The Birdcage Archives

Tuesday 3 December 2019

The Pantomime of Politics & The Gorgeousness of Governance

Hello Gentle Reader

Politics is a topic rarely discussed openly. It’s a poor subject. Though usually brought up during family celebrations, where one can watch the battle lines being drawn, the garrison assembled, and the first shot waiting to be fired. Armistice rarely happens, while alcohol fuels the fevered frenzy. It does lighten up an otherwise dreadful enduring family get-together. Who doesn’t enjoy the thrilling prospect of witnessing fisticuffs on the dinner table—even if it doesn’t happen? Despite its divisive degradation of otherwise civil affairs; politics is an otherwise ubiquitous atmosphere hanging over everyone’s heads. It’s just too disruptive to actually discuss with decorum. The moment the subject is even lightly broached there’s puffed out chests, eyes rolling, and admonishing arrogance to be found. Suddenly we’re back in the sandbox.

People often describe politics as a dirty business. Perhaps comparing or equating it to the same level as pornography. A lot like pornography, politics suffers from poor actors. Even worst, the actors in political theatre are not as endowed or beautiful as those found in pornographic materials. Rather politicians are often bloated, egotistical, and lackluster individuals. Men are always found in the same uniform: suit and tie—so don’t expect leather harnesses, or any other exotic sensual role playing—and for the record no one wants it. Women equally uniform with their blouses, skirts, or dress pants; a bit of flair perhaps with a pin or a simple pearl necklace. They smile for the cameras and answer—sorry deflect—questions posed to them with regards to policy initiatives, goals, and objectives. The stock of politician is equally as unappetizing as their dress, or any pre-ordained family get-together. They are uninspired, drab, and monotonous. At best they are bland. At worst they are nauseating. Career politicians in particular are a special breed of stock. The higher they slither up their ladder of ideological impurity, the more they resemble a pig fit for the county fair. A real blue ribbon, blue blood, mudslinger; whose days have been spent at the public trough gorging away, while telling the electorate that austerity measures are necessary, and they need to tighten their belts. Meanwhile they loosen theirs for yet another helping. At question period during debate in either a Legislature or the House of Commons, these county fair winning pigs, only squeal at one another, and they call that singing for their supper. I suppose in that regard, I’d take a leather harnessed hunk or a whip wielding dominatrix, over the democratically elected blue blooded mudslinger, who has the impunity and impropriety to squeal at me, about how I need to buck up, and weather the storm. Meanwhile I’m left to wonder why that piggy hasn’t been sent squealing to market. Bacon, pork chops, pork loin, may not solve anything, but it’s certainly better then what’s currently on offer.

Reviewing the current Canadian political landscape leaves a lot to be desired. Federally if you didn’t know, it’s a minority government, led by a young globally popular politician, perhaps due to his appearance. Not quite my cup of tea, but else where they fawn over him for a picture or selfie or two. The sunshine sensibilities of his previous campaign now left overcast and dour. His government greets a country of grumbling resentment. At least partially, but the ‘west,’ has always been known for its flatulent chinooks. Its’ bellowing trumpets of the hardworking blue collar who bring home the bread with no thanks or appreciation in exchange. Of course since oil and gas bottomed out, they’ve been hurt the worst. Their provincial economies tanked. Their rainy day fund spent. With their pockets turned out, this same province now seeks understanding and sympathy from the other provinces. Yet for years they had grumbled and complained how they were the backbone of the entire country, and lectured every other province on their own economic mismanagement, lack of fiscal responsibility, and of course their lack of gratitude. Now with the tables turned, the other provinces who were forced to endure their otherwise peacock posturing, have all but run out of sympathy for their downtrodden brethren. Now they sit back and snicker at the emperor’s new clothes. No one had the heart to tell them the truth: if the emperor looks naked, he is naked. Now this same province has once again voted in the political party which saw to its demise earlier.

