A Tale of Two Speeches: the Proliferation of Casual Racism

Is it appropriate to wish people a Happy Black History Month? My first instinct is yes – after all we wish people a happy Pride Month and both functions serve similar roles for different communities. At the same time, by rebranding Black History Month as something warm and fuzzy, we risk stripping it of its political significance. After all, the mere existence of Black History month is inherently political. In a world where Civil Rights activists are accused of “reverse racism” (?) for simply acknowledging that Black Lives Matter, having an entire month to recognize the contributions of African Americans throughout history is downright radical. It’s also important because while ethnic minorities may enjoy equal rights under the constitution, our collective failure to address the legacy of racism has serious repercussions that permeate every facet of society even today.

The words “neutral” and “impartial” get thrown around in political circles like a badge of honour, but impartiality and neutrality in the face of adversity often become a casual endorsement of the status quo. It’s not good enough to trash your apartment and claim no responsibility for the fall-out because you’re no longer actively making a mess. Stopping the mess is just the beginning. You also have to clean it up. The mess you made affects everyone in the vicinity and you’re deluding yourself if you think it will clean itself. So it goes with racism. Contrary to what your shady uncle screamed over Thanksgiving dinner, racism didn’t end because a black man was elected to the White House. So many microaggressions against people of colour persist and if those go unchallenged you can’t act surprised when angry white men with Tiki Torches scream racial slurs in the street, or when the President of the United States bestows a Presidential Medal of Freedom on Rush Limbaugh. [1]

Yes, *that* Rush Limbaugh.

For those who skipped the State of the Union address the President’s speech went thusly:

“Rush Limbaugh: Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country. Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our Nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I will now ask the First Lady of the United States to please stand and present you with the honor. Rush, Kathryn, Congratulations!”

President Trump’s State of the Union address (emphasis added): February 2, 2020

Now, it’s true that Limbaugh has made significant contributions to charity but you’d be hard-pressed to find a public figure who hasn’t. Stephen King – one of the most successful contemporary American authors – has arguably reached far more people with his writing and still donates about four million dollars per year to charity. David Geffen made the Forbes Top 50 Givers list and gave more money to charity in 2018 than Rush Limbaugh did throughout his entire career. As far as I know, neither man is being considered for a Presidential Medal of Honour and these are only two contenders that I found in a cursory Google search. To be clear, Limbaugh’s failure to win at the numbers game doesn’t necessarily mean his charitable contributions don’t matter. Individuals should give according to their ability and most people will never even see four million dollars, leave alone donate that amount to charity and continue to lead a comfortable life. However, Limbaugh himself is hardly hurting for cash. He earned $84.5 million in 2018 and is the now the second highest paid radio host on air. This is not to diminish the significance of his contributions but it would suggest that Limbaugh’s win has more to do with his radio show than his charitable contributions, so let’s talk about his messaging.

Conservatives often complain about how Liberals throw around the ‘racist’ label in response to criticism. Even some liberal activists have argued that insults are counter-productive and do little to address ongoing racial inequality. This may be true, but I’m so sick of catering to fragile white, conservative, snowflakes that throw a tantrum every time they are held accountable for their words and actions.

If you don’t want to be labelled ‘racist’, stop being racist. Rush Limbaugh is racist.

Throughout his career as a radio broadcaster he has made multiple statements about ethnic minorities that even mainstream Republicans would find pretty cringe-inducing. Most famously, he told a listener to “remove that bone from her nose” when he claimed he could not understand what she was saying. He allegedly felt badly about this incident but even if that’s true, expressions of remorse ring hollow unless accompanied by a change in behaviour and Limbaugh didn’t change. He claimed that “the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons”. He used a slavery-era African-American pronunciation of “master” to make a pun on a governor’s last name. Finally, he was an unrelenting champion of the debunked birther conspiracy, which repeatedly claimed that Barack Obama, America’s first black president, was ineligible for the position despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

President Trump’s address was littered with references to “inclusivity” and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. He frequently self-identifies as “the least racist person you know” to combat his weirdly cozy relationship with white supremacy (though to be fair the president’s vocabulary consists of about 42 words in total, so he’s always “the most/least [accusation-of-the-day] you know”). However, much like Limbaugh cannot apologize for a racist slur against a listener and then act like nothing happened, Trump cannot abuse migrant children, tell minority congress womyn to “go home”, and put a Presidential Medal of Freedom around Rush Limbaugh’s neck and simultaneously be “the least racist person you know”. Words are meaningless when they fail to accurately represent your actions so once again, Mr. President, if you don’t want to be labelled ‘racist’, stop being racist.

