Power and Virtue

Politicians are a breed of characters that I fail to understand – they have to be willing, on one hand, to ward off nonstop critical attack, and on the other, to subject themselves to constant pandering for favour.  If they are not driven by ideals, or even if they are, they will undoubtedly fall prey to persuasion by one power or another.  I am cynical to say the least, and disillusioned by the process for many reasons which I won’t discuss here.  In fact, politics is not usually a topic about which I am inclined to write.

Until my husband received an envelope in the mail bearing this quotation in place of the return address:

“Violent jihadism is not just a danger somewhere else.  It seeks to harm us here in Canada…. through horrific acts.  It is an act of war, and our government’s new legislation fully understands that difference.”

– Prime Minister Stephen Harper
January 30, 2015

“What is this?”

“The Conservative Party is looking for funding.”  Thor shrugged dismissively.

“Did you read this?  This is blatant fear-mongering!”

He took the envelope from me and perused it.  “Yes, it is,”  he replied dismissively as if to say:  And you’re surprised how?

I am more than surprised; I am gobsmacked!  The government’s tactic for raising money is to send out a war-tinged message?  Forgive me, but I always thought I lived in a peace based society, not a shoot-first-ask-questions-later regime.  This approach to fundraising is recklessly irresponsible on many levels, and as I am writing this while my mind and emotions are reeling, I fear I will not do them all justice.

First of all, there are a number of issues that plague Canadians today which deserve government attention:  justice for the missing (Aboriginal) women, under-serviced and impoverished communities, human trafficking, unemployment, aging population, threats to education, and so on, and so on.  Terrorism is one among many problems that need addressing.

Secondly, as I alluded to earlier, when did we become a warring country?   Historically, we have proven ourselves to be worthy allies and participants in war when called for, but I was raised to believe that peaceful resolution and humanitarian involvement was the Canadian way.    Has this changed?  Is the government hoping to sway opinion and spur war?  What possible positive motive can underlie the delivery of such a message?  Is this creating precedent for a new influx of money into our military resources?

Terrorism is not a new problem, by any means, and certainly a threat, but I do not think it is an issue that has been thoroughly examined and responsibly considered.  We just do not understands its mechanics.  Evidently, it is the product of hate and fanatical obsessions, and if viewed from that perspective, is not just the property of jihadism – it lurks beneath every so-called civilization.  Just yesterday, a young man sat amongst a group of parishioners in communal worship before turning his weapons on them.  This was an act of terrorism.

My eldest sister always told me I was naive, and perhaps I am, but I thought that we as a society were smarter than tactics like these.  Receiving this letter has just furthered my disappointment with a system that is severely flawed.

So, what might the Conservatives have offered instead?  How about something that demonstrates virtue, instead of appealing to our dark sides?  What about a message that reminds us how great our country is, and how important it is for us to continue to pursue avenues that support and build on our valued legacy?  Appeal to my sense of pride and my interest might be peaked, but threaten my intelligence and I am only incensed.

Having just read this to Thor, who is no longer affiliated with the Party, he asked if I read the letter enclosed.  I had not.  As expected, it includes more of the same propaganda, and a “Pledge of Commitment” asking a signed personal agreement, along with the requested $200 to help the Conservatives win the war on terrorism (my words).

Rant over, my conclusion is very clear – the mission has been successful.  I am now very afraid – not of ISIS and their “real threat to Canada” (quoted from the Pledge of Commitment).  I cannot even think about them at the moment.  No, this newly blossomed terror is for a menace much closer to home – the CPC (The Conservative Party of Canada).  If I doubted them before, I really fear them now!

(Image: wondergressive.com)

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