The memory of the public is fickle, and often very short. Four years prior, this province of oil baptisms, and endless honey and money; found its money burned and its honey dry, and no one wanting its oil. The people on the winds of change ousted its decaying political dynasty, and voted in something fresh, new, and invigorating. But public memory is capricious. With change in government came the immediate cries it was their fault the economy tanked. It was their fault oil prices were at the bottom of the barrel. It was their fault the province entered into debt. It was their fault people were unemployed. Despite the fact these problems were inherited. The problem with public opinion is it cares little for facts. It swept up in rhetoric, slogans, populism, which is all dispersed for their convenient consumption. Four years later out with new and in with the old. This time they elected a very prominent career politician. The kind which blathers on about how the buck stops there; how diversifying the economy is a luxury; how the provinces problems come from the federal government. The usual squealing and deflecting campaign only the most seasoned of pigs at the trough would know. Fitting to his career, he is in possession of a character resembling that of a stale outdated ham sandwich; intolerant, noxious, and outdated. Still they voted him in, and now they see the repercussions of their decisions. Their healthcare is being dismantled. Education is under assault. Tax breaks for corporations who still abandoned the province.  The economy no longer just in ruin, but on fire, with a rising unemployment rate. Of course this blowhard windbag can’t take the credit or the responsibility. Rather he reassesses and attempts to deflect his already early stage mismanagement to others. When and where that fails, he shifts the conversation to separating from Canada as a whole, citing alienation and irreconcilable differences, as if it’s a simple divorce; where in reality it is nothing more than pouty child threatening to take its ball and go home. Those who support this otherwise derogatory dribble are first class hypocrites. Prior, these same individuals called such separatist sentiments harbored by another province as treasonous; but now will stomp around with banners in hand, shouting how they should be emancipated. Is that not treason all the same? As the public is occupied with their dreams of separation, our snub-nosed blue ribbon pig is free to gorge some more at the trough, at the cost of the future, with his cuts to education, his disregard for healthcare, and his slow erosion of elections agencies. After all he came from a federal party, whose leader at the time was three quarters totalitarian and another quarter dead fish personality. When he faces criticism from academics, economists, and journalists he’ll side step and swipe back. Part of public office is taking criticism, enduring disapproval, and weathering dissatisfaction. Taking aim at an academic’s integrity, because their professional expertise is in contrast to your political parade, is a prime example of a this career politician who has no respect for education, and who obviously lacks any formal education beyond their early political indoctrination, as if this is an excuse for their impropriety. Yet there is hope. The other day protests were held to rally against the cuts, the dismantlement, the erosion, and the calls that everyone needs to tighten their belts and get used to these austerity measures; while his belt only gets looser. There’s hope that these young students, enraged nurses, and exhausted civil servants, along with the everyday person, will set the pig to the flames and get some real change into their province, which sits precariously doomed to being left behind if it doesn’t adapt to a changing world. To that I would say: diversifying ones economy is not a luxury, but a requirement to secure your survival at least.

