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June 15th, 2010:

The Grits have officially lost me…Iggy – bye-bye…

Sorry gang. Hugs all around. I was a Liberal Party member until the party mandarins decided that Dion was the best thing to take on Harpy.

That ended well, didn’t it?

And yeah. I have been sympathetic to Iggy as I felt that he was getting his land legs. He’s a smart guy, after all. I’m a smart guy. So I can relate to another smart guy.

Takes a while to get the hang of being the leader of Canada’s Natural Governing party, ya know.

BUT. I can’t stand by this.

Who is advising you Mr. Ignatieff? Homer Simpson?

Iggy trying to out pander to the right wing of the nation by saying that our armed forces are gonna stay in Afghanistan till the cows comes home is the deal breaker for me, folks.

No way, no how.

Why bother? The right wing zealots in rural Ontario or in Alberta, Saskatchewan or the interior of B.C. were never gonna vote for ya anyhow!

With some regret and much disappointment, I officially denounce this leader. As well as the party he represents until Liberals get with the game and realise that they are supposed to be a progressive alternative for Canadian voters – not regressive. They are trying to out right-wing the DeceptiCons!

I need an alternative. Not more of the same.

I. Am. Seriously. Pissed.

I can remember only once in my political consciousness when I was this pissed and that was when the Grits did not rail against the machine in 1988… Turner could have gone for the throat but did not.

And my so-called political consciousness goes back to ’78.

Message to Roy Romanow. Do you want to set up a new centre-left party comprised of disenchanted Grits and Dippers?

Call me. I’ll give you money and time.


We can be heroes. Just for one day

Yup, “Heroes” by David Bowie is one of my all time fave tunes. Haunting and melodious, he tells the story of a couple in love in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. I saw this performed by Bowie here in town a few years back… the crowd was mesmerized.

The best lines are these:

I, I can remember
(I remember)
Standing by the wall
(By the wall)
And the guns, shot above our heads
(Over our heads)
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall
(Nothing could fall)

This leads me to recount an interesting Facebook exchange last night with an old friend from my Trent days (where I did my undergrad degree). I don’t normally copy a FB back and forth onto my blog – pretty lazy, IMHO. But this is an exception because I like the topic.

My bud – let’s call him “Ike – was wondering aloud about what makes a hero and who might they be. He posed his question in the form of a status update:

is thinking about heroes… real ones; not Superman et la… Just been thinking about the incredible people I work on various causes with and that they are the real heroes; and our troops; and our cops; smoke-eaters and EMS eagles…. I’m curious; in the cynical age we live in; do you have any living heroes ? Who are they ?

To which someone immediately came back with examples of a cop, a U.S. Air Force dude and a paramedic. All fine examples of who that particular person considers to fit the mold of hero… but I had to take issue…

Sorry man, we really differ on the whole heroes thing…

My old friend still remembers me well enough that when I am called out on something, I’ll usually take the bait – being the opinionated bastard that I am.

I KNEW you’d call me on this!

Heroes are strangers worthy of my respect because of some act that they have performed. Not that I’m anything special and not that worthy of my respect is above being worthy of someone else’s respect; but you asked.

I am certainly no hero.

Cops. Yup, they will occasionally put their asses on the line. But the bulk of their time is spent hassling folks who dare to question authority. And I’m 47 yrs old and still saying this.

Most of the cops I have know in my adult life have been on ego trips to beat all hell and really don’t give a crap about being heroes more than satisfying their own dominating, macho, misogynist agendas.

Yup, there are exceptions, but I’m speaking from experience.

I’m NOT going to go on about the military because that will just invite flames – not from you, but from others. Let’s just leave it at that. Sure, they are heroes at times… but that’s their job.

Sure – EMS folks – I’ll go with that… but still, that’s their job and what they are paid for – right?

But what about those who are in the shadows and receive not recompense?

Here are some of my heroes:

– The anonymous woman in Sudan who stands in front of the soldiers to protect her kids – after her husband has been murdered in cold blood…
– The anonymous middle-class family in Halifax who spends one day a week delivering food to the elderly
– The anonymous guy on Vancouver’s Lower East Side who brings a thermos of soup to that pathetic dude on the corner who is 15/16th the way to being dead.
– The teen who gives up her weekends to volunteer at the local old folks home… and tells her friends and family that she’s chilling with her friends for fear of being found as uncool…
– The anonymous “anyone” who stands up to authority when authority is wrongly wielded and pays for that defiance. Whether in a Vancouver airport, a ship off the coast of Gaza or at Kent State in the 1960’s.

Go ahead and say that I sound like some rambling hippie. Fair ’nuff. But there are heroes every day and everywhere… and they need not wear a uniform. Though they might.

A couple of commments later, someone else piped in with:

Interesting topic and views. A hero to me is someone who makes a difference; even if it just touches one person’s life or millions. I agree it is every day people. I would not exclude anyone because they are trained/paid to do the job. I cringe when I ask students this question and they can come up with is a sports figure. Great topic!

I couldn’t agree with this more. I guess it may be easier to describe what is NOT a hero rather than what IS one.

For example, are athletes or other celebrities heroes when they do something philanthropic?  Is the hero a researcher who dares to question the common wisdom of his field and endures criticism and ridicule from his peers; but then goes on to make a major technological/medical  breakthrough?

Sure, a cop can be a hero by disarming a bad guy intending to do harm. A firefighter will willingly enter burning building to save a trapped child.  A soldier in Afghanistan can heroically save his comrades and innocents by disarming a bomb or leading a sortie into hostile territory. I’m not saying that these men and women for whom being heroic is part of their c.v. are not heroic, but I am saying that they are not automatically heroes because of their chosen field.

So. Who is your hero? And why?