Now, I am not trying to suggest that President Trump or Rush Limbaugh are accurate representations of the American everyman – I think even his supporters might argue that’s setting the bar a little low. What I am arguing is failing to call out micro-aggressions against people of colour create space for people like Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh to flourish. That’s why it’s so important to call out words or behaviour that marginalize vulnerable communities before they embolden people like Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump. And I’m not just talking about political office. It’s at work, it’s around the dinner table, it’s even at the BAFTA awards, which brings me to Joaquin Phoenix.

Yes, that Joaquin Phoenix

I was reading the news last week and saw that Phoenix made waves at the BAFTAs with an unorthodox acceptance speech. It’s funny, earlier that day I was making bets with my friends that he was most likely to go totally off-script during his five minutes at the podium until the Affleck brothers apologetically dragged him off stage. Nothing inappropriate, just ‘tastefully rogue’, like disavowing his award, disavowing the ceremony and pledging allegiance to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. What I didn’t expect was a thoughtful, intelligent criticism of white privilege permeating the film industry in its entirety. His speech went thusly:

“I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight. The Baftas have already been very supportive of my career and I’m deeply appreciative. But I have to say that I also feel conflicted, because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege.

“I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here. I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from.

“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment – although that’s what we give ourselves every year. People just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work.

“This is not a self-righteous condemnation because I’m ashamed to say that I’m part of the problem. I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I was on are inclusive.

“But I think it’s more than just having sets that are multi-cultural. We have to do really the hard work to truly understand systemic racism.

“I think it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it. So that’s on us.”

Joaquin Phoenix: BAFTA Awards – February 2020

And that’s it. He didn’t name-drop a person of colour and smugly pat himself on the back for having out-liberaled the entertainment industry. He didn’t deflect the problem and say that tiki torches may be racist but BREXIT was worse. Finger-pointing and humble-bragging may assuage our guilty consciences but they do little to address the problem at hand. A better approach would be to call out injustice as soon as we witness it wherever we find it so that the mere idea of a President Trump or a Presidential Medal on Rush Limbaugh become unthinkable relics of the past. If we wait for the President to put a medal on an outspoken racist before we speak out against discrimination then we waited too long.

It’s Black History Month. I’ve got a copy of Girl, Women, Other on standby that I look forward to powering through as soon as I finish my January book. But learning of Limbaugh’s win has also reminded me of the importance of examining my inner circle for structures or patterns of behaviour that keep systemic racism alive. I don’t want to find anything but the sad truth is I probably will, because there aren’t too many safe spaces untouched by the horrors of racial discrimination. If I find something, the next hurdle will be finding a means of dismantling it. Because the sad truth is there probably isn’t an impartial, neutral ground that we can all retreat to when political movements feel too real, only a choice to sustain a system or try and break it down.


[1] Just because I feel like it will come up, I would like to take a few minutes to express my condolences to Mr. Limbaugh and his family over his recent cancer diagnosis. To say I am disappointed in his antics as a radio host is an understatement, however I take no pleasure in the knowledge that he is sick. I do not believe in karma, or divine restitution, or any other theory which posits that cancer is nature’s police force and that Limbaugh “got what he deserved”. I truly hope he heals and devotes the rest of his life to being a better man.

