Monday, February 1, 2010

Dissent May be the Highest Form of Patriotism But Harper Has Banned us From Being Partiotic

I'm finding it very difficult to get pumped up for the Olympics this year. Yes I'll cheer on our athletes, but I think the days of these kinds of mega-events are coming to a close.

They are just too expensive and have turned into barely more than an opportunity for commercialism.

And with the need for such heightened security, perhaps the safest thing would be to go old school, without all the fanfare. Spread the venues around the world and then bring it all in via satellite.

Canadian security is so tight that even having a protest sign in your house can land you in jail. U.S. journalist Amy Goodman said she was stopped at a Canadian border crossing south of Vancouver ... and questioned for 90 minutes by authorities concerned she was coming to Canada to speak against the Olympics.

Columnist Bill Tieleman believes his Facebook group - NO BC HST - was removed because it cast a disparaging view of British Columbia.

But perhaps the worst for me and many others, is the fact that Stephen Harper is trying to hide behind the Olympics to avoid answering questions about his alleged complicity in torture.

However, if he was hoping these photo ops would soar him to a majority, I have my doubts he could lead his party into a victory at all. He's a loose cannon and they might want to think about firing him.

There was an excellent column in the UK Guardian, describing the boondoggle that these games have become. Author Douglas Haddow states that it:

... comes as no surprise that just days before the opening ceremony, Vancouver is gripped by dread. Not the typical attitude for a host city, but understandable when you consider that everything that could go wrong, is in the process of going wrong.
..."The Bailout Games" have already been labelled a staggering financial disaster .... While the complete costs are still unknown, the Vancouver and British Columbian governments have hinted at what's to come by cancelling 24,000 surgeries, laying off 233 government employees, 800 teachers and recommending the closure of 14 schools.

... Conservative estimates now speculate that the games will cost upwards of 6bn, with little chance of a return. This titanic act of fiscal malfeasance includes a security force that was originally budgeted at $175m, but has since inflated to $900m.

With more than 15,000 members, it's the largest military presence seen in western Canada since the end of the second world war, an appropriate measure only if one imagines al-Qaida are set to descend from the slopes on C2-strapped snowboards.

That's the way I'm feeling. I can't wrap my head around seeing all those police and soldiers in Canada. It just doesn't feel right somehow.

Is it fear of terrorists or fear of protesters that has prompted this? Is it an image of what the Olympic spirit used to mean, being tarnished by ordinary Canadians speaking out against their ballooning costs, at the expense of the people of British Columbia? Is it the fear that they will somehow put a damper on Harper's 'please like me again' tour?

Who knows? Probably all of the above.

But as Mr. Haddow says:
If things go pear-shaped and Vancouverites resort to their riotious ways, at least the city will get its money's worth out of that bloated security force and the ensuing spectacle will boost NBC's slumping ratings. After all, the Olympics are primarily a patriotic event, and in the words of the late Howard Zinn, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism".

No comments:

Post a Comment