Easter Contemplation

Being an outsider in all matters religious I must confess to a certain unease with the concept of Easter. It is a period of observance that, laying it all out on the table for you, kind of gives me the willies. The joy that springs from death, and not only death but a savage, grisly, barbarous death at that, unsettles me.

Yes, yes, I do understand that this is the serious meat and potatoes of Christian faith. Death and resurrection and one must die in order to live eternally and that Jesus was put up on the cross for our sins but couldn’t he He have taken the whole Socratic route and insisted on drinking a cup of poisoned hemlock instead? Too suicidal for you? How about just one to the back of the head then? Clean, simple and we’re all off for the rest of the weekend to wait for his miraculous, heaven-bound reappearance.

It’s the reveling in the gory details of the death – the Gibsonian Passion of the Christ – that seems so unnecessary, so full of life denouncing abnegation. Existence is nasty but we must bear it devotedly in order to live again gloriously in the presence of our Lord and Saviour. Just putting in time, probably miserably, until I can shrug off this mortal coil and kick back to enjoy eternity without a care in the world. Far too much stake in the future for my liking.

In addition to which, if the whole Easter holiday is so important to Christians, why did I get a phone call from a friend in the U.S. yesterday who expressed surprise that I wasn’t working? It’s Good Friday, dude. The whole place is closed up almost as tightly as it would be at Christmas. Apparently not so much Stateside. Aren’t they supposed to be the most religious country in the western world? If the whole Easter commemoration isn’t that important to them, are they practicing their religion incorrectly? Should someone explain it to them?

And another thing. If the death and resurrection of Jesus is so integral to Christian doctrine, what’s with all the Christian based anti-Semitism? If he He had to die in order that we all shall live again, shouldn’t we be thanking our Jewish friends for setting the Romans on Him? Judas should be celebrated rather than reviled for betraying Jesus. If he’d done the honourable thing and not sold Jesus down the river for a few pieces of silver, history, as they say, might have been entirely different.

Still, I’m not going to turn down the prospect of a couple days off for the sake of a theological quibble. Especially not this weekend given that it seems we’ve skipped the whole spring thing and plunged right into summer. I slip into my sockless shoes, pull out the old straw fedora and head out for a mid-afternoon promenade along College Street.

Only to be stopped up by crowds of people that can only be described as nothing less than a throng. It’s as if taking a cue from the weather, the street festival season has just decided to start. Cars are parked everywhere. Huge packs of families meander, ice creams in hand. It’s a holiday, sure, with exceptionally good weather but.. all of Toronto has descended onto College Street? The Eaton Centre must be closed.

Then the music kicks off, a dreary funeral dirge, and I suddenly come to my senses. The Good Friday Easter Procession making its way through the heart of Little Italy. You think I would’ve remembered, what with all the previous talk about this particular religious festival. So I step up onto a restaurant doorway to watch the passing of the parade.

Almost immediately, The Godfather or, more precisely, The Godfather Part II springs to mind. Robert DeNiro’s young Vito Corleone stalks the white suited local mobster, Don Fanucci, during a similar religious procession in New York and kills him in the darkened hallway of a tenement walkup. Another Easter. Another execution. There seems to be no escaping it.

The procession participants are mainly older expect for those having to do anything at all overly physical. Like the Jesus who’s getting beaten up by Roman soldiers. Outside of that, the numbers skew heavily toward the elderly. I wonder if their children, down visiting from places like Woodbridge and now watching from the sidelines, will step up and fill the void when this generation dwindles. There’s that whole death and rebirth symbolism at work again. It’s hard to imagine. Rather than occupying a central spot in the lives of the younger folks, religion is merely observed, thought of only during the holiest of days and on monumental occasions like weddings and funerals.

There it is again. Funerals. Death. No escaping it, it seems when Easter comes around. A funny thing to design a life around if you ask me.

