Politics are often referred to and thought of as a team-sport, and I think that’s actually a pretty good comparison since in both politics and sport you have groups of people working together towards a common goal, and very often there are winners and losers of varying degrees in every outcome. I think that the problem in the current political climate is that a lot of well-intentioned people have forgotten which team they are actually playing for. I am going to use hockey to explain what I mean here, but you can really use any team-sport that you want as this is universal to pretty much all of them that I can think of.
In hockey, you’ve got a group of people who are all playing together with the thought of winning and getting their team higher in the standings so that they’ve got a chance to hoist the Cup at the end of the campaign. On this team you’ve hopefully got one or two superstars upon whom you can count on delivering, but those superstars couldn’t do anything without the rest of the team behind them. The basic structure of this team is divided into two parts – You’ve got the offense who are tasked with scoring goals and getting the points to move the team up the chain, and you’ve got the defense whose job it is to stop the other team from likewise scoring and furthering their own chances. The two halves cannot compete independently of each other – they need to work together in order for the team to succeed. It doesn’t matter how many Gretzky-level players you’ve got on your starting line if you don’t have strong defense and goal-tending to keep the puck out of your own net when the other team gets a shot, and no matter how weak the other team may be, opportunities always arise. That’s what makes sports so exciting. Point is, it doesn’t matter how many goals Matthews scores for the Leafs if Andersen can’t keep our net secure and empty as well.
Now let’s apply this to politics, and for the sake of this mid-term election day we’ll call this team America, although this applies just as easily to Canada, the UK, and every other democracy just as the sports analogy works for basketball, baseball, or football as well as hockey. On this team, you’ve also got an offense who we will dub the Blue as Liberals tend to be more progressive in their leanings, and the Red as conservatives tend to have more defensive or, um, conservative ideas about governance and try to conserve a status-quo more often than champion for social change. Please know that I am stating this without judgment, that’s just the way the two ideologies tend to work. Regardless, if it makes you uncomfortable, feel free to switch the colours around if that makes you happy, but the idea I’m trying to get across here is that we once again have two different parts of the same team who are supposed to be working towards the same goal, which in this case would be seeing America win.
The problem as I see it, however, is that in the current horrendously divisive political climate, the offense and the defense seem to have forgotten that and have started playing as their own teams, and even the most moderately capable coach or leader would tell you that a team divided can never win. I think that a lot of people have gotten so entrenched in their sides, be it offense of defense, that they’ve for whatever reason decided to ignore and neglect the fact that they’re all supposed to be on the same team, and they all have the same goal – For their homelands, the real team, to be both competitive on the world stage and prosperous within their borders. Your line can’t win unless the rest of the team is able to produce, so instead of letting our goalies hate our own wingers to the point where they won’t even pass them the puck, we need to remember that things go better when we all play together with the true common goal in mind. It’s a big world and there are a lot of other teams out there trying to get up the ladder, so if we don’t all start coming together as a team and understanding that the offense and the defense need to start playing in tandem then we’ll have no one to blame when we lose but ourselves.
AMEND (verb) –
- To make minor changes to (a text, a piece of legislation, etc.) in order to make it fairer or more accurate, or to reflect changing circumstances.
- Put right.
Stop telling me that the Second Amendment is sacred, as though written in stone like words on high given with divine providence. Saying that – believing that! – shows that you either don’t care, don’t want to care, have no ability to critically think, or have just simply given up in defeat. It can be changed and it must be changed, and that very needed change is implicit in the word itself. Amend – To change; to put right. I mean, come on! Do I really have to spell it out here? The Second Amendment itself is a change from the original, apparently not so Almighty Constitution, so if you can’t recognize that it’s time to amend again and pass laws that will stop this insanity from recurring, then shame on you and the world is worse from your willful blindness to see what’s right in front of your eyes. With the current laws, it was illegal for this kid to buy a handgun, but a high-powered assault rifle is no problem? Are you fucking kidding me? It’s time to amend the amendment. It’s well beyond time to make things right.
This is not directed at any one person in particular, but rather in response to far too many comments I’m seeing all over the internet today. I know I have gun enthusiasts and responsible owners amongst my friends, and I’m sorry, but your hobby kills and needs to be taken more seriously by many of your peers. I have friends and loved ones whose kids go to that school. I was as terrified yesterday watching the news as I was seeing the plane smash into the second tower on 9/11. Maybe more, actually, because I had real faces and names of people I know and love to add palpably to my fear. I still can’t come anywhere near imagining the horror my friends were going through yesterday waiting to hear if their children – THEIR CHILDREN – were going to come home from school alive. My anxiety was as high as it has ever been, so to even try to imagine theirs? Impossible. None of my friends lost their children yesterday. Some of their friends were not so lucky, and that spilled blood is on many hands.
