To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards of men (and women – I’ve added this bit because I’m sure Mr. Lincoln would agree). Abraham Lincoln
More than a few years ago now, I took a poetry workshop at Simon Fraser University, not because I wanted to, but because the creative writing program I was enrolled in made this course compulsory. The professor was excellent. I was in awe of my fellow students who teemed with enthusiasm and talent.
Me? Well, suffice to say, I’m not a poet.
Don’t get me wrong, I love every aspect of poetry: reading it, listening to it, dissecting it, interpreting it, and trying to understand the subtle meaning behind every word so wisely placed. What I can’t do is write it. It takes a specific gene or a talent or something I simply don’t have. Trust me on this one. I’ve tried.
During the course, we were required to write poems, then read them out loud. Upon hearing this, I started plotting ways to skip class. I fantasized about the professor taking pity on me. “You’re right,” I imagined him saying. “You’re not good at this. We both know that. So why pretend? How about I give you a pass, you get the credit and we save ourselves a lot of trouble?” In reality, he said no such thing. He was supportive and found something positive to say about my scribbles.
The last class was scheduled on Valentine’s Day weekend. One student wrote a beautiful piece for her husband about the tribulations they’d managed to overcome. I remember it even now ten years later. Mine sounded more like an out-of-tune protest, complete with fist pumping rants at the man (who ever he was).
When I got home I told my husband about the other student’s poem. “You could write that stuff too,” he said. “You don’t have to gripe.”
He’s always telling me to write something positive, uplifting. Not that all poetry is this way. Of course, it’s not. Some of the best protests have come in the form of strong poetic prose.
I’d like to write something upbeat. Really I would. I have many things to be grateful for. And I am. Grateful I mean, despite my weekly blog tirades.
Just this week, I found something else to fume about: the resignation of Alberta Premier Alison Redford. There were lots of rumours about why she resigned. Some said she was a bully, others said she didn’t listen to her caucus, some noted that she was too progressive for the party, still others suggested it had to do with her expense claims. The different theories abound.
It’s hard to buy any of them, because for each example of Ms. Redford’s faults, we see the same in our own Prime Minister. Being a well-known control freak, he has never allowed his cabinet ministers to have an opinion of their own or to speak to the media? He bullies his own caucus with the same ferocity he does members of the opposition. And how many taxpayer dollars have been spent to support his office, his security, and his travel? Will we ever know? So how I wonder can Mr. Harper get away with it while Ms. Redford cannot. The Toronto Star considers the same question.
I’d like to think that what happened to Ms. Redford has nothing to do with gender bias, but I’m not so sure.
Ms. Redford is a well-educated professional with a great deal of experience in politics. In addition, she has provided technical advice in constitutional and legal reform issues in Africa and was appointed by the UN as one of four International Election Commissioners to administer the first election in Afghanistan. She has held numerous national and international posts. How does someone with all her experience and ability fail where the lesser succeeds? I can’t figure it out.
Nor can Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. After hearing of Ms. Redford’s resignation, he noted, “I think that's a question that we really have to ask ourselves. How did we end up in a place where a party and caucus — a bunch of unelected people, a bunch of people who meet only behind closed doors —make decisions about the future of this province? It's a system that's not working.”
Good question. In the meantime...
Rail on I will
As Lincoln said
No coward am I
Discreet or Brash
My only Recourse
I warned you.
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