Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dragging a few scraps of democracy out of our precious oligarchy

ATTENTION READERS! You are cordially invited to skip the following cynical rant and proceed from the juncture marked by the big yellow smiley face. In fact we recommend it!
Sincerely, the editor

I like to think we’re moving more and more toward a mainstream realization that Canadian (and Western in general) democracy does not really exist; that the wealthy lawyers who come from the elite, insidiously rich community who have a stranglehold on parliament and costume themselves as red and/or blue are all in essence happy and well-cared-for as long as their red-blue alliance maintains the collective power they have carved out for themselves, regardless which side of the house they park their asses at for any given term, as they maintain their personally profitable and necessary relationships with their rich corporate friends and family while putting on a super-exciting and super ineffectual political theatre show for the swarms of apathetic who either fall in line every four years or else stay home and do nothing every four years, and have every motivation to appear responsive to the public but with no real motivation to let any of the doomed foundations of our industrial matrix; a.k.a “society” be altered a single blessed iota. 

Personally I’m sure that they will cling to their wretched existence, salivating over their money, looking shallow and plastic and phony on TV and speaking in their carefully rehearsed lie-detector-proof voices while internally every pale wrinkle as ugly as Gollum fondling his precious ring, for just as long as these last twisted shreds of threadbare capitalism can wring the last frail life and profit out of the dying environment and the enslaved third world of mankind who we occasionally pretend to give a shit about while we continue to support the structures which exploit them because secretly, internally, we’re either glad as hell that it’s them at the bottom of the new-and-improved pyramid when it should have been us by now (ah, precious reprieve!)

So there. Aren’t you glad you dropped by today?

So that's a quick summary of the bad news. Now for a scrap of good news which I shall deliver to the empty room, now that you’ve all fled for the exits, and along with a promise to dig up some further good news coming soon! ‘Kay?

So while the real issues of the day which the red-and-blues bury under the contrived issues of the day, may be impervious to the ballot box, they are not impervious to grassroots activism. When hordes of disenchanted "electorates" gather to make their point and draw news cameras, the things brushed under the carpet tend to get dragged out into the light, dust bunnies and all.

Now I know very well that you are too busy earning a living so you can send your daughters to university (and rape-prevention classes first, I pray) to go out and join in marches, but there is another way and it’s real quick and simple!

Online petitioning has become very legitimate since the early days of email chain-letter nonsense and also very effective in forcing politicians to grow up for a bit and make a couple adult decisions. For the time being the rosy sexy relationship between government and media allows for this and miraculously the relatively free internet accommodates it. God knows how long either of these privileges will last. Make no mistake, the American government is sinking billions of dollars spying and studying the content and flow of most digital communication on a global scale. I have no doubt at all I’m on a third-tier watch-list somewhere along with a couple million others. Big deal. It’s just a vast collection of ones and zeroes. No one is coming to kick my door down unless I get promoted a couple times. But the thinking people of the world need to take advantage of this opening while it lasts!

Anyhoo…. Here’s the point: We do have the opportunity to participate in real democracy and it’s very liberating to do so. Avaaz,, ipetitions,, Mercy for Animals… these are some of the effective and responsible organizations with which you can launch or support petitions. It takes nothing to get involved and make a real difference at local and/or global scales!

For a while my participation in online petitioning was moderated by my stringent standards for integrity. I felt I had to do significant research on a subject before choosing to support a view and therefore I had to pass on a lot of movements which sounded good but which I lacked the time to properly research.

But here’s what I came to realize. You don’t actually need to do as much work as I once took for granted. What is more important is, after absorbing whatever material (usually brief) which the petition author provides or links to, you often need only carefully absorb the wording of whatever brief statement you are signing to. As long as that statement – and the target audience of the statement – is logical and sensible, by your accounting, then there is little potential harm in signing it, should the author happen to be askew in his position. Because if there were anything false in the statement, the onus is on the receiver, a politician in many cases, to interpret the flaw and the petition’s unsuitability and to disregard it. In other words, in many cases, you are supporting an idea more so than a course of action. The receiver will decide if the idea adheres to the real circumstances or not.

I really urge you to get involved if you are not already. Once you start signing a couple petitions you'll get on email lists and more suggestions will come your way.

Here are some references to petition success stories, just from Avaaz alone and just from 2016 (three months) so far!

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