Stand up

Reading lately about more and more people taking a stand.

And in the same neurological impulse, I am realizing how absent this idea is from Canadian way-of-life and modern U.S. way-of-life also.

With exception to that last comment, I see that the Sean Bell injustice is not going away. There was a demonstration that got squashed in a hurry, but it was a broad and powerful display of supporters who shut down several arteries in Manhattan for times between 30 and 90 minutes.

When I saw this had happened, with the organization of Al Sharpton, I was proud to see that it had. As of late, I’ve been reading Democracy Matters by Dr. Cornel West. The book is clear in stating the general apathy of American citizens is something that needs to change. According to West, who is such an amiable character (and whom I think everyone should have the joy of watching speak) democracy is dependant upon outspoken debate, Socratic questioning of self, tragicomic approach to the future, and a love of truth. But the questioning is slowing from the sources it needs to come from. Everyday people. We need to question more, care more, wonder more, and give into the soma of TV and “celebritizing” and consumerism LESS.

That said, I have been seeing the contrary of this apathy in other places in the world who have relatively newer democratic experiments on the go. Yes, the American and Canadian democratic situation is also an EXPERIMENT, which I think a lot of people are unaware of…we/they think that the lawmakers take care of everything, and that all injustices are stopped before they get far, but understanding truly what’s going on in democracies means that there has to be CONSTANT (even in the best times) questioning and auditing of the day’s goings-on. We need to care and be aware at all times, because government answers to and FOLLOWS the people. It is NOT the other way around (thanks to my brother Todd for that insight).

Argentina farmers have been losing thier shit over this tax increase on their crops to the extent that they are closing down roads for three WEEKS! Hello!? Three weeks! The protests in New York were shut down in 90 minutes. It is uplifting to see people who are aware of their rights and their impact on the electorate stand up and say, “BULLSHIT!”

Here in Canada, where I live in Windsor, politicians push things through at will, with very little outrage or commitment from citizens, to looking out for each other like they do in countries where this democratic ideal is fresh, and in dire need of protecting. In provincial and federal politics, similar to state and federal in the U.S., people make their 6-figure salary opposing, partisanly, anyone on the other side of the floor. They’re not, for the most part, looking out for a solution, but just toting the party line and arguing in the best interest of their job, being re-elected (Duh).

Knowing this, we should be more involved in our view of this freedom we appreciate. We should be more like the monks in China. We should be more like the farmers in Argentina. We should be more like the voters in Zimbabwe. They realize the importance of the experiment of democracy, and they don’t want that dream to die in a tsunami of corruption and disinterest.

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One response to “Stand up

  1. All,

    Below is my response to an article posted to the CBC on the new border crossing, which I have passed along to the Windsor Star (ha ha). I spoke to a few people at the Windsor Star several years ago after a trip to Austin where the whole NAFTA superhighway was explained to me before anyone had ever heard of it. I was of course ignored.

    News sources recently reported on the construction of an expanded border crossing in Laredo, Texas. And did you know that the 407 is owned by an Italian company that owns toll roads around the world? People are in denial about the existence of a new superhighway, but there cannot be any doubt that this is what corporate USA, Canada and Mexico WANTS TO DO.

    Note how I stress WANTS? This is not something that HAS to happen. This is not something that is going to be a public service to the city. This is someones idea of a way to make money from a struggling economy before it fizzles out. We have the power to say NO because we are informed. I have been questioning the generation before me for some time, and this issue is major proof of ignorance.

    Please see this map, which approximates information I have been following for roughly 4 years on this topic.

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&ll=41.529142,-83.589478&spn=3.047029,4.790039&z=8&msid=112239434272785078886.00044cbad335bb465c9b4

    Windsor is continuing to be muscled around by American and corporate influence which results in profit for them, and failed construction projects for us (ie. East Riverside Planning area, Chrysler Headquarters).

    Please contact me if you want to discuss this further, and start spreading these ideas around if you believe them to be true. This is, afterall, our hometown we’re talking about!

    -Matthew

    RESPONSE TO CBC ARTICLE:

    This bridge is a make-work project geared to temporarily stimulate the economy but ultimately put the money in the hands of the Ambassador Bridge company and associated construction companies.

    The NAFTA superhighway will run through Port Huron / Sarnia, and after the auto plants all close in Windsor, this new project will be the most underused and most expensive project in the history of Canada-US relations. Stephen Harper Bush Jr. will make ensure the wishes of the Bush Administration are met without argument, as we are seeing from meetings with the 3 North American Union leaders in recent years.

    This is another bad idea along the same lines as the new hockey arena (abandoned Walmart FOREVER!) and tearing down the Norwich block in favour of a mostly EMPTY (Daimler) Chrysler Headquarters, among other make work projects the City has approved.

    Eddie Francis – LISTEN UP – Windsor DOES NOT NEED ANOTHER BORDER CROSSING! Your legacy is on course to surpass that of Mike Hurst. Stop killing Windsor, and start improving it.

    Solution? ALL TRUCKS go through Pt. Huron / Sarnia, all cars through Windsor / Detroit unless you have documentation stating business within 100km of either Windsor or Detroit.

    in response to the CBC article:
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/05/08/windsor-bridge.html

    -Matthew Baker
    Windsor, Ontario now residing in Redlands, California

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