These days I feel that before I write anything, I should make what they call nowadays a full disclosure, which is that from the time I first had a political thought, which would have been around when I was 15 (at which time I was usually preoccupied with running and jumping and either throwing or kicking or hitting a ball back and forth), since that time I have always believed that politically speaking the best system is for the collective to take care of the well-being of everyone, of no matter what economic class.
In ordinary speech, that would be called socialism, and my belief in it has impregnated my life to such an extent that not only have I never voted for non-leftist political parties, but in my personal life I have steered clear of making friendships with people of conservative leanings with, of course, some very rare exceptions. I know this is rather a shameful thing to admit to, but there you are.
I had been thinking of making this full disclosure, a sort of half-joke, because I intended to launch into a review of the crazy antics now seizing the world political scene. But overnight that has been overtaken by a more immediate event, the election of Doug Ford by the supposedly highly educated electorate of Ontario, as Premier of that province. To be quite frank with you, this event has blindsided me to such an extent that I can almost not find words to describe my incredulity. It is not as if Ontarians have not been warned, since Doug was part of the duo of the late Mayor of Toronto, headed by his brother Rob, and Doug, who campaigned with pride on the record of his brother’s mayoralty, has never given any evidence that he is much closer to being sane than was the unlamented mayor.
Suffice it to say he followed the Donald Trump playbook, saying over and over that he was going to make Ontario so damned great, Ontarians as prosperous as they have never before been, and that he was going to do it by cutting government expenditure --- where, exactly, pleaded his opponents, where are you going to cut, how many nurses will be laid off, how many teachers, how many schools closed? --- without, he said, giving the big, expansive smile, one person losing his or her job.
Given the history of Ford Nation, as he and his brother have been so amusingly called, that should have been enough to persuade Ontario voters to look elsewhere: after all, we are living in the 21st century, and this guy is vowing to abolish the carbon tax, to lower all taxes, to ignore everything we know about the climate problems threatening the globe, all the while claiming, as Trump has claimed, to be representing ”the little guy.”
No, no, no one could fall for such a crude political presentation, I thought, this isn’t serious. Is it? Is it?
Within 15 minutes of the polls closing, the Ford Nation had achieved so resounding a victory that the CBC was able to announce he had won a Conservative majority government for the first time since 1999 or thereabouts.
I have been watching election broadcasts all my life, and I invariably hang in to the end, waiting until each of the candidates has either declared victory or conceded defeat, a habit I have followed in spite of my distaste for the endless prognosticating of the commentariat. But as soon as I heard that incredible news, I transformed myself into a Quebecer, to whom this massive setback to the civilized Canada I had always half-admired means nothing, and retired to bed.
It is the following morning, and I haven’t been able to face more commentary about this event. As I have often observed, there is nothing so indecent, no idea so fatuous, that it does not attract a following of enthusiastic idiots (the template is the post-war educated, cultured nation of Germany, the homeland of Beethoven and Bach, which allowed itself to fall under the spell of an obsessed, murderous, thuggish gang that took xenophobia to the very limits of imagination, and yet who won enthusiastic support from the population.)
This event in Ontario lies literally beyond the parameters of my political world. I sit here musing about this democracy that is so endlessly prated about by the wealth-owning media. I have never been entirely sold on the idea of democracy in politics, certainly not when it is propagated as the answer to the problems of every nation and every people everywhere. Its one virtue is that it tends not to lock up people for their political beliefs, although the current situation in the United States, where democracy is as a religion, with prisons full of millions of black men and women, is surely just a political repression under another guise.
I think of Europe, struggling so manfully in the 70-odd years since the Second World War to put their endless wars behind them, and create a united population, only for it to begin to fray under right-wing attacks by xenophobes and nationalists. I think of Latin America, having so painfully struggled free from the reactionary rule of American and European money, gradually drifting under democratic voting, back towards the old ways of political murder gangs and state-sponsored executions.
Democracy every way, democracy everywhere. Oh, yeah, what a great future lies ahead.