Monday, November 22, 2010

My Crisis of Faith and What Must be Done to Restore it

I am having a crisis of faith. Not faith in my country but faith in liberalism. This is very serious in a country known for it's liberal values.

When the Progressive Conservatives were eaten alive, I supported the NDP, and while I still have a great deal of respect for many of their MPs, I lost faith in their leader. He no longer stood up for Canadian values but had become just another politician.

Then when Michael Ignatieff was named party leader, I joined the Liberals. The first time in my life that I had officially joined a political party. And putting my money where my mouth was, I contributed funds. In fact my husband and I will have contributed the maximum this year. The first time either of us have ever given to a political party.

But I had read Blood and Belonging and The Rights Revolution, and I believed in what Mr. Ignatieff stood for.

But where is that man?

The latest fiasco over the extension of the Afghan War has me wondering if I chose the right route to getting rid of our dictator.

That doesn't mean that I'm going to cut up my Liberal card or stomp off mad, because I still believe in the basic fundamentals of this party. But if they are going to agree with one of the worst decisions ever made by this government, without even telling us why, then the Liberal Party can no more call themselves liberal than the Conservative Party can call themselves conservative.

This is not what I signed on for.

I think I have a better understanding of the events leading up to the Afghan extension announcement. Bob Rae visited Afghanistan and saw an opportunity for a peacekeeping role. Stephen Harper got wind of it so made it political, as he does with everything, announcing the Liberal plan as his own. Then when the you know what hit the fan, he rallied the right-wing media, to spin the story, deflecting blame from Harper himself.

But I don't care. Our role as Peacekeepers should have been put in place years ago, before we allowed Rick Hillier to suggest that it is our military's job to kill people.

That ship has sailed.

I understand that sometimes if you want to help the world's most vulnerable, you have to take up arms against their oppressors. But in Afghanistan, we are the oppressors.

We are propping up a corrupt government and killing people. Lots of people. Women and children. The elderly. Innocent civilians. They no longer want our "help", trust me. They just want to be left alone.

Paul Krugman has an excellent column in the New York Times: The World as Obama Finds It, where he is questioning whether there is any difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.
On Wednesday David Axelrod, President Obama’s top political adviser, appeared to signal that the White House was ready to cave on tax cuts — to give in to Republican demands that tax cuts be extended for the wealthy as well as the middle class. “We have to deal with the world as we find it,” he declared.

The obvious point is the contrast between the administration’s current whipped-dog demeanor and Mr. Obama’s soaring rhetoric as a candidate. How did we get from “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” to here?

Obama was going to change the world.

In fairness he has had to face a lot of corporate funded opposition with the Tea Party and Fox News, who have been relentless. But if you really want to show that you are different, say to hell with them all. He'd probably find more Americans agreeing with him than he thinks.

In Canada we are facing the same corporate funded opposition, but it's time the Liberals said to hell with them all, and I thought I had seen a few signs of that.

Michael Ignatieff stated recently that while he opposed anti-Semitism, "...stressed that a balanced and informed questioning of Israeli policies was not anti-Semitism". We need more of that.

Michael Ignatieff agreed to decriminalize marijuana for personal use. We need more of that.

The Liberals will reopen the Prison Farms. We need more of that.

They helped to save the gun registry. We need more of that.

They promised to reopen the fighter jet contract. We need more of that.

They promised to end corporate welfare. We need more of that.

They promised to preserve Medicare. We need more of that.

What we don't need is more Stephen Harper, and that is what we are getting with this Afghan WAR.

The right-wing's latest convert, Chantel Hebert, has given Ignatieff his death notice. I'm putting him on life support. Don't make me pull the plug, by showing me there's some signs of life.


  1. In spiritual traditions, a crisis of faith is always a chance for transformation and growth. I hope that your crisis has the same effect because your wisdom is too precious to lose. I love your blog.

    Perhaps you'll try the Greens next. When I realized that the Liberals were actually neoliberals, the Conservatives were neoconservatives, and that all three major parties were tied to an ideology of limitless resource exploitation and growth - at all costs, there was only one sane choice for me. That's why I'm Green.

  2. No matter what I know I can always safely blame HarperCon for any misdeeds; at the same time I am left wondering doesn't anybody over in Liberal headquarter want to do anything about keeping us informed as it happens. I guess they are not used to this???? Are they trying to communicate with me (the masses) and I'm just missing the message or something? I don't think so, I feel I'm as well informed as any human being has time for in Canada.

  3. The liberal party has made some unforgivable mistakes since leaving office. I would love to know who is advising them.
    Rae's decision to focus on humanitarian needs & training was indeed correct but the way it was dealt with was not. He should have forced Harper to flip flop publicly on this issue before announcing the liberals intentions. He had already made his point that it would be irresponsible to just cut & run so there was no need to make the public commitment before Harper did. It was a dumbass move and it did give Harper cover.
    And it gave fodder to the pro Harper press to spin it like its Bob Rae's fault that we are staying and now the liberals are taking the heat for it.
    Informed people know that the blame belongs squarely at Harpers feet but the Harper cheerleaders that pass for our supposedly unbiased free press never miss an opportunity to let Harper off the hook and blame others for his many failings.