Thursday, 24 September 2015

Dear "Albertans Against the NDP"

OK. You don't like the NDP. I get it. You don't like its platform, policies or ideology? Fine. You are free to hold your own opinions, campaign for another party, or run for office, Vote for another party at the next election. That is your right. Diversity of opinion and the freedom to vote are essential aspects of every democratic country.  But you can't expect a "recall" or a "vote of non-confidence" or demand that another election be called immediately. That is not how our democracy works.

Some of you are bitter that the party you supported for decades lost. Understandable. After 44 years in power, it must be tough to feel your views are not represented in the legislature. You'll get another shot at it in a few years,

But could I just give you a few tips-if you really want to advance your cause? Suggesting you tear down every NDP lawn sign you see and creating a big bonfire in the ditch violates section 325 of Canada's Election Act. Saying the Premier's office should be burned down or that Tom Mulcair should be hung from a tree is also illegal.

It might be a thought to tone down the personal insults as well. Among the over 600,000 "retarded idiots" who voted NDP on May 5 you may well find your neighbour, your local pastor, your kids' teachers, the nurse who tended to you during an emergency, the fire fighter that just saved your house from burning, and the doctor who diagnosed your latest illness.  Anyway maybe don't go around saying, "Any of you guys want to admit you voted NDP should give me your address so I can come over and slap your face." That kind of crude bullying doesn't help convince any thinking person that they should support you.

You don't like the Premier? Ok. But your misogynist comments, including calling her a witch, a f--king bitch, "an ugly whore", a "twat", a "no-good stupid piece of sh--", the "fricken devil I seen in my nightmares", a "stupid blonde thing" and a "snatch" doesn't demonstrate that you understand the issues that face our province.  It just shows that you hate women. And I'm not sure if anyone cares what your "buddy" who knew her in high school thinks, especially his view that she was a "high maintenance c--nt". 

And calling for her assassination? Enough already.

Every quotation in this blog was taken directly from the "Albertans Against the NDP" Facebook page, a page describes itself as not being affiliated with any political party. It  states "Anyone antagonizing or trolling will be banned." Yet apparently hate speech and threats of violence against individuals are ok.

It seems that the bulk of the people who comment on the page blame the NDP for the collapse of the energy sector. They frequently comment that anyone who votes NDP is a "leech", a "parasite", or a "lazyass welfare bum" who should "get off your asses and work for a living."

I don't expect people to understand the global economy or even know the basics about how the political system in their own province works. But can these people unite the right by playing on fear and ignorance, encouraging the hatred of women, and allowing vile name-calling and threats of violence?

On second thought, keep it up, "Albertans Against the NDP." Keep dividing the right. Because I hope the intelligent and compassionate supporters of a more right wing ideology, many of whom are my friends, will find another way.

There is too much hate in this world already.

Note: After continuing threats against the premier, on October 20 2015 the RCMP announced it was investigating continuing threats to Premier Notley published on the "Albertans Against the NDP" Facebook page. Later that day, the site was taken down. A new version was released the next day.

Friday, 11 September 2015

magical journey

"Come outside. You have to see this!" says my husband. I'm exhausted by the grueling uphill walk to Namche Bazaar in the Himalayas of Nepal. We had arrived in darkening skies, surrounded by dense fog in drizzling rain. We checked in at the first guesthouse we found where were to sleep on narrow benches under the windows in the dining room at the lodge, up a long flight of wooden stairs.

"Seriously? I'm too tired to walk all the way down the stairs!"

"It's worth it," he says.

So down I go, my legs ready to give out at every step. The fog has lifted. The village is surrounded by high peaks topped with glowing snow. The air is crisp and clean with a touch of woodsmoke. The sky is filled with enormous stars that seem close enough to touch. From the monastery far away comes the haunting moan of the dungchen, the Tibetan long trumpet. We stand in the stillness and take it in.


Years later.
We arrive in the evening at  "Backwater Farmhouse," an oddly named string of cottages in a small village along a Kerala canal near the Malabar Coast. We feast on southern Indian specialties and then are shown to our one room cottage on a narrow point of land.

At sunrise, chanting wakes me. I walk out onto the small deck. In front of me is a completely still body of water,reflecting the surrounding palm trees. The sky is gently lightening into pinks and purples. There is a soft swoosh nearby and a giant cantilevered fishing net rises out of the water, its operator standing in the water below. A cormorant spreads its wings. The air is filled with singing from a nearby Syrian Christian church, invisible in the jungle. This time it's me who tells my husband, "You have to see this."

I have arrived and departed at hundreds of places over the years. Many times I have arrived in the dark and woken up to unexpected wonders. Woken up to the magic that is part of our lives. Magic that catches me unawares.

 My life. Full of magical surprises I did not expect.