And please don’t anyone come back at me with the bullshit about the need for an armed militia in case the government goes off the rails. Your government has weaponized drones, heavily armoured tanks, a goddamned air-force, chemical weapons out the wazoo, and the ever-loving atom bomb. Your assault rifle is a stick and a stone in comparison and you know it. And if your argument to that is that you need to be prepared to stand against your government and therefore the laws should be even looser, to put it bluntly, you’re an idiot. A dangerous idiot. To be on even-ground with the government you’d basically need to allow anyone to own a nuclear bomb. Anyone. The dumbest and craziest kid you knew in school. Your argument is foolish and moot and you know it, and the current gun laws in the United States as they stand today are flat-out insane, and you know that too.
I end this as I often do with the urging to call your representatives, local, state, and federal, and make some noise. And if turning a whisper into a shout doesn’t work then buy a bloody megaphone. They can’t ignore you if you don’t let them – it’s their job. The gun lobby may have more money, but the people have more votes and the smart politicians know which one is really worth more. Your voices will be heard if enough of us are all wailing the same thing. Push them to make the change.
Amend. Put it right.
The pen is in my hand
Its hardness in my grip comfortable and familiar
As it hovers over the pristine page spread out before it
Soon to be covered with its inky substance
Waiting to receive creation.
Do words have the power to change the world?
I believe that the true answer to that question is that words are the only thing humankind has that truly can change the world.
A tornado or an earthquake has no forethought or malice in the destruction they reap, but with a word from a man Armageddon can be unleashed upon the planet. And that would not be possible without words. We need words to communicate, we need to communicate in order to work together and build, and we need to build in order to invent weapons of destruction to make sure our enemies can’t build something better than what we’ve got and annihilate us first.
Words can change the world. Words can end the world.
But I notice in my postulation above that something comes before the destruction. Words first lead to communication, providing us the opportunity to work together. Instead of using words to tear down, we need to hold on to the thought of using them to build up. It’s inherent in the premise that we need to work together in order to tear apart, so the onus of social evolution is really on us to finally learn how to hold on to the first part without succumbing to the second; we need to learn to work together towards something other than ideas that continue to pull us further apart.
If we could all just stick on communicating with each other it’s beyond imagination what we could truly accomplish as a species and a civilization. Instead of continually picking apart each other’s differences, we should be talking about the things that we have in common.
The planet. Family. Community. The desire to do well. A will to succeed. The hope for safety and security and a place to call home. We all want water to drink and food to eat. Air to breathe is always a winning concept no matter who you ask!
We want a better world for those who come after us, and we want a happy world for ourselves even sooner than that.
And here’s the shocking part, or, shocking to me, anyhow. None of those things sound like they’re wildly outside of the realm of possibility, even within our own lifetimes. Really, with a little respectful conversation and some realistic problem-solving skills applied, none of these wants or needs or desires sound implausible at all. In fact, with a little bit of common-thought communication and cooperation, most of it actually sounds pretty easy.
We all just need to use the right words with each other.
Words can change the world.
The pen is in my hand.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but you can’t write the word ‘sword’ without a pen to make the ‘s’.
The word is mightier than the pen and the pen is in my hand.
We can all hold pens in our hands. Instead of using these false phalluses to assault with harsh and bitter derisions of division, let’s use them to write wild words of wonder and imagine a way to create the world we all really want.
There seems to be so much anger in the world right now. So much frustration. So many feeling the need to lash out because so many of the things we believe to be righteous and just are being threatened and pissed upon by so many others. We’re all afraid. The very cornerstones of our society, of how we function as civilized human beings, seem to be under a relentless assault and it feels like the other-side has us all held in the ever-tightening grip of a vise, crushing, smothering, choking, until there’s nothing left to do but try to yell loud enough to be heard over the pain.
And, why? Why are we all always fighting? What do we want?
We want to make the world a better place. We want to make sure our loved ones can walk the streets safely. We want our families to grow and thrive in a world without fear, and we want the children of tomorrow to inherit a planet where they can raise children of their own to hold and endeavour toward the same or hopefully even higher ideals. We want our governments to protect our rights and allow us a chance to achieve our dreams and pursue our picture of happiness. Most simply put, we all want to live as good and nice a life as possible.
I think all of that is fair to say for around 99% of us, no matter which side of any spectrum you may adhere to. We all want a better world, and we’re all fighting for a better world. The only problem is that we don’t all agree on what that better world should look like.
