Monday, September 29, 2008

Talking Politics

I was just over at the Yarn Harlot's blog and read her letter to Stephen Harper.

Ever since I was old enough to vote, I have made it a policy to never tell anyone how I vote. There is a reason that we have a secret ballot. I will tell you this:

1. I don't necessarily vote the same way as my husband: My mother didn't always vote the same way as my father, I'm sure. I remember my MIL telling me one time that she votes the same way as her husband so as to "not cancel out her vote". I said to her, "You wouldn't cancel out his vote, we have more than two parties in Canada. You are entitled to your own opinion." I wonder to this day if this was a sign of the beginning of her Alzheimers or if it was just a sign of the times in which she was brought up.

2. I don't necessarily vote the same way as my family or friends. We can still be friends, but only if you're not a short-sighted narrow-minded idiot who thinks that the answer to all of everyone's problems is the same thing: We should all be well-educated and have good paying jobs.

3. I do not vote Conservative. That leaves me quite a few other options. Don't ever ask me who I vote for, because you'll lose a little respectability in my eyes. My politics and my spiritual beliefs are cards that I hold very close to my chest. Sorry if that bothers you.

All that being said, I will never suggest to you how you should vote... but I want to let you know how I feel about Stephen Harper's most recent comments about arts funding. This is what I posted on the Yarn Harlot's blog:
Stephen Harper's politics disgust and enrage me to no end.

Apparently, Steve has never seen an ordinary Canadian enjoying the arts.

I have yet to see any local bands perform at a black tie gala. It's usually at a grungy bar where we're all wearing jeans. It seems quite accessible to "ordinary"
Canadians. Just because it's not a black tie gala, does that mean it's not art?

Our friends perform street theatre - the people that attend their shows
seem like "ordinary" Canadians to me. The plays even seemed to resonate and
entertain them. Should they be out getting "real" jobs and leave us all to stare
at empty stages, pages, and television and movie screens?

My husband is a recording engineer. His business teeters on the edge every time a cut is made to arts funding.

The bands that make it "big" do not all get there through participating in reality shows like "Canadian Idol" or winning "Battle of the Band" competitions. They get there by working hard, scraping together pennies, and sometimes, if they are lucky, getting a FACTOR grant to record their music. If they don't get a grant, it means that borrow money from their family, scrounge what little they have, and record bits and pieces at a time. They either record at night, after they are finished their day jobs OR they take vacation from their other jobs to record. They are "ordinary" tax-paying Canadians.

I know that you know this life well and you understand that it isn't an easy life. It's frustrating and it's full of ups and downs.

And every time a family member or a friend decides to vote Conservative, I can't help but feel that they are voting against my husband and I.

Maybe I'm just overly sensitive today but knowing that, in particular, my husband's family votes PC, well, it feels like they don't take his job seriously, even after 15 years and a crazy number of albums; quite a few of which were either nominated for or won awards.

For you knitters - please keep in mind that Fibre Arts are Art too.

Ordinary citizens, please make your decisions wisely this time around.

7 comments:

  1. Margaret Atwood wrote a lovely piece on this topic last week. In it, she mentions knitting (and other crafts) as artistic endeavours. Made me love her all the more.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080924.wcoarts25/BNStory/politics

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  2. This hour has 22 Minutes, or maybe it was Air Farce did a skit that sticks in my mind. It was after Harper came in to office. They stated how Harper had gotten tough with the War on Terror, and then he started the war on literacy and the war on women too.
    Now there's the war on art?

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  3. This was my comment on the Yarn Harlot's blog; it fits with your post so I'll re-post it here too...

    "Stephanie, I hope your soap box is large enough for another ordinary Canadian to stand up with you. I thought I had misheard when Mr Harper made the Arts – elitist statement. Until I heard it again. How insulting.
    I think maybe his sweater vest is too tight and it has cut off the circulation to his brain.
    Does he believe that the ordinary Canadian doesn’t read books, listen to music, go to craft festivals, admire a piece of art, attended plays, or concerts...?
    Well, Mr Harper I do all of these things and yes I also watch TV; mostly CANCON if you must know. Mr Harper, I am not an artist nor was my income derived from an artistic field. Mr Harper, I think you have lost touch with the ordinary Canadian.
    Then again you don’t want to hear my opinion as I know how you feel about Atlantic Canadians; or maybe I misheard you... and what you called us was elitist and not defeatist...ya, really know how to piss of the ordinary Canadian, Mr Harper."

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  4. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for posting this, Steph!

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  5. Well said.

    Honestly, it's like Harper wants us to hate him.

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  6. no voter apathy here! advance polls are this friday, saturday and next monday i believe. (just in case i get struck down by a bus before the 14th...) get out there and have your say knitters!

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  7. Politicians keep using that word "ordinary."

    Argh. I am NOT ordinary.

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