Reflections on the Winter Solstice

Yuletide greetings, my friends! No, I’m not pagan but I always had a special affinity for the winter solstice. There’s something romantic and kind of sexy about the longest night of the year but it wasn’t until recently that I came to appreciate how it can also be a period of reflection. I realize it’s difficult to pause and take stock in the midst of the holiday cluster-fuck that encompasses everything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, but that’s really too bad. Everything around us is dormant. Grass is dormant, animals are dormant, even the sun is operating on reduced hours. It’s only humans that continue to race about like an army of coked-up orangutans until our credit card bills effectively stage an intervention.

in many pagan traditions evergreens symbolize symbolize life, rebirth and renewal. They were thought to have power over death because their green never faded, and they were used to defeat winter demons and hold back death and destruction.

And yes, I am just as guilty of coked-out orang-itude as the next guy. On top of the holiday shit-show I’ve also been finishing up my post-graduate certificate by correspondence for the past year-and-a-bit. As a result, it has been almost two months since my last post, so to my loyal followers who resisted the urge to hit the ‘unsubscribe’ button, thanks for sticking around. While I have kept up with my writing, it’s mostly been hypothetical cost-benefit analyses and those don’t make for very interesting blog entries. However, I’m pleased to say that I successfully completed the program and will be graduating in the spring of 2020.

I probably complained more than was warranted over the course of my studies but it has been a tough ride. Some of the courses were harder than I’d anticipated and not having regular face-time with my professors took some getting used to. That being said, the most challenging part of the program was watching the people around me do exciting and wonderful things with their lives while I was stuck at school. I realize that this sounds mean-spirited, and part of me does feel ashamed that my good wishes towards my friends were tainted by a touch of envy, but hearing about what all the people around me were doing and being unable to participate left me feeling like I was wasting my time.

My lowest point was last winter. During a routine health examination my doctor discovered a small tumor on my cervix, which was at risk of becoming malignant if it wasn’t removed. They scheduled me for minor surgery at the end of January, which as luck would have it was the exact same week that my co-worker was scheduled to have surgery of his own. As I was the most senior member of my team, this meant that I had just one afternoon to sleep off my own procedure before coming back in to work and acting for him until he recovered. To be clear, my procedure was fairly simple and I would have come right back to work regardless, it just complicated matters. Not only was I obligated to balance both my studies and a more demanding job, but I did so when my own recovery barred me from exercise and by extension, some much-needed endorphins.

On top of all that I got bedbugs in my apartment, because of course I did.

God, I was angry. All the time. Any time someone even asked me how I was, I wanted to break whatever-the-hell I was holding or scream at them for the mere crime of asking. All around me people were sharing exciting and positive developments in their lives while I had little choice but to retreat to a bedbug-infested apartment to weigh costs and benefits or change my post-op dressings, which looked and felt like an adult diaper.

another important yule symbol, believed to provide warmth and fend off evil spirits until the sun’s return.
Painting by Lynea Skeet

Nevertheless, she persisted. I powered through my last few courses and upon completion, received a pleasant surprise in the mail from my university. I was selected among my peers for an award, which included a cash prize of $2,200.00 As soon as I received the notification I immediately jumped online and started pricing vacations to Vietnam. Yes, I’d been dreaming about this for a while but more than anything, I was just desperate for some experience that could help me feel like I was moving forward with my life. That I was no longer incarcerated in an adult diaper but was adult-ing proper, just as well as any of my adult friends that I’d been envying all year.

I’ve since revisited this and decided to put off Vietnam for another year. From a practical standpoint I can’t go because I can’t find my passport, which I suspect is tucked in a plastic bag somewhere in my apartment, hidden from my old roommates (read: bedbugs). I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to find it or replace it in the next couple of months, and there’s no way I’m going on a dream cycling holiday during the rainy season.

More importantly, I’m not ready. The past year and a half has been physically and emotionally exhausting and I don’t want to rush in to a vacation largely to project the illusion that I’m moving forward with my life. I realize now that I don’t need to project anything. I am moving forward. Cost-benefit homework and surgical procedures may not be instagram-worthy but contrary to what the infomercials tell you, self-care rarely is. Self-care is essentially self-parenting. It can be tedious or boring or downright painful, but without it, the instagram posts will never amount to anything more than a hollow projection of the life you wish you were leading.

