Friday, December 22, 2006

The Politics of Polarization

Stockwell day wrote, "Aaaaanyway, it appears that local libs now send bits and pieces of my local columns to their favourite spear-chuckers down east who are quick to unleash a volley of indignation, which makes for good fodder back here at home."

This statement has been interpreted as racist because the word spearchucker has been used as a slur against black people in the US. My guess is that Day doesn't even know that meaning of the term. I don't think there's anything racist in his statement.

However (or should I say, Aaaaanyhooo...) there is something really offensive about the statement, and that is his mass dismissal of Eastern Canada. He not only makes an inept attempt to smear us as "spearchuckers", but he implies we're shrill, whiny complainers who Albertans laugh at. This is part of a pattern of contempt for people who live east of Manitoba.

This smacks of the successful Republican ploy to refer to anyone who lives in the eastern US as "east coast elitists", with extra scorn reserved for people who went to Ivy League colleges, as if rednecks and good 'ol boys are the only ones who understand the common folk. And it's worked brilliantly in the US, resulting in the current faux Texan commander in chief.

This sort of politics of polarization should be vehemently resisted. We in Ontario suffered through years of it during the reign of Mike Harris. The right-wing strategy of polarizing parts of the population to create greater support in their base while disenfrachizing those who don't agree is about as anti-democratic as it gets. In Ontario, it resulted in jack-booted riot cops planted outside Queen's Park and all kinds of horrible stuff it's too depressing to relive... a 17 year-old Sarah Polley having her teeth kicked in, a cabinet minister leaping backward into a bush and claiming he'd been pushed by a protestor, a demonstration being pushed from Queen's Park and moving up Yonge Street while a small handful of looters broke windows and armed police calmly watched, thereby discrediting the entire demonstration... it was a dark, scary time and not one to return to.

Government should govern for everyone, not just their so-called "base". The Alberta-based Harper government gets a lot of leverage out of pissing on the majority of Canadians who live in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. We're not laughing.


1 comment:

Yappa said...

Hi ex-ndip,

We disagree again! Still and all, I appreciate the comment. Have a Merry Christmas!