Gun control, religious persecution, gender inequality, racism, global climate change, political ideology, Betty or Veronica. These are all arguments I’ve either participated in or at least kept a keen eye on over the last few days (weeks, months), and over every one of those topics, things quickly devolved away from respectable debate to personal attacks and name-calling. It’s sickening. I guess we’re at a point in our culture where we’d rather insult and attack rather than give credence to the idea that there might actually be a point to what the other person is saying, even when we disagree. Alternative facts and fake news aside, The “Us vs. Them” dichotomy has become so incessant in Western Society that I think we’re all forgetting that before there was ever a “You Against Me”, there was an “Us”.
Community. Human Kindness. Respect. Brotherly and Sisterly Love. We’re all fighting for the same things, remember? We all have the same goal. We may have different opinions on what the perfect world looks like, but how will we ever learn to work together to get there if we neglect to remember the fact that we all have similar visions of the results? We need to keep in mind that there are many more strong and fundamental things that hold us together than there are those attempting to drive us apart, it’s just that those negatives always seem to have a louder voice as we tend to take the good that comes easily for granted.
I’m not saying anybody should stop arguing, and I’m not saying debate should be quelled, and I’m not saying that people shouldn’t stand up for what they believe, nor should they stop speaking out whenever they perceive injustice. I would never say any of those things. I am saying that while we’re doing all of these very important things, we need to remember to love. We need to remember to respect. We need to remember that we’re all a lot more the same than we are different.
I’ve had a few pretty heated conversations over the last few weeks. Specifically a few that really stick out with a couple of my cousins on both sides of my family, and while we disagreed, at rather high volumes at some points, we always ended with a hug and saying “I love you”, because at the end of circular arguing we knew that out of all of the facts we had been spitting at each other, that was the only one that really mattered. Even on Facebook and over social media, the few times I allowed myself to take the bait and sink my teeth into one of these frustratingly endless exchanges of bickering right-fighting, I made sure to conclude each of the conversations with a note of respect and friendship because I recognized that feelings were starting to get hurt (mine included), and the last thing I ever want to do is to purposefully hurt someone I love, no matter how upset or angry I get. Love is supposed to be bigger than a difference of philosophies. I think we all need to keep that in mind.
Defend yourself, defend your opinions, defend your beliefs, but most importantly, defend your love. We all only need to agree on one thing in order to be able to start moving forward together towards learning how to agree about others. So please, as I try and fail not to be all maudlin and sentimental, please remember to love.
The following is in response to most of the comments made on a picture I posted on Facebook yesterday in reaction to the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords. Apparently I wrote too much for a Facebook comment to handle, so I’m putting it here in my blog instead, and then linking the blog to the comment section. Best I can do.
Here’s the post in question just in case you’re somehow linking to this from elsewhere, but it’s basically just a picture of me giving the bird outside of Trump Tower and asking when the US is going to realize that many of the rest of us see them as the villain in the current political narrative if you don’t want to click through: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10158918152675601&set=a.10150273601230601.533444.849670600&type=3&theater¬if_t=photo_comment¬if_id=1496347815024780
And here’s my reply to my friends who commented:
I appreciate the feedback – both positive and negative – that I’ve gotten from you all. I don’t have the time or energy to reply to all of your comments individually, so I will instead just quickly make this blanket statement to cover as much of this as I can, and then get back to work, and thanks for giving me something interesting to do over my lunch-hour.
First of all, on a professional level, Trump pulling out of this deal and pretty much everything he’s doing is incredibly good for me on a financial level. I don’t share too much about my work on social media because I try to keep the two as separate as possible, but believe me, the chaos down south is becoming increasingly profitable for some of us. Also, I don’t have children, so really, at the end of the day, what do I really care if the Earth has breathable air a century from now? My genetic code will have long been retired by then. So, for me personally, the only pony I’ve got in the environmental degeneracy race is actually on the side I’m politically against, albeit only tangentially related. So you’d think I’d be happy with this, right? I mean, I like money, and I like opportunities to make more of it. And yet I’m against this. Strange… Maybe there’s a reason for that. Maybe issues concerning our all-encompassing environment aren’t all about me… Crazy, right?