In the end, I decided to put my winnings towards paying down my student debt, which if all goes to plan should be paid off in the coming year. I hope to do Vietnam next year with an active passport, peace of mind and absolutely no cancer. In the interim I’m resting at home, on a mattress and a box spring as the bugs were loath to leave the frame, and I sleep better knowing the bugs are gone. I also signed up for an inexpensive creative writing course at a local university. Nothing cost-benefit related, or even blogging-related, for that matter. It’s a brief course on writing short horror stories for no reason except I love horror and I need a passion project. I doubt it will generate anything close to $2,200. In fact I’m almost certain I’ll lose money but that’s kind of the point. I’m not trying to do more. I’m trying to be content with doing less.

The winter goddess: while pagan traditions typically regard the sun a masculine, it is through the winter goddess that the sun is reborn. Original painting by Emily Balivet, 2011.

The holiday season, for all its many splendors can be overwhelming. We have our ancient Mesopotamian relatives to thank for the alcohol induced debauchery that we’ve come to associate with the season and we’ve added to the hoopla since. It’s an odd way to mark the year’s end when you think about it. Again, the nights are longer, the days are colder, the natural world is both literally and figuratively hibernating while humans obsess over a ‘new-year-new-you’, as if having at least three party invitations, a list of unattainable resolutions and someone to kiss at midnight are all requisite indicators of a year done right. However hibernation is not synonymous with regression just as sleep is not synonymous with death. That’s the secret of the winter solstice. That you can pause to retreat inwards and still move forward with your life.

So for the last time this decade, let me wish you a happy solstice. If in the coming year you find yourself in school, or in surgery, or in Vietnam, or anywhere else, I wish you strength to manage life’s challenges and appreciation for what life has to offer. I won’t wish you happiness, because happiness is fleeting and I want more for you than that. I do however wish that you be content with the life you made for yourself and continue to add to every day.

Thank you for your readership. It means more to you than you know.

Strange Bedfellows: Bipartisan Politics and the Potential for Social Change

“Auntie K?”

                “Yes?”

“Do you have a…..fishy?”

                “I do not, go fish. Alright, my turn. Do you have a….puppy?”

“Nope, I got a ball and a cat an-“

                “No, don’t tell me.”

“Why not?”

                “It’s the rules.”

“That’s dumb.”

                “I know, but I didn’t write them.”

“Can we go in the pool?”

                “Do you want to finish the game first?”

“No.”

                Thinking: me neither. “Alright, where’s your swimsuit?”

Thus completed my first and only attempt at teaching my nephew how to play Go Fish. Of course that was years ago and I’m fairly confident he now plays regularly and adheres to the rules, but at the time I thought he was on to something. Go Fish, when you think about it, is a pretty stupid game. It would have been so much quicker if my nephew and I had just worked together to match our cards instead of trying to match them in isolation by essentially throwing darts. Some may argue that competitive games emphasizing deductive reasoning are more exciting, but whoever said that never had to sit through a 2 hour game of fucking Clue. No, I think the real reason we have so many long, arduous, competitive games is simple, so that we can have a winner. It doesn’t matter how silly or pointless the game may be, some people will play anyways for no reason except to say that they won.


I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when I was scrolling Facebook, which of course was littered with reactions to the recent Canadian election. Our incumbent Prime Minister managed to secure a second term in office, but if any of his fans are on my Facebook feed, they’re sure not posting. Most of the posts I read ranged from the darkly humorous (“I can’t wait to see what Justin Trudeau is going to wear for Halloween now that he’s a minority”) to the angry and disappointed (“What the hell, Markham-Stouffville?”), to the mildly disturbing (“In 1672, a mob of angry Dutch killed an ate their prime minister – options, just sayin’”), the latter being especially unsettling in light of the recent threats of violence against Canadian politicians. However, one that struck me was from a former school friend who wrote “I can’t wait for the next election in six months!”