Politicians on Parade

No wonder they came up with the whole bunny angle. Sure, sure. Life is full of pain and misery. Death awaits us all. But it’ll all be worth it when we go to heaven (if we go to heaven… otherwise… well, just get to heaven) and live forever in blissful contentment. Not sold? OK, so there’s this bunny and he brings you chocolate…

religiously submitted by Urban Sophisticat

Manifesto Of Independence

If it wasn’t abundantly clear to everyone before the McGuinty Liberals handed down their latest budget last week, it certainly should be now. Their interest in the future welfare of Toronto is fleeting and politically mercurial. They do what is expedient not what is right. Continuing to hope and depend on the good graces of the province to look out for our best interests should now be considered pathologically negligent.

So… So… To paraphrase the words of some olde scribes:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume…the powers… entitle[d] them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

It has become increasingly apparent that since 1995, successive provincial governments have proven themselves incapable of properly governing this we call Ontario, as it has evolved since its conception some one hundred and forty-three years ago. Now over 13 million people strong with nearly half of those living in what is known as the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and more than 2.5 million in the city of Toronto itself, this is no longer the Upper Canada of Confederation. We are now a territory of two solitudes; predominantly urban where once we were rural. Ancient rules of rule cannot stand.

As Jesus was quoted saying in Luke 5:37-39: And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’

Even battered and bruised as it has been with the economic turmoil of the last 18 months, Toronto and the GTA remains the economic engine that drives the province. More money is extracted from it then is returned in goods or services, and while equity throughout the province is a laudable goal, it cannot be achieved to Toronto’s detriment. This has been the situation for the past 15 years but now has become untenable.

When the Liberals swept to power in 2003, they did so with the promise of undoing the fiscal damage inflicted on this city by the Harris-Eves Tories. Over the course of their 7 year reign, they have been slow to imperceptible in doing so. The latest example came with the budget declaration of deferring $4-billion of previously announced support for transit construction. This was the biggest budget cut in what was a lower than expected deficit and amounted to nothing more than one big Fuck You to Toronto and environs.

An already starved transit system is now being further deprived. Despite all sensible advice and opinion, the Liberals are displaying a shameful neglect of a much needed necessity if this region is to continue to grow in a manner that benefits all and compete successfully at an international level. By reneging on their previous commitment to build a better transit system in this city, the provincial government has once more abdicated their authority to govern us.

And what did the major contenders for Toronto’s top job say about this matter when they gathered together last night for the first official mayoral debate? Rob Ford wants to save the city a few thousand dollars by eliminating free rides on the TTC for councillors. George Smitherman demanded the resignation of TTC chair, Adam Giambrone.

These people are campaigning to be nothing more than mere window dressers. Errand boys and girl Friday bidding to do the dirty work of cutting, burning and slashing as demanded by their provincial evil overlords. Rather than pushing back, they are meekly bending over.

We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke are now looking for candidates who recognize the lay of the land and know what needs to be done. The process of separation must now begin. Pure and simply Toronto, and any of the contiguous region that wants to be a part of it, should demand provincial status. Those who now occupy Queen’s Park on a part time basis, representing an electorate outside of the 416/905 area codes are to be rejected and replaced by a legislative body who’s primary concern is Toronto. There is no other way to properly ensure our interests.

While it may be too late for this campaign, a caucus of candidates (not a party, you understand, because that’s forbidden at a municipal level by the provincial government) needs to begin to coalesce around the idea of an independent Toronto province. A Block Toronto, if you will, to push the agenda into the public consciousness. To argue persuasively about its viability. Toronto First, Toronto United!!™©®

When our elected officials refuse to listen and willfully ignore our requests, what alternative do we have? Sitting on our hands and only speaking when spoken to is no longer an option.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the a united States of America Toronto…do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these this Colonies city, solemnly publish and declare, That these this United Colonies are city is, and of Right ought to be Free and an Independent States province; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown Ontario government, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain province of Ontario, is and ought to be totally dissolved… blah, blah, blah.

Toronto First, Toronto United!!©™®

patriotically submitted by Cityslikr