21 September 2021

Well, that was suboptimal.

 Trudeau held on to power, and the incumbent in my riding won again, handily.  I had hoped for better, but, well, the way things are running, Trudeau will call another election in two years or so. 

20 September 2021

Election Day in Canada

 I think it has become a tradition here to say at every election that I have never before cast a vote with less - I don't know- enthusiasm, perhaps?  And it is true. For almost almost every election I feel less and less as though I am voting for something, only more as though I am voting against something worse. And my feelings for this election are as though it were still on that trajectory, but at least two elections into the future.

This vote was not necessary.  We had an election two years ago, and the people returned a minority government.  There was no government defeat in the house, no pressing issue.  The polls showed that the Liberals had a chance to turn their minority into a majority, so the Prime Minister called an election. That is all this election was, its core issue: an opportunistic power grab. 

But, fortunately, this may turn out to bite the Prime Minister in the posterior, and I regard that as a good thing.  Had he any other last name, he would still be a mediocre drama teacher and snowboard instructor.  There has been no one less qualified to hold high government position since Caligula elevated his horse to the Senate. If he loses this election, and there is a good chance he might, then it is likely his career is over.  The two main parties do not take loss lightly, nor do they forgive it. The prevailing practice these days is the polite equivalent of taking the losing leader out to a field somewhere and shooting him in the back of the head.

If nothing else is achieved, it is my hope that the incumbent in my riding will finally be defeated.  I hardly care who defeats her, as long as she is gone.  The Liberals have had such a stranglehold on my riding for decades that the election of our candidate is a mere formality.  Being such a safe riding, our liberal representative often tends to be arrogant and assumes a right to our support, rather than a belief that they need to earn it. Provincially, the Liberals lost this seat in the last provincial election (the candidate was the federal MP's daughter- she used her influence to get her kid the nomination, and the kid was slaughtered in the polls and came in a very distant third) so the seat may be vulnerable.

So, that's my best hope for this election- get rid of our current Prime Minister, and get rid of the incumbent in my riding. It hardly matters who replaces them at this point.

10 September 2021

A little moment of beauty.

I've sung this piece a few times.  I sing it in exactly the way she doesn't.

27 August 2021

... As we forgive those...

 I've been reading about confession a bit lately.  Confession has always been a bit of a problem for me.  Admitting my mistakes is not something I find easy.  even worse, what I have been reading, both the catechism and in other works, tells me I need to give up the wrongs that have been done to me.

Our society as a whole is directly contrary to this aspect of confession.  Our education militates against it.  We are taught to hang onto the wrongs we have suffered with both hands, as though our lives depend upon it.  In a sense, our lives do.

Look at the way we are taught history.  Not too long ago, history was a mix of biography and geography: the place where a great man and a great moment met.  The problem with this sort of history is abundantly clear to us today: the men were all, well, men, and white, and the moments were all European.  Nothing happened, nothing existed, until a European man did it or found it.  Nowadays, we have by and large rejected that model of history, and instead teach social history, bringing in as many groups as possible, casting as wide a net as possible to get what social historians like to think of as a better, clearer picture. 

Here's the rub, though: for all the weaknesses of the old way, it had a strength. It was practical.  The stories were told with a hero and also a villain, and this was done to help teach the students not merely about the past but about how they should conduct themselves in the future.  It is a cliche to as WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) but the educated men of the past would ask themselves what would Julius Caesar do, what would Hannibal do, what would Thomas More, Charles Martel, St Francis, Demonsthenes, Cicero, Cato, The Duke of Marlborough, General Wolfe, Jan Sobieski, Edward the Confessor, and so on, do? Be like a hero, they were told, not the villain.

(I should add that this even extended into the realm of fiction and morality plays and fables: what would the hero of your favourite book do?  Reading fiction, as well as history, was part of the education of the heart and the spirit.)

As well, the new way- for all its strengths- has weaknesses.  It is the history of everyone in general, and therefore of no one in particular.  It cannot lead or be put into practice, because percentages and figures have no agency.  More to the point, social history, instead of using heroes and villains as its basic structure, instead employ a structure of oppressors and their victims, and of the two, the only one worth being is a victim.

So the heroes of the past are all being torn down, and the only thing we have to aspire to today is some sort of victimhood.  How often do you hear people claiming 'I'm the real victim, here,' or 'I'm a victim, too.'  It was gives us grounding, elevates us in the eyes of others, somehow.  It becomes the core of our identity, the very essence of who and what we are.  We are not only not taught to forgive the wrongs done to us, we are taught to become those wrongs.

Which brings me back to confession.  The heart of the teaching I have been reading comes from the Lord's Prayer: 'And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.'  The Lord's mercy cannot reach us if we have shut ourselves off to it by refusing to forgive, to share in our own mercy, our own shadowy imitation of the Lord's great mercy, and by hanging on to the wrongs that have been done to us.  We become closed to Grace.

I am not saying that we should not seek justice, nor to forget the wrongs we have been done.  We are not called to be doormats, nor to stand by idly in the face of injustice, even when done to us.  But, as Catholics, we cannot go forward without forgiveness.  These days, that means, sometimes, letting go of our identity, the way we see and define ourselves.  But that's how it should be.  To become the new man in Christ, we must let the old one go.

25 August 2021

The third temptation

For the third temptation of Our Lord, the devil took Jesus to a high spot, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and promised Jesus would have power over all of them, if only He would bow down and worship him, the devil.

We're having another election up here in Canada.  We had a federal election just two years ago.  No one wanted another one.  No one asked for another one.  The government was not defeated.  Its coalition seemed to be holding firm for the moment.  But the numbers looked promising, and our Prime Minister decided to call a snap election in the hope of turning his minority government into a majority.  It is a cynical power grab, nothing more.  The only upside is that it could possibly bite him in the posterior, hard.

Our system is far from working as designed.  We are supposed to be voting for our local representative, who will then go to Ottawa to try and take care of our local interests in a national context.  What we have instead is the parties in Ottawa embodied in their leaders sending their representatives to us, offering us to vote for the leaders through their proxies.  The result is a government by Prime Minister and a bunch of yes men.

In the meantime, they are all making promises about the sunshine and roses that will come should they be elected.  All these promises have me thinking of the third temptation of Our Lord: we shall have all our hopes and dreams, if only we vote for them.  Even better, these flabby devils in suits and ties have a touch of Screwtape in them.  We are still willing to trade power and gifts to men for their souls, Screwtape tells Wormwood, but the deals that the leader below prefers are the ones where they get a man's soul and give him absolutely nothing in return. 

And we do get nothing.  It has become a tradition in Canada when the government switches parties for the incoming party to almost immediately announce that the previous party lied about our situation: the finances are invariably far worse than the previous party let on, and that means, gosh, that the new party can't fulfill its promises.  Or they lay out a twenty year plan that will lead to Utopia at some future point, knowing full well that no party has ever held power that long so the chance of them seeing their grand plan through to the end is less than zero.  It is mere posturing, empty and hollow.  A vote for them was and is a vote for nothing,

Vote for me and all this will be yours.  Don't fall for it.   

16 August 2021

The good news keeps coming.

 My wife just found out that once of her uncles died.  

In your charity, please pray for the repose of his soul.

14 August 2021

In your charity

 Please pray for the soul of a coworker who died on Thursday.