The story of Canadian democracy throwing off a move to Despotism is as reassuring as it is puzzling....
… After Sleep….
“Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing itself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks. Methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam.”
[John Milton (1608-1674) Areopagitica]
In the impossible construction called a democratic nation every evil that arises in community can gather itself into a single force and seem to spread without hindrance: greed, bribery, flagrant breach of public trust, oppressing fear, racism, cynical exploitation of the weak and vulnerable, cronyism, manufactured militarism, organized corruption ….
Heartbreaking is the ease with which the single force seems to be accepted as … well … ‘the way of the world’.
All those who can benefit seem to choose to do so as the wrecking ball swings through the democracy. The others, mostly, seem to cower in fear. Here and there voices are raised. Records are kept. Violations are recorded and broadcast by means possible. Many of the ordinary means are bribed or coerced into silence, closed to what is real. Even so … the word goes round.
The single force concentrating evil in a democracy is not to be confused with the dark evil that controls despotisms, dictatorships … and that violently erases opposition. The single force doesn’t have that power in a democracy but works to achieve it, to turn the impossible construction called a democratic nation into a real, full-fledged despotism. It wants to do so. It works tirelessly to do so. It is like a poisonous boil that grows and pains and weakens the whole body. The pain is the warning sign … the call for remedial action.
In the impossible construction called a democratic nation the single force is usually given a name … and here in Canada it has been called Harperism, the name adopted from the chief (fronting) instigator, controller, manager, designer, and implementer of the steps that have been undertaken to turn this democracy into a despotism. And – as is usually the case – the beneficiaries of the single force actively deny its existence. Of course.
Our society – the kind of community talked about here – “the impossible construction called a democratic nation” possesses an almost magical ability to respond. Apparently a gathering of disconnected individuals, it is greatly and deeply more than that. We speak of “the body politic” (“polis”in Greek meaning “the people”) as if the whole nation is, at rare times, a single organism, a body … which thinks and acts.
As it did on October 19, 2015.
Word went round … and round. People talked. Books were written. Articles were exchanged. ‘Strategic’ organizations formed. Opposition parties spoke of ‘change’ to avoid open condemnation of incipient (and shaping) despotism. They were careful … almost complicit….
But “…like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks” Canadians took hold. They watched, towards the close, as “Harperism” employed one of the most unlovely political advisors in the English-speaking world. They watched “Harperism” goad on racism, attack a minority … and then (upon advice?) promise to mount greater racist attacks on that (and any other slandered ‘odious’) minority. They watched Stephen Harper declare (in campaign) the outright, bald falsehood that Canada is “the largest per capita refugee receiver in the world”, as he also declared the simple flat lie that, of the CBC, “there are no cuts” … lying openly, easily, casually, readily, frequently since lying has become second nature to him: his special skill - his sign of contempt for Canadians, his testimony of loyalty to thug corporations … and to thuggery.
In that behaviour is revealed such a closeness to madness that the Canadian organism – the impossible construction called the Canadian democratic nation – made up its mind.
It would remove Harperism. It would go around the fundamentalists – Corporate, Christian, neo-liberal, “Conservative”, Monetary, Media. It would remove Stephen Harper and “Harperism”.
And so the Canadian body politic “kindling her undazzled eyes”, watched and listened, weighed and worried. And then the impossible construction called a democratic nation made a choice. It didn’t make the ideal choice, perhaps. It didn’t choose even what it might have chosen if given a wide-open set of choices … and time to consider, perhaps. It may even have chosen wrongly… for the impossible construction called a democratic nation has, always, to work within the possible.
But the magic of Canadian democracy happened (despite Harper and Harperism using every fraudulent tactic to prevent it from doing so). The indefinable thing called Canadian history went into play; the indescribable thing called Canadian culture – deep and invisible – showed its face. And so … from the possible … it took the major step and lanced the boil from the body politic as an intentional act. It removed Harper and Harperism. For the moment … a possible (and likely) despotism was removed by “a noble and puissant nation, rousing itself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks ... kindling her undazzled eyes ….”
The other political leaders thanked Harper for his “contribution” to Canadian life. The neo-fascist-supporting major media began white-washing, ‘retrospective’ looks at Harper and Harperism. Paid ‘historians’ began the task of writing volumes of lies.