all the personal attacks could be done away with but am enough of a realist not to hold my breath. By the same token, I hope Mr. Harper listens to any objections and suggestions as he has said he would. The loudest message I think we've sent as Canadians is that we sure as shit don't want another election any time soon. We want things to get done in orderly and sensible fashion.

There's certainly room for some interesting developments. We've got a 19-year-old parliamentarian, the very first Green Party member MP, Quebec NDP members making a large part of our opposition in a party who has never been in that particular role federally before. They cleaned house in Quebec and devastated the Bloc. And no, reader. My optimism doesn't go far enough to believe that this means Quebec sovereignty is at last a dead horse. At best, it'll lie dormant for a while as we see how well Quebec interests are taken into account by Ottawa over the next while. I have a small hope that perhaps, at long last, some movement might be made toward healing that old tear in the fabric of our on the whole good nation. There are also something like thirty Liberals who have hung in there and survived the utterly crushing night for their party. A lot of very interesting pieces on the board now. Perhaps, there'll be more room for such individuals to make a real difference behind the scenes. Or, perhaps, that's just my incurable ever-present hope and optimism talking. I guess we'll all find out over the next while.


Julie said...

I'm with you. The desire to avenge their now-martyred leader is going to have militant and violent factions plotting. I didn't know a 19-year old was voted in! Great read for me on a blue (not Tory blue, funk blue) day.

Heather said...

Hmm. I'm not sure that I agree that anybody should ever expect to be 'snapped up.' Employment now is definitely different than it was a generation ago - I agree.

One of the problems we have when we try to hire in our office is that nobody wants to start at the bottom and slowly work their way up. There's a sense of rampant self-entitlement that so many people with degrees and diplomas have - that entry level doesn't and shouldn't apply to them.

I worked all through high school, through university, even taking a year off school to work full-time. I worked 'em all, and I didn't enjoy them all (retail was not my favourite, by far) but I did them. Falling through the cracks now is something that I see happening when people are inflexible and not trying to adapt, or not upgrading skills when the time comes. The degree alone isn't enough anymore. I don't think it has been for quite some time.

You might enjoy David Harvey's 'The Condition of Postmodernity.' He writes pretty extensively about the shift in labour and employment in the postmodern context (though we're now post-postmodern, I think).