A survey of the rest of the country would say it’s in no better shape. Down east there’s a premier who not only looks like a blowfish but shares its flare for puffing out like one as well. I’d warrant caution in classifying this one as a career politician, but certainly an outrageous actor all the same. Though politics has been a central part of this one’s life as well. He’s been a municipal councilor, picked fights with Margaret Atwood, and his brother is the notorious crack smoking mayor. Much like politics, illicit drugs have been a part of this politicians adult life as well, going so far as to operating an alleged hashish dealing operation in his early adulthood, his other brother reportedly involved in drug trafficking, and had been investigated in relation to drug-related abduction; while his sister was a victim of drug related gun violence. This ones pedigree is certainly undeniably high class; and he is perhaps more lively then the other career politician down west, who has no formal education to his name, but still speaks with a nasally heavy handed, second-rate erudition. Still they are much the same. Blow hard blathering windbags, who in tormenting torrential gusts, repeat with the same gusto, how austerity measures need to be in place, in order to facilitate fiscal responsibility. In other words: cuts. Cuts to social programming. Cuts to education. Cuts to healthcare. Cuts to public service. Cuts to infrastructure. Cuts to transportation. As these snorting and rooting boars of ignorance keep carving up the cow, insisting all the same that the buck stops with them, one must wonder where are the savings? Jobs are lost, roads are in tatters, hospitals have no beds, and the elderly are suffering inadequate care. Yet inflation rises, the cost of living skyrockets alongside it, and the economy barely moves a centimeter forward.  Yet the expectation is you are to tighten your belt; despite the fact at this point it’s already cutting circulation. This doesn’t even begin to cover the inter-provincial clashes of interest. The lack of common ground any of them can find with each other. The federal government meanwhile in its minority state is left to play referee on an as needed basis. The further east one goes there is an increase of separatist talk, complete with its usual nationalistic fanaticism. In the Far East of Canada one could hear crickets chirp, with how removed they are from the discussion, completely ignored and forgotten, an afterthought as always.

If one loves reality television, then certainly Canadian politics would be right up their alley. The pantomime political theatre of Canadian politics is akin to a dysfunctional family at the most intolerable Christmas dinner imaginable. There is not an iota of a semblance of common ground. No compromise. Not an ounce of unity to be held. Of course the political parties themselves have quite the house cleaning initiative to undertake. One party needs to find a more durable, stalwart, stoic and strong leader then its current offering of a dimpled potato, whose inability to behave with honesty and integrity shows the shortcomings of their character. Not to mention this same party needs to move past its insistent outdated perspective on otherwise settled social issues regarding abortion, euthanasia, and same sex marriage. Recently this same party had a member compare Gay Pride Parade Celebrations to that of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Having never been to a Pride Parade myself, I presume there is a lot more colour in a Pride Parade then just green. This same leader of this party openly alienates the community (LGBTQ) by never clarifying their stances on the subject, which has only given both the media and the opponent’s ample ammunition to attack, discredit, and disregard as a dinosaur. Perhaps once this party rebrands itself, reforms itself away from its previous totalitarian dead fish personality predecessor, it can position itself in a more favorable light. It should take a note from another almost antiquated party which saw a resurgence during the previous federal election. Its new leader appears to be dynamic, stoically aggressive; who doesn’t mince their words, and too boot wears a bow tie, which is just darling! If one were to offer advice to the current minority government it would be to stop stepping into scandal with fevered glee. If it appears to be a bad idea, it most likely is a bad idea. While the other three remaining parties teeter precariously on the tip of irrelevance, due to a lack of media attention, a lack of financial aid, and a lack of reaching the general populace with their message, their brand. Do better next time.

Throughout the second rate dilapidated theatre of Canadian political pantomiming, complete with long winded speeches filled with empty words falling on deaf and disinterested ears, by political players who are neither memorable nor interesting, with personalities of limp noodles; there is the hardworking unsung hero of governance: the dutiful civil servant, who is inappropriately caricatured, misrepresented, and first flogged and flayed by the clowns that are called their political masters. They are the first to feel the ire of their otherwise demented creatures that come into office, who view them as entitled blood sucking leeches of bureaucracy. It comes to no surprise then that our blue ribbon winning blue blooded pedigree pig of a politician comes roaring into office with a box of salt in hand, which it intends to exorcise the civil service with. If the salt should fail, then they’ll cast open the blinds and burn the lampreys with the sun’s rays. If they don’t burn at the sun then they’ll soak them with holy water. In the end though, all they are left with is soaked, tanned, and salt covered civil servants, and a disastrous photo op that reads: “Cutting Red Tape in Favour of Efficiencies.”

