Schoolyard Antics   

I would rather be a little nobody, than an evil somebody. Abraham Lincoln

You see these people everywhere. Or rather, you experience them. Whether you want to or not. It’s in their doggedness, the soulless bird of prey gaze and the rush of words that interrupt you. The pursed smile meant to entice, then consume what they see as the little nobody.

ZAs children, these folks were the ones in the playground with the smart mouth, chest puffed out, and fists at the ready. I suppose they wanted to impress their friends. Or perhaps they hoped to feel better about themselves. Whatever the reason, their ultimate goal was to intimidate the little nobody.

They’re adults now. I would use the words ‘grown up’, but that would be a stretch. Nothing significant in their personalities and outlook has changed. Winning at any cost, their objective. If only they could slough off their feelings of superiority as a snake sheds its skin. But that would be too easy.

They have families, hold good jobs, and some are in positions of power. They are your neighbours, your pharmacist, the CEOs of major companies, officials in senior government and the person sitting beside you on the bus. Their experience working with others has not taught them about fair play so they persist with the kind of behaviour that made them the terror of the schoolyard. They haven’t been chastised as adults in the same way they may have been as children. Instead, they have been rewarded by a society that admires that go-for-broke, leave-no-prisoners arrogance.

Don’t believe that these people have thrived? Take a look around. You won’t have to go far to find the type of person I’m talking about. Check out our Prime Minister’s performance. You’ll see what I mean.

Stephen Harper tried to distance himself from anything to do with the senate scandal, but couldn’t quite clean that dirt from under his fingernails. He tried. He stamped his feet, proclaimed his innocence. Yet in his detached glare, evasive smile and clenched fists, reminiscent of the bully questioned by the principle, Mr. Harper showed us that for him responsibility lies anywhere but on his shoulders. After all, being accountable is for the little nobody, not for those who consider themselves above the rules the rest of us consider essential to our society.

And now our prime minister and his party have more tricks up their sleeves. Have you heard? His latest antics are intended to disrupt the liberal convention. Really? Don’t you have a country to run Mr. Prime Minister? Or is staying in power the sum total of your life’s goals? No one is going to like you any better just because you have a title in front of your name or an office with staff to hide behind. Trust me.

On the other hand, maybe we should be thankful that our prime minister and his government are spending more time worrying about the other guy than doing what we pay them to do. I mean do we want any more flawed, short sighted legislation than we’ve already had to endure?

Recently, our government introduced changes to the Elections Act. From all accounts this legislation is an affront to democracy. The Americans are advising us that the provisions for identification will make it more difficult for some people to vote. Does Canada need any further erosion to the democracy we once enjoyed? Absolutely not. Does this legislation give the advantage to the conservatives? Absolutely. As with any bully, the end game is always about power.

You may have fooled and enticed some Mr. Prime Minister. But most of us have seen through your schoolyard antics. We, the little nobodies, are patient. We will wait for an election. We know, as you do, that the ballot box is where genuine clout lies.


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