Thanks? Thanks For Nothing.

October 9, 2011

(In a turkey induced stupor, we were unable to properly vet the words written below from our long lost colleague, Acaphlegmic, who has returned from the wilds of the mythical land of Ford Nation and, well, the wilds themselves. He is primed, pumped and ready to Occupy something. [We’re partial to #occupykevinoleary] The following words and sentiments do not necessarily reflect those of the management.)

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Hey ho, good citizens of Toronto. Like General MacArthur (but in a good way) I am returned. My revolutionary zeal stoked by the taste of fresh killed moose meat and homemade liquor. The seeds of dissent have been sown. The fuse of righteous indignation lit. Let’s get this party started right!

As a certified member of Club `68 (if you have to ask what that is you’re on the wrong side of history, boyos), I feel that the time for the Big Pushback is upon us. We have been far too complacent in this country for more than 30 years now. Let’s not be mere spectators on the sidelines any longer.

What do we want? The re-establishment of our social contract! When do we want it? 1979!

You know, back in the days of my youth, those whose sole purpose was to make money by any means necessary were highly ridiculed, left to plot away deviously amongst themselves in their boardrooms, golf courses and men’s only clubs. They were not treated as demigods or paragons of merit. They weren’t allowed to cow the population with their own TV shows. I’m fired, Mr. Trump? I don’t think so.

Our Titans of Industry were more circumspect. They knew if we knew what they were up to, well, out came the pitchforks. So it was kept on the q.t. Out of sight, out of mind.

There was also the last vestiges of the noblesse oblige ideal. Privilege entails responsibility, and all that touchie-feelie, New Age nonsense that dated back a few centuries. Great wealth demanded certain sacrifice for the greater good.

Now we hear the snotty dismissal of ‘entitlements’ attached to things like pensions, liveable wages and working conditions. The only entitlement allowed these days is the entitlement to obscene amounts of money with the most minimal contribution to the welfare of the state possible. If you’re not rich or even able to keep a job that maintains a basic standard of living for you and your family, that is hardly anyone else’s fault but your own.

Class Warfare! Class Warrior! Richist!

No, no one’s seriously talking about nationalizing banks and other financial institutions. Although… although… No. Ignore such radical, leftwing nuttery. What we’re talking about, what our demands are, are far less extreme than that. (Good. I’ve set the rock back down.) We demand an end to undue influence on our political system from moneyed interests. We demand more oversight of the freewheeling and dealing that knowingly packages up bad debt and makes a profit from it. We don’t want all your money. Just a little more than you’ve been paying for the last 3 decades or so. We demand all criminality be punished equally. We demand that you regain a conscience.

Now hold on just a second the pundits of profit are saying. Our banks here in Canada didn’t get into all the monkey business, or at least not to such a terrifying degree. Canadian banks are regulated. Why you so down on the Bay Street suits, baby?

We’re talking a much larger illness. Even here in Canada the good, Canada the clean, income disparity is the highest it’s been in over 80 years. Our middle class is getting squeezed. Well paying jobs are dwindling. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Our schools are bandaged together by bake sales and out of teachers’ pockets. Too few of us control too much of the national wealth pie. Too many of us profit from the misery of others. Our federal government, fresh with its majority status, is setting about to abolish public subsidies to political parties. Just who’s going to fill that gap?

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. So said JFK back in 1962. To go around squawking about leaderless protests, full of bongo playing, know nothing hippies is to be simply setting a collision course for angry mobs, ugly confrontations and blood in the streets. That kind of thing can’t happen here. This isn’t Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria. Hopefully not. But it’s going to take both sides agreeing that there’s a systemic problem needing a fix. Sooner not later.

There’s been warning signs for a while now. Pretending not to see them only increases the probability of ugly battles ahead. Accept the fact a deal’s been broken and offer up redress.

Until that’s done, let the Occupation begin.