What our fat stock doesn’t understand is that the civil service is the brick, the mortar, and the pillar of good governance. While our political pigs squeal in the public light, oink for votes, and parade on promises, while flinging mud wherever it’ll stick. The civil servants continue the real business of governance, by ensuring the trains run on time; health care is operational, police are on patrol, the rights of the citizens protected, and that courts provide their trials. Of course there’s is paper work involved, sometimes even mountains, but all the paper work creates a record, a chain of evidence, a detailed account of how the entire workings of governance. It’s ultimately meaningless, however, to those who run on such empty rhetoric as our politicians, who have neither interest nor care to the stewardship of proper governance, or the fine filigree of its penmanship, its convention, and its bread and butter for a proper civil society. Instead, they seek to dismantle the establishment in their own image, and often at the expense of the electorate. The difference between public administration and business admiration or commerce, is that commerce is to make a profit at whatever expense, while government and public administration seeks to provide services to its populace, with no interest in profit margins, cost analysis, or ulterior motive. The beauty of governance and government perhaps is its ability to endure, and weather all brands and pedigrees of fat stock which parade through its doors. Sadly it seems there are less and less protections to ensure they are able to withstand the continued assault issued by these same ignorant boars. Perhaps more power should be removed from our less then esteemed pantomiming gluttonous politicians, and attributed to the competent civil servants, who work behind the lines to uphold the basic pillars of civility we call our society. Sadly such legislation would never be introduced, let alone passed. The last thing our blue ribbon pork chop wants is to have their free flowing trough, interrupted by proper governance. 

The Canadian political scene is in a sad state of affairs, much like everywhere else. It leaves a lot to being desired. Yet what is perhaps most frightening about the entire political scene, is the fanaticism in which supporters have undertaken. They’ve picked their horse—even if it’s dead— and continue to ride it, support it, and boaster it up. It’s a common saying that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and sadly in today’s social media saturated world that’s proven to be quite case. What is frightening is how many opinions lack any notion of fact. All statements carry no factual integrity. Instead in their bowels, in the scant amount of syllables utilized, lies the reeking tar of propaganda, and disturbing unadulterated fanatical loyalty. Canadian politics has always prided itself on refuting the demagogue devotion found in its neighbor. The infection has since spread north. Canadians of a certain blue brand are now driven with almost cult like radical indignation, as they take issue and aim with anyone who has any inclination of integrity or fact. They won’t listen to reason, rationale, or logic; and when they are presented it, they squeal into their battle cries, to which their brethren mobilize and join them in their united honky-tonk movement(s). I’d never thought I’d see the pungent scene of xenophobia and racism ever is so openly tolerated and promoted in Canada. I had never thought a politician of any Canadian party or pedigree would ever be so lacking in character or dignity to promote the conflagration of such disgusting rhetoric. Canada is supposed to be the moderate, the enlightened, and the humanistic. Now in its ashes lies nothing but a tattered fragmented country of resentment, fueled by ridiculous and incredulous politicians who have loosened their belts, had their fill and want more; all the while Canadians are left scraping what little livelihood they can afford, and eat what little food they have; and are being told that they need to tighten their belts for further austerity, while the future is burned and denied to many by cuts to education and health care. This isn’t the Canada I grew up in, nor love, nor live in now. Thankfully there is hope on the horizon. Protests by an engaged youth, who refuse to have their futures diminished or overpriced. To civil servants who like starved and abused dogs, are tired of being treated like pariah, and demand that they need to compensated not cut out of the workings of government, in order to meet the austere measures proposed and imposed on them; and of course the daily citizens and electorate who do not feed into the rampant campaign rhetoric, slogans, and polluting propaganda issued en masse. There is hope that Canada will return to its humanistic and enlightened self; and if there isn’t an ounce of hope, there will be a demand for it. These austerity measures have proven time and time again, to only be worthless, but severely impairing in the long term. It’s time the pig looks into the mirror as it’s sent squealing to market, rather than the unfortunate people who suffer long after their voted out of office.

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read

M. Mary

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