For a time growing up, I considered two guys my best friends: Brad and Steve (Those names also tell you a bit about the demographic in my neighbourhood).
I often think back to the strange relationship we had. Most days we were tight, and around us we drew a bunch of other guys. If we wanted to play soccer, they played soccer. If we played four-square, they played too. If we wanted to bug the girls, which we liked most, we all did.
But on a frequent basis and with some regularity, conflict would cast one aside. Many times I was off entirely alone while Brad and Steve went off with the greater group of guys. Or Steve was cast out and Brad and I were best friends. Or Steve and I were BFFs. When someone got their feelings hurt, or girls or some petty squabble got between us, the dynamic always shifted. But over time, it was our own creations that separated us. We all learned when numbers were against you, the way back in was to divide the other two. Start some drama, whisper a rumour, get them fighting. Once the pair became singles, pick a single, create the new pair and get back in.
Playground politics, I suppose. I don’t know what else to call it, but it was far more about retaining power than making friends.
I feel like I am back there again. I’m arguing with friends, sniping at family and complete strangers about the most ridiculous stuff. Only this time, it’s not Brad, Steve and Marshall stirring it up, it’s Justin, Steve and Tom (also tells you something about demographics) driving the wedge between us all. Actually let me correct that.
Mostly, it’s Steve and his Conservative party.
Stephen Harper is regaining control of the election by dividing us all. He singled out a handful of identifiable people in a country of 35 million and forced us all to pass judgment on them. He put race and religion on the table along with crime and terrorism when we have no reason to discuss any of it.
But I know it's effective.
We aren’t talking about oil sands or pipelines or taxes or the economy or climate change or trade agreements or the Canadian dollar — the things this election should be about. And that alone should bother small-c conservatives. I consider myself one. Most times I have voted in my life, it’s been for the conservative option, best embodied by former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein in his earlier days: Low taxes, less bureaucracy. Stop corporate welfare, stop picking winners and losers in business and instead create a predictable environment where business can prosper. Don’t live beyond your means, build an emergency fund, be prepared, spend only if you have the cash.
Those were issues that got him elected. Sure he picked some fights with unions and some different groups, but that was part of the mandate he said he’d pursue. His cards were always on the table.
Instead, under these Conservatives, we are talking about niqabs, deportation of terrorists, muslims and barbaric cultural practices and criminals. I don’t care one wit about anyone else’s opinions on these things because they aren’t issues — not until Drama Steve creates them from thin air. I just hope his conservative supporters understand what he’s doing.
If you find yourself fighting and arguing with people you love and respect over this stuff, there’s only one reason.
It’s playground politics. I don’t know what else to call it, but it’s only about retaining power. It’s not about bringing us together.
— Marshall Jones is the editor of infonews.ca