5.11.08

dirty laundry and the us election

i'm going to do something pretty unusual for myself. i'm going to air some dirty laundry and tell you a bit (maybe a lot) about myself and my politics.

i lean left. waaaay left. as a canadian, i voted green in the last election. i am jaw-grindingly frustrated that canada's voting system means that my vote will not make any difference in the structure of the government.

i grew up in port alberni, british columbia - a resource town on vancouver island. my dad has worked both directly and indirectly for forestry and other resource-based companies for most of my life. i also grew up in the era of the clayoquot sound protests - a phenomenon that divided my little town. i grew up in a noticeably conservative family. as an only child, i'd listen to the grown-ups discuss politics and issues and heard plenty of phrases like "bleeding heart liberals", "bloody socialists" and "tree-huggers". later, as i began to learn about the issues myself, i found myself wondering what was so wrong with those things. as an adult, i also work in the resource industry. i don't deny that resource use has to occur, but i'm here to make sure that it's done right. i don't think we need to develop as many projects as we do. i believe that larger-scale policies on reducing waste and consumption need to occur (soon). i don't believe that you need that new tv/car/boat/widget.

i am a scientist and (*gasp) and atheist. i have found nothing in my 30-plus years to convince me that there is a magical higher power creating, manipulating or governing our planet or our souls. i couldn't possibly agree more with the writings of richard dawkins, even though i would never personally come out and militantly challenge my friends', colleagues' or family members' beliefs because i do believe that everyone is entitled to an opinion.

however, i do feel militant about the place of religion in politics - there isn't one. ever. there are some situations where i believe that the public should be protected from themselves, where common sense and fairness should triumph over the beliefs (religious or otherwise) of the majority. gay marriage is one of them, and i am profoundly disappointed in those states, provinces and countries who would put such an issue to a popular vote. i believe that strong leaders need to occasionally do things that are unpopular to bring about true change. i believe change is one of the most over-used words in the english language.

i believe strongly in the theory of climate change and that we as a species do not have the luxury of time to be pussy-footing around whether or not it's human-caused or not. even if the chance that climate change is human-induced is remote (which it's not), we should be living by the precautionary principle and doing everything humanly possible in an attempt to stop it. even if we fail, our world will be a better place. this is another issue which i feel strongly should not be left to the public to decide. our politicians must do everything in their power (even if it is unpopular or expensive) to change the world we live in for the common good.

i believe that socialism should not be a dirty word. we as citizens should look out for one another because the health of our society is directly related to the health of everyone in it. i've lived in and visited both more and less socialist countries than ours, and i can say that having universal health care, adequate welfare, services for the mentally ill, and assistance for those less fortunate is actually pretty nice. it makes for lovely, safe cities with low rates of homelessness. it means that people with mental illness get the help they need before they end up living on the streets, addicted to drugs or killing innocent people. it means that all children regardless of their economic situation can attend safe stable daycares and schools. it means that our level of education doesn't necessarily have to be linked to our level of income. it's not perfect, but in my opinion, it's better than the "ever man for himself" model that is so popular in north america. i've seen all this stuff. it works. and it's not communist.

i like obama. i didn't at first, but he grew on me. i love that he is thoughtful, measured, and sticks to a plan. i love that he doesn't get flustered. i love that he is passionate without being frantic. i think he has a tough job ahead of him.

i don't mind mccain. he has a wealth of experience behind him in a variety of fields. he's lived through war and peace and tough times. he was shafted last time he tried to run for president. but he's too hot under the collar. he bends under the weight of the radicals in his party. he is impassioned, but it leads him to make spur-of-the-moment decisions. like hiring sarah palin.

i hate sarah palin. she is underwhelming to say the least. i heard someone on the radio say that they loved her because she was a small-town mom just like them. how many of you small-town moms feel that you know enough about foreign policy, social issues and law to be the leader of the most powerful country in the world? i guess if george w could do it, you could too, but you probably wouldn't do a very good job. i've got more education than sarah does, but i sure don't feel ready for that post.

i'm terrified of the republican party. i saw those signs at the rallies.. the ones that said "god, guns and glory" or whatever it was. that's scary shit. that reeks of religion in politics. i don't believe that republicans can keep their god out of their party. and if we go back to my previous paragraph, you see why i don't like that.

i'm not really 100% on the democratic party, but they are less radically right than the republicans.

in canada, we have conservatives. they'd fit in rather well with the republicans, i think. their supporters make up a minority of canadians, but they rise to power whenever the left is fractured or the liberals do something stupid. which is why we need proportional representation. the conservatives have 35% of the popular vote, but almost 50% of the seats in government. the ndp have 25% of the vote, but only 10% of the seats. the bloc have 10% of the vote, but 30% of the seats. the greens have 10% of the vote and no seats. it's terribly terribly fucked up and i don't think it'll change in my lifetime. depressing.

summary:
i'm left
i'm atheist
i don't like, understand or support republican/conservative ideology or policy
i'm happy(ish) about the us election
i'm ridiculously frustrated with the canadian election
i live in fear of what will happen to our environment in the next 10 years
without our environment, we have nothing. no food. no jobs. no livelihood.
and that situation is coming at us fast.

so when you ask how i can support who i support, and how i can believe what i believe, here it is.

comments welcome.

2 comments:

Jordan said...

Well put, well said. I appreciate your views and opinions and believe that we can still be friends. ;)

But you may have suspected that already... :P

Jennoit said...

Hear, hear! I'm with you on...well, pretty much all of this post! I didn't vote Green (although I like May) but I am totally distraught over the fact that we get Harper for another, oh, 2 years at least. Sigh.