So. Here we are, in the thick of this Rob Ford mayoralty implosion/explosion in Toronto. Parenthetical thought: not the only implosion/explosion we’re in the thick of. The nuclear industry has been imploding for years now; of course, it’s also unfortunately exploding. I suppose the same could be said of climate change. Or… hmmmm. Maybe even the human race itself. Lots of implosions/explosions these daze. Quite the party, isn’t it??
Woke 2 days ago with the words “Plutonium has a half-life of…” on my brain (correct answer = 24,000 years). What a way to start the day. (Of course I am an anti-nuclear activist, after all, & all too aware of the Fukushima disaster & the disasters there yet likely to take place … possibly imminently.)
But for sure you can’t get away from the Rob Ford drama in Toronto currently – not if you’re a resident here & listening to “the news,” anyway. (Hmmmm. Note to self.)
I’m a pretty big fan of CBC Radio, so I’ve been almost drowning in this … drama.
Needless to say, it’s become a bit tiresome.
But then, I’ve never exactly been a big fan of drama anyway. It’s just so bloody draining…
Anyway, so the CBC noon interview show [on November 6th] was about shame. Asking listeners whether perhaps we’ve lost more in ditching shame than we’d quite entirely banked on.
I sure as heck haven’t lost my ability to feel shame. I spent decades of my life feeling ashamed of something that was for sure not for me to feel shameful about at all.
& heck, I’d just been to a shopping mall (on my personal list of 100 things I’d rather not do, shopping tops the chart, at shopping malls ESPECIALLY); had to do this exchange, & while there could not bring myself to buy a supply of the underwear brand I’ve bought for years, seeing on its label that it’s manufactured in Bangladesh (burning factories? Inhuman treatment of poverty-stricken workers? & also # 1 in the already-referenced climate change im/explosion?) … because I would feel … ashamed of myself.
As I was driving out of the absurd gargantuan suburban shopping mall parking lot, a brown guy actually spat on my windshield. I had probably given him kind of a dirty look as I headed toward him, given the way he was walking right in the middle of the darn road. The dirty look wasn’t because he’s brown & maybe Muslim – as it happens, I have a very lovely brown, Muslim son-in-law, & there is a pretty wide streak of disinterest in intolerance that runs through my life, happily, happily.
What made me feel ashamed was when I contemplated telling city friends about this encounter, I realized I would have to confess to having been in my car. Most of my activist friends don’t do cars; they’re activists, & cyclists, & I keep quiet about ownership of my (very fuel-efficient) little Yaris, & I do ride the TTC or walk or bike 99% of the time.
Besides, as previously referenced, I’m not a big fan of drama anyway.
That guy who spat on my car knows pretty much diddly about the person whose car he spat on (except that it was being driven by a white woman who gave him a questioning look). I also know pretty much diddly about him – except that he is a brown male person who spat on my car … & speculating about him & his motivations would suck up too much of my precious psychic energy (as all my dearest friends who know me know, there’s already a pretty busy party going on inside this head all the time, pretty much).
But back to Rob Ford. On the noon CBC call-in show, several callers expressed ongoing support for this mayor of Toronto who has already been given (alright, taken) 3rd, 4th & 5th (or 25th) chances by now.
People who continue to say they continue to support him have apparently failed to see any connection between misbehavior & shame & actual guilt … & also a complete, 100% lack of integrity.
Or the notion of trust. Can anyone seriously want this man to represent the city of Toronto in any situation, forum or venue of any kind whatsoever, anytime, anywhere. Ever? Does anyone actually think he can be trusted??
I mean come on....
Don’t get me wrong. I think our current senators’ scandal is equally appalling. Certain Canadian senators seem not to have clued into the fact that their behavior was shameful, if not criminal, & certainly at the very very least, extremely unethical.
Hmmm. Begins to look to me as though some of us are too easily shamed.
While others among us lack even an acquaintanceship with the meaning of the word.
