It’s been a busy weekend and I have my friends to thank for that. Yesterday I was invited to a great southern supper by an American friend who was missing her family on Thanksgiving (but is happy to be in Canada with her new husband and daughter). Today, I visited friends out of town who had recently had some medical issues (which were taken care of by the Ontario Health Plan). I realized that when I was giving thanks on Saturday, I didn’t say thank you to this great country we live in. I’m thankful for my friends but even more thankful for Canada. It’s not perfect and as citizens we have a responsiblity to make it the best place possible. That’s my challenge for all of us – do something to make it better.
Monthly Archives: November 2011
I think I’ve fallen in love with David Suzuki again. When I was a kid every month I got a slew of magazines in the mail. I loved getting mail at all but to recieve pages and pages to read with a window onto the world was amazing. Ranger Rick was on of my favourites, along with Owl. Great science and nature pieces. I loved David Suzuki then (along with Robert Bateman). I haven’t seen him this riled up in a while and he makes my point much more elequantly than I did last night.
Don’t you know, they’re talking ’bout a revolution, It sounds like a whisper
Don’t you know, they’re talking ’bout a revolution It sounds like a whisper
While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time, in the unemployment lines
Sitting around, waiting for a promotion
Don’t you know, they’re talkin’ ’bout a revolution It sounds like a whisper
Poor people gonna rise up and get their share
Poor people gonna rise up and take what’s theirs
Tracy Chapman, Revolution
I have to admit I don’t fully understand this. I agree with the basic premise that they are protesting. The economic divide is worse than it has ever been. In the United States right now 99% of the nation’s wealth is held by 1% of the population. (In Canada the divide is not as great but it’s growing.) It’s okay to be wealthy in a capitalist society but when that wealth is gained by kicking other people down it’s not okay. I understand bailing out big banks so they don’t collapse but think of how different the situation would be if the same amount of money had been given to the home owners who were losing everything. Or perhaps, the bonuses that were still given to the CEO’s could have been paid into a fund for people who were losing their jobs.
If the people who were the other 99% were doing okay then it wouldn’t be as big of deal. However, the middle class is disappearing, soon there will only be upper and lower class and where do you think you and I will land? This movement has been growing for years as I think John Q, a 2002 movie starring Denzel Washington, showed how the average Joe (or John Q. Public as our title character) can lose everything so easily. Don’t think we’re immune in Canada just because our hospital care is paid for. Prescriptions aren’t, medical supplies aren’t. I know people who have to choose between food and prescription drugs or rent. The protests make sense to me.
However, I don’t really get the whole occupation. Originally it was a novel idea that brought attention to an issue in North America that would have continued to be ignored otherwise but now it is bringing out more attitudes. We have issues with police using excessive force and pepper spray. We have people upset that their public spaces are not accessible. And we have people that want nothing to do with outright civil disobedience and I think that’s where I find myself.
A better idea to me is for the movement to continue general assemblies and teach-in’s but to go home at night. That way there is some visibility but no built in excuse for people to hate it. It just seems like the illegal occupation has stopped the conversation.
Okay – so we’re in a virtual coffee shop so let’s talk coffee shop. I’m not a Starbucks customer so I’m wondering about a commerical I saw tonight. It showed an iced drink that appeared to be coffee based. Have they had this for long? Is this to compete directly against the Iced Cap? (Which I have tried and don’t like so I won’t be trying the Starbucks version either so don’t bother trying to convince me)
Because 64% of the illiterate people in the world are female
Because only half of all women in North America can expect a company pension and at half of what most men collect
Because in some countries a woman’s testimony only counts half as much as a man’s
Because 99% of the world’s wealth is held by men
Because many women do not have access to birth control or safe abortion
Because genital mutilation still occurs within many cultures
Because 17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape
Because rape within marriage isn’t counted as rape in many areas (and by many people)
Because women make up 80% of the 800,000 people trafficked annually, with 79% trafficked for sexual exploitation
Because 60 million girls worldwide are married before they turn 18, often in arranged marriages
Because only 20 countries out of 196 currently have a female head of state
Because murder occurs in the name of honour within our borders
Because women should be treated as equals – no more and certainly, no less.
“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons”
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Many years ago there was a coffee shop in the small town I grew up in. It was called by various names but always had the same cast of characters. It was a place where you could sit for hours with a cup of coffee (or tea) and chat. You talked with people you had known for years, some you just met and some who you wished you had never met. The subject? Anything and everything. Conversations about the world and what matters in it. I intend my blog to be the same. The only rule is respect – feel free to disagree with me (in fact it makes it more interesting) – just tell me why you’ve come to a different conclusion looking at the same world.
As a society, we don’t tend to have deep conversations with loved ones or strangers. I think the reasons for this are many – we don’t have time to think things through and come up with our own opinion, we’re afraid of offending others or we don’t think our opinion matters. We figure we are so different from others that there’s no point in saying anything. But if we’re all so different are we really?
And what do we lose by not having those conversations? Ask the occupiers if they feel like they’ve been listened to before they took the drastic step of occupying public places. Ask people who don’t vote if they feel like they’re listened to. If we don’t speak then how can anyone hear?
I’ve moved the coffee shop online. (Just as well since the combination of a smoking ban and people spending $5 all night drove it out of business.) Welcome to Cup Conversations. Put on the kettle and stay for a bit.