Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hard to be a Hippy These Canadian Days

Leftism has always been associated with 'cool.' Sticking up for social values, progressive norms and citizens' rights are inherently noble initiatives. Stick it in the eye of the man! Take that Vietnam. Fuck you Reagan (or Nixon - pick your poison)! Down with censorship; free Tibet; pull out of Iraq! Burn a bra while wearing a Che t-shirt made by under-aged workers in Taiwan.

Forget the hypocrisy involved and just go with it, duuuude.

These were cries we could all rally around as young people, right? The current Canadian version, however, is increasingly discordant and meaningless.

As a purported supporter of the federal Liberal party I simply can not smoke a metaphorical joint to this theme song any longer. Always plodding along left of centre, the party's mere existence now appears steeped in proving as much. It's as if a man who really wants a truck buys a compact car to merely show off that he isn't poorly endowed. There are better ways: just take your pants off.

Show some guts and make a decision based on merit, not image, political expedience or salience.

I only envision a Liberal caucus meeting as Woodstock footage on loop. Dion hammers the tubla to a steady beat while wide-eyed friends throw leftist redundancies through the mounting haze. With Hendrix blaring in the background...

War? Oppose it!
Taxes? Raise them again!
Families? Support them!
Education? Devise disingenuous tax shelters for the rich and force an election on the issue!
Publicly funded government inquires? Hold them on anything possible!
Quebec? Support secessionist , leftist parties if it counters the Conservatives!

The political left has a purpose, and a good one at that. But by sticking to cliched mantras this country's historically dynamic brand of socialism goes nowhere fast. Like the aimless hippies before them, the Liberals are becoming a staid group of anti-everythings, direction-less opportunists hard-pressed to take a stance. The party is too high to figure out who's even in charge (though, granted, it is hard with the accents).

The NDP, our revamped marxists, are no better - they jump on the convenience bandwagon like fringe Communist parties of the 60's laying claim to social reform they had little to do with.

But Layton does look good in green. And sitting next to Lou Dobbs I vaguely envisioned a cigar in his mouth.

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