Regarding call Americans villains – You are. I do not mean you personally – I certainly don’t think that my beautiful Bubbie Stella was a villain and she was American – but you do seem to be moving backwards and directly against the common-sense dictates and needs of the planet at large. And that hurts me in my heart and my soul. I love America, I love the American Dream, I love your sprawling landscapes, I love your diversity, I love so much of your culture that has absolutely helped to shape and dictate my personal values, forming me into the person I am. I lived in your amazing country for eight years, got my degree there, fell in love there, got my heart broken there and possibly may have broken some as well, had times both good and bad, got married there, and I still love coming back to visit. I moved away in 2004 because I couldn’t justify my tax dollars going towards funding what I considered to be the highly unjustified war in Iraq – It was a hard decision, an expensive decision, and for me it was the right decision. Money talks and bullshit walks, right? So I took my money and walked away from that bullshit, and I’d be doing it again if I still lived down there now. Sorry, but it’s true. Because, as I stated above, in the current narrative as I see it, you are the bad guys right now on the global stage and the rest of us are just perplexed about what’s going on over there and how quickly it all seems to be happening. That does not mean Americans as individuals are villains or bad people, and if you think that’s what I was saying then I must ask you to please check your ego because when it comes to discussing global politics, you personally don’t count for much. Thankfully for both of us, neither do I. Your current administration, on the other hand… For socially conscious and environmentally aware people, they are currently pushing you guys back into 20th Century, and unfortunately 20th Century technologies and solutions are both unsustainable and incredibly dangerous to the world around you, particularly to your closest neighbours like us here in Canada. The rest of the world is calling on you as individuals now to stop your government from being the villain in this story – Pepper your congressional representatives with your opinions, pester your senators with your complaints, make your voices be heard not only during the election cycle, but constantly. Remember, your government works for you – You pay their salaries. If they’re no longer representing your interests, tell them to smarten up or to find a new job, and then follow-through with that in November (or whenever the next election cycle comes around). I’m not going to go in particulars about why Hillary lost because at this point that doesn’t matter, but I will say that if more people hadn’t just assumed she was going to win because ‘Trump is crazy’, we wouldn’t be in this mess right now. Make your voices heard – It’s not only your right, it’s your responsibility!
Now, down to the actual business of pulling out of the Paris Accords. I, too, have made deals that have ended up being perceived as unfair due to changes in the economic climate. I, however, as a business person who believes in the honouring my word, do not just arbitrarily pull out of those deals. What I do in those situations is that I approach my relevant partners with a concern, or conversely they approach me, and we talk about the issues and renegotiate from there. I don’t just say, “Fuck you, I don’t think this is fair,” and walk away from the table, firstly because I have integrity and believe in being true to the needs of the original agreement as much as possible, and secondly because of the complete and utter disrespect that would show to my clients and other interested parties. We then come together and renegotiate while still honouring the spirit of our now disputed contract. Because, trust, integrity, and being true to your word and delivering what you promised is the only way to be truly successful in any relationship – personal, political, business, or otherwise. If you can’t be trusted to follow through on your pledges, then people will rightfully not trust you to do so in the future. At least not in my experience. Good deal or bad, America made the pledge to do take part in the global actions against climate change, and then yesterday they pulled out, with the platitude that maybe they’ll come back and renegotiate in the future. Maybe. That’s bad business practice. At least with NAFTA the US didn’t just back out, but rather said it’s time to renegotiate – Scary for me as a Canadian, but at least respectful enough to let me know that you still want to partner with us, but feel the need to change the terms so that they’re more realistic with the current climate – Good business. See the difference?
With thoughts toward those saying the picture and words I’ve posted are a rhetorical low-point and overly hyperbolic at best, let me simply reply with a quote from the man himself, the illustrious 45th President of the United States of American, and say that “I like to grab ‘em by the pussy,” and let you figure out for yourself what I mean by that. Also, stop getting so butt-hurt over small and inconsequential things. At least I got you engaged, right?
This sentiment about being overly sensitive goes to my friends on the Left as well, by the way. Stop making mountains out of molehills because soon we’ll be surrounded by so many mole-hills that we’ll no longer be able to see the mountains. He made a typo. He touched an orb. Big fat hairy deal.
