Time for Change

So, how does it feel knowing you’ve been conned?

No, no, don’t be looking over your shoulder. I’m talking to you, yes, you, the one reading this article right now.

Conned, you’re raising your eyebrows and ask? Moi? How have I been conned?

Well, for starters, don’t feel so bad. It’s not like you’re the only one. Yes, you’ve been conned. I have, too. So has your brother Bill, my Aunt Sally, and good ole Hank, who’s probably working on his car just down the street from you.

You see, dear reader, we’ve all been rooked. In metaphorical terms, we’ve been the spouse who keeps the dinner warm, the kids fed, and the bedsheets clean, while our significant other has been out knocking boots with the neighborhood floozie when they’re not gambling away the grocery money at the local track.

In short, we’ve been absolute idiots.

Not that it’s been entirely our fault, mind you. We’ve had it hammered into our heads since we were runny-nosed little kids scampering off to our first day of kindergarten that we’re the true north strong and free, that our system of democracy is numero uno, that we’re so blasted lucky that we don’t live in one of those foreign lands where blood lusty leaders hack the heads off of any poor soul who disagrees with them.

And to a point, they were right. Canada is, in this writer’s humble opinion, still one of the greatest countries in the world today to live in.

But remember, all good things must come to an end, as the old English Proverb (or was it Ashton Kucher who said that?) tells us. The Persian Empire fell, Nero fiddled as Rome burned, and a nation of hockey fans (minus Ontario) has had a chance to laugh since the last time the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup.

And, dear reader, if the fates that befell the Persians, the Romans, or the Maple Laffs are what await us, it is only you and I who are to blame.

See, laying blame at the smelly feet of our leaders and politicians is a cop out, and it’s time we admitted it. They’re merely doing their job, and we, the gullible little children who still can’t figure out how our Grandpa made the coin appear from behind our ear, play our part just a little too well.

Our provincial government, for example, dangles us a bone dressed up in a 2% carbon tax and the media and us pounce on it like a pack of ravenous dogs, ceasing only to pat each other on the back and congratulate one another for supposedly holding our leaders accountable.

Meanwhile, with our attention diverted, B.C. Hydro is now a full 1/3 owned by a Bermuda-based multinational corporation named Accenture. Add on to this the fact that B.C. Hydro is now forbidden by government policy from adding any new domestic resources for the production of electricity, effectively forcing themselves to buy the electricity we need from private companies at higher prices.

This is sometimes referred to as the Kansas City Shuffle, where someone makes you look left, and they go right. Bruce Willis talked about it in the movie ‘Lucky Number Slevin.’ In the movie, though, he snaps the neck of the poor sucker who’s listening to his story. Maybe we’re lucky we’ve only received a boot to the rump.

This sleight of hand isn’t only employed by our provincial government, though. Let’s look at our federal leaders.

While we argue and fight over something called the Green Shift or whether we should name 14 year old criminals in our newspapers or not, care to guess what they’ve been up to?

They’ve been secretly meeting with Mexico and the U.S. to establish a continental resource pact, a North American security plan, and common agriculture, health, safety, and environment policies. Since 2005, groups of government officials and corporate leaders have been stealthily putting this plan, called the Security And Prosperity Partnership, together. (Check out the acronym of the Security And Prosperity Partnership. Is that a Freudian slip, or an inside joke on us commoners?)

Anyway, in a nutshell, the previous paragraph means we should probably order some new atlases, as the borders of our nations will be erased.

But hey, at least we’ve been focusing on the important stuff, like whether we should out Tommy Jones in the local newspaper for forgetting to pay for that box of Smarties, right?

Looking southward towards our neighbours doesn’t get much better. This pains this increasingly jaded writer to admit, as I am an admitted Obamamaniac, but go check out Matt Taibbi’s well-written article in last month’s Rolling Stone magazine. It seems that all the big money and corporations are pouring money into both Obama’s AND McCain’s campaign troughs.

It looks like, unfortunately, come November it’ll be, to quote the old Who song, ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss.’

So, dear reader, we can blame whomever it is we want to blame, but to be totally and brutally honest, we just need to look in the mirror and admit we’ve all been a herd of bucket-headed sheep who have grazed in the field of apathy while our leaders, making doubly sure our attention is focused on how green the grass is we are munching, shear the wool off of our backsides, leaving our naked butts swaying in the wind.

(And yes, all you English teachers out there, I am perfectly aware that the preceding paragraph was one horribly long run-on sentence, but I suggest you sit down and write an article of your own so you can do the same.)

In closing dear reader, it looks like we can one of two things. We can turn off American Idol or Survivor once a week and get involved in the real issues of the day. No, I don’t mean only perusing the headlines of mainstream media or swinging so far to the other side that you’re a conspiracy nut.

Just be informed, there’s a wealth of info available to us all. With a little digging, you just may find out that Canada recently played a key role in blocking recognition that humans have a right to water. (And no, this isn’t merely the Conservatives who have done this, as the Liberals did the same when they were in power.)

So there’s the challenge I’ve laid down to you, dear reader. Ask questions. Find answers.

Either that, or we can whine and snivel and fall for the same ole Kansas City Shuffle we keep falling for time and time again.

It’s that, or WE can change. Me and you, dear reader, you and me.

Are you up for that?

Jeff Virtanen is a freelance writer and columnist. He writes on many subjects, all with a light-hearted approach to make people laugh, and hopefully think as well.