& listen, readers, I’m not a complete idealistic, naïve moron. I’ve worked in the psychiatric & correctional businesses, & am currently actively engaged in being … an activist.
I am daily exposed to the shenanigans (okay, wrong word) – the evil, planet-& people-destroying practices & proclivities of the nuclear industry. Sick puppies, to put it rather mildly.
Well. Maybe I should just say I’m ashamed of the entire human race … which, actually, now that I come to think of it, I guess I pretty much am.
& leave it at that.
We really are quite a piece of work, aren’t we??
p.s. like many determined activists, I no longer spend my time dwelling on hope. Some do continue to "hope." For many of us now, I think, hope has left the building … but that does still leave us with action!
p.p.p.s. on the day after I posted this: I suspect we all need to be drawing on our compassion often. I know I do. I need to dig for my compassion for Rob Ford. & for that guy who spat on my car windshield. And. Hmmm. Probably for myself, too. Life is tough, & challenging. For all of us. For sure, for sure, for sure...
‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it’s the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer
Others that spring to mind:
“Are we at the crisis point? We’re way beyond it. The crisis point was thirty years ago. Aldous Huxley said, in the 1930s, that the greatest danger was that people would come to love their servitude. The crisis comes from not only the reality of that, but also from the fact that this economic model that people have bought into is completely unsustainable in environmental and social terms. It gives the greatest power to a small number of people who happen to be chewing up the planet at a fantastic rate. That whole model of consumption and corporate celebration and living by corporate models is killing us, and will continue to do so until everything collapses – which, judging from climate change, ozone depletion and other measurements, could be fairly soon.” ~ Jerry Mander, quoted in Adbusters magazine, Nov/Dec 2001 issue
A letter to Greenpeace magazine in the May/June 1990 issue: “Your insightful feature was titled ‘How We Can Save It.’ This is too optimistic. It should have been phrased as a question – ‘Can We Save It?’ – the answer to which is “no.” The multitudes will not voluntarily make the personal sacrifices needed for the environment until they are choking to death from such disregard, and by then it will be too late. Don’t get me wrong. I’m in this battle to the end, but I fully expect it to come to that.” -- Louis Philips, Albany, New York
Bumper sticker: “Politicians should dress like racing car drivers; at least then we’d know who their corporate sponsors are.”
“Successful politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies.” – Walter Lippmann, American writer & political commentator (1889-1974)
“A politician is required to listen to humbug, talk humbug, condone humbug. The most we can hope for is that we don’t actually believe it.” – Character in P.D. James’ A Taste for Death
“He who doesn’t know is an ignoramus. He who knows and keeps quiet is a scoundrel.” – Bertolt Brecht in ‘Galileo’
“These sectors of the doctrinal system serve to divert the unwashed masses and reinforce basic social values: passivity, submissiveness to authority, the overriding virtue of greed and personal gain, lack of concern for others, fear of real or imagined enemies, etc. The goal is to keep the bewildered herd bewildered.” – Dr. Noam Chomsky, from ‘What Uncle Sam Really Wants,’ censored ex parte from WUTK radio’s Alternative Nation, Summer 2001
“We tell lies when we are afraid…afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” – Science fiction author Tad Williams, quoted in Deep Truth – Igniting the Memory of Our Origin, History, Destiny, and Fate, by Gregg Braden
“All the high-sounding speeches about liberty and justice are meaningless, unless people – you and I – breathe meaning and force into them.” – Robert Kennedy, 1961
“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are confident and the intelligent full of doubt.” ~ Bertrand Russell – quoted in CCPA Monitor, April 2008
“THE WORLD NEEDS a new weapon: the estrogen bomb. Imagine: you drop it on an area of violent conflict, and men throw down their guns, hug each other, apologize and say it was all their fault, and then start to clean up the mess.” – from the UTNE Reader -- Original from THE GUERRILLA GIRLS, activist artists
“Live simply so that others may simply live.” – Gandhi
** Tons of great quotations gathered up here Main nuke-related section is called 'No More Nukes!' & can be found up at the top of the blog.