And in that respect, one last thing – I’ve seen a few of you accuse me of being a Liberal and a Leftist. I actually don’t think I’m either of those things. I’ve certainly never signed up or joined any political parties. In fact, the only two clubs I’ve ever joined are “The Swedish Chef Fan Club” when I was seven, and U2’s fan club because I got to get me those concert tickets, son! Though this may shock some of you, I’m actually highly aligned with mostly conservative values in many of my personal philosophies. Yes, I do lean heavily to the left on social issues, but fiscally I’m rather conservative, and I think I actually fall pretty firmly in the middle of the political spectrum. I am no bleeding-heart liberal, and I’m also not a cold, calculating conservative. I don’t play party politics. I vote for whomever makes the most sense to my world-view at the time. I read and watch at least three different news sources that provide different angles so that I can come at any situation holistically and make an educated opinion from there, and that seems to work for me – someone even called me ‘normal’ earlier this week, so I guess I’m doing something right. I’m a party-politician’s worst nightmare because I don’t align any one way. Has that method ever failed me? Well, Justin Trudeau is in office breaking some of the bigger promises that I voted him in for, so yes. But it still makes more sense to me rather than just blindly saying “Liberal” or “Republican” and backing that team no matter what, even when the values of those parties move so far away from what originally attracted me to them in the first place, which from what I hear from a lot of my Republican friends south of the border is kind of what they feel like has happened to them over the last ten or so years. But they still vote Republican because they simply refuse to vote Democrat based solely on an ideological label, even when they admit that it’s not in their best interest. In what world does that make sense? Because it doesn’t make sense in mine. Think critically, question everything, and stand up for your causes and passions. Those are the only politics I believe in.
Thanks again for your comments and opinions. I truly do appreciate them even when I disagree with them because, unlike America and the Paris Climate Accords, I believe we need to keep the conversation going if we ever hope to move forward together as a species.
I didn’t want to say anything when I first thought this because, like most irrational sports fans and armchair athletes, I am incredibly superstitious and didn’t want to do anything that might jinx my team. Now that the Jays are solidly in the basement with our Disabled List bearing almost as many impressive names as the current active roster, however, I think it’s safe to assume that we’re well past the jinxing stage and rapidly approaching panic mode. We sit with four wins to thirteen losses for this utterly dismal start to the season. Without Googling, I’m pretty sure it’s not the worst start to a season in the entirety of baseball history, but to steal a sentiment from Pete Campbell on Mad Men when considering how the team I love is doing, I have to think, “Not good, Bob!”
There are a lot of factors at play to blame here, I’m sure. Donaldson started the season at less than 100% and because of that his injury exacerbated itself and now he’s forced to watch from the bench, joined by Tulo, Happ, Sanchez, and I don’t want to take the time to list Pompey and the rest sitting there with them because it’s getting depressing. The team itself is actually playing pretty well for the most part, if not with a little less bluster than expected, and Pillar is a freakin’ superstar so far, but things just aren’t coming together. For me, as what I would consider to be something more than a casual fan but not a statistic spouting fanatic by any means, I don’t see this as a problem with the management or the coaching, and I don’t even blame Jose’s silent bat because I know it’s just a matter of time before that switches back on again (we’ve seen him slump before and everything has turned out fine, so have a little faith, people!).
No, for me, being the kind of fan who runs more on unbridled unreasoned passion and the previously mentioned superstition, I blame that stupid awful and insipid hashtag Jays marketing came up with to represent our season this year:
I had a problem with it from the first second I saw it, for so many reasons that, as I said, I was afraid to talk about for fear of the jinx, but at this point as we’re sweeping the cellar with seemingly few prospects of dropping our brooms and climbing out for at least the next few weeks, so… Yeah.
First of all, the English nerd in me is offended by the lack of an apostrophe. Not to mention that self-same lack of proper punctuation also changes the meaning of the word. They’re trying to say ‘Let us rise’, as in ‘let us rise to the occasion and vanquish our foes’, but instead what they’re saying is ‘lets rise’ as in ‘rent is going up’, so I guess they were really referring to the cost of seats this year?
Second of all, assuming we’re all going to agree to let the grammatical error slip by us and act like it actually does mean ‘let us rise’. It’s still a horribly negative sentiment to start a season with. ‘Let us rise’ presumes we need to lift ourselves up from something. The statement itself, ‘let us rise’, assumes that the top is not where we are or belong. How the hell is that supposed to be inspirational? It’s pretty much saying, “We’re not the best, but hopefully, maybe one day we can be?” I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t make me want to jump up and scream GO JAYS GO at the top of my lungs. It instead leaves me asking, “Go Jays Go?” I mean, if they can’t make it sound like they believe in themselves, how the hell am I supposed to? I’m superstitious, remember?
So yeah, the experts and people who actually know what they’re talking about can blame injuries, slow bats, Gibby, the back-office, or whatever. And they’re probably, like, a million times more right than I am about what’s going on that has led to this painfully slow start. But, me? I blame the marketing team and the person who approved #letsrise in the first place. That hashtag is a curse, and regardless of balls, strikes, swings, hits, homers, injuries or errors, it all comes down to surrounding ourselves with a negative sentiment. Words have meaning, and words have power. That’s why we use them. Words convey what we’re thinking and what we’re feeling, and hashtags are meant to turn that feeling viral, which I guess worked because look where we are.
With no choice left but to rise.