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B.A.L.L.S.: Canada defined by lack of choice

Tim Handelman | Interrobang | Opinion | April 11th, 2011

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
What can be said about this world in our heads, these minds with minds of their own?

The election is upon us, another opportunity to pretend that we live in a democratic society. Democracy is not the opportunity to vote for one of four old men who look like someone slapped a piece of bologna on their heads, or a loud, big-haired sundress at their heels in the form of the leaderless leader of the Green Party.

We are not a democracy: I didn't vote for the expansion of the 401, or the space shuttle program, or who teaches my children, or where my taxes go, or which TV shows to censor.

Democracy is a system that allows all the people to have a voice; it is transparency, it is community, value, fellowship and peace. We have a corporate bureaucratic autocracy whose overall goal is to maintain the status quo. It is better than most, but the goals are not for the people, they are for other balding, gray-haired old men who sit at their mahogany desks and play house with the country.

What do those outside of Canada think of us? How do we look to them?

We have to decide who we are and who we are to become as a country. If one were to personify Canada as a stereotype, who would we be? Are we a rich, pompous, nosein- the-air, mink coat snob that put on the G20 conference? Pinky fingers erect as we sip our tea, cross our legs and talk about the stock market, weather, gossip, and then hit the golf course. A conference where it seems we were more interested in showing off to a bunch of old men from around the globe than getting down to business. Instead of lakes and fences and bully cops, we could have gathered in a pub, tossed back a few and chatted about the same pile of nothing that cost us $1.5 billion.

Are we the bully of the world who goes around the globe, putting people into headlocks? Are we the killers and cops and mercenaries that abound in Afghanistan and Libya? Who are we to take the lives of others?

Are we the rednecks of the world? Are we the polluters (we are seventh in the world for the production of pollution), the car idlers at drive-through restaurants, wife beater-wearing, tree burning, land wrecking rednecks?

Are we the sneak who looks the other way when someone holds out his hand in desperation? Are we the thief who steals the indigenous land and culture of others?

It seems we are a lot of things, but who are we really? How does the world see us on this playground of Earth?

Are we the softhearted nerds of the world? Innovation, intellect, poetry, art, science, clean energy, humanitarians, love of animals and trees, respect, tolerance, quiet, confident and caring. A nation that isn't afraid to lend a hand, to open our doors to those in need, a nation that gives knowledge without the expectations of a return.

When you go to vote next month, think not only about who we are and what we need, but also who we are going to be and what it will take to get there. It is said that a nation gets the leader that it deserves — I think our lack of choices this election says a lot about who we are as a nation right now.

B.A.L.L.S. is Bitching About Life in London and Society
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