Maybe she was being sarcastic, but there is something a little unsettling in seeing someone be that cavalier about toppling the government before the house is even back in session. After all, elections can induce incredible anxiety among vulnerable populations whose lives and wellbeing may be threatened by the outcome, and it’s not fair to subject them to the same ordeal a mere six months later because you’re still butt-hurt over the fact that your guy didn’t win. Of course these same populations may feel just as anxious about a sitting government as they do about a prospective government, but at least when the house is back in session there is a window of opportunity to civil society to lobby for social change. Once an election is called, all bets are off. Parliament is dissolved, all incomplete business is terminated, committees cease to exist and Canadian tax-payers fork up, up to $443 million dollars[1] to pay for an election.

Am I suggesting that we should prop up minority governments at all costs? Of course not. Toppling the government is a legitimate course of action but like a late-night drunk text to an ex-lover, it’s not a decision that should not be taken lightly. If new evidence comes to light that the government is behaving irresponsibly or is flatly unwilling to compromise on any policy proposal then yes, a vote of non-confidence is warranted. But the critical difference is there has to be a good faith effort to compromise before the vote of non-confidence should be initiated.

It’s easy to forget in times of increasingly polarized political discourse that bipartisan cooperation was once a thing. If you look hard enough you can still find examples of it today; in some cases through very strange bedfellows who swallowed their pride and bit their tongues so that they could work together for the public good. Take for example the Democratic Party’s rising star, and card-carrying member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. No one would ever question AOC’s commitment to a more just, equitable society and she is not afraid to work alongside some surprising allies to see her agenda through. Take for example, Ted Cruz.

Yes, that Ted Cruz.

These two first connected via Twitter over their mutual distrust of politicians-turned-lobbyists, and made a tentative agreement to work on a bill to ban the practice. More recently they signed a letter, slamming Apple for deleting an app that enabled Hong Kong protesters to track police presence. Now, do these two politicians like each other? I doubt it. At best they probably regard each other with grudging respect. They just decided that the lives of innocent protesters are more important than interpersonal gripes.

Compare that level of maturity to the elephant in the Senate, Mitch McConnell. McConnell has taken a smug, palpable pride in being nothing but a cog in the wheel since he assumed the position of Senate majority leader. He has showcased is disdain for bipartisanship by blocking any and every motion from the Democratic Party for no reason except he can. The most famous examples include the sheer number of federal judicial appointments he blocked simply because they were appointed by former President Obama, most notably the Supreme Court vacancy left by Anton Scalia. As a result, the position remained vacant until President Trump appointed Brett Kavanaugh despite credible accusations of sexual assault and misconduct during his testimony. And of course McConnell approved that appointment. It’s all part of the grand ol’ party’s grand new strategy of ‘better the sex offender you know than the Democrat you don’t’.


While I can certainly understand Canadian’s disappointment with the election results, they do nevertheless present a remarkable opportunity for the opposition parties. The Liberals may be back, but they have been relegated to minority status and will therefore have to cooperate with the opposition parties to retain power. For instance, the last time that the Liberals ran a minority government was under former Prime Minister Paul Martin, which risked being toppled by the opposition unless they managed to pass their budget. Fortunately for Martin, the former leader of the NDP, the late-Jack Layton offered his support in exchange for a few amendments that would have bettered the lives of working Canadians. Guys, Layton got all but one of his requested amendments added to the budget. The government lived to see another day and desperate, vulnerable people did not have to wait in agony for an election to pass to secure their livelihoods.

Personally, I’m ready for round two. The Liberals have been able to pass bills for the past four years without contest despite having won less than 40% of the popular vote. They are now down to 33% but if they are able to work with the NDP, that’s 49%. If they can get the Greens on board we’re up to 56%. Just imagine the possibilities for a progressive agenda if the parties could put aside their differences and work together, if only for a while. One issue I’d love to see the NDP push for is electoral reform. Contrary to public perception, Justin Trudeau actually has a relatively good track record at keeping his election promises but one broken promise that still hurts is his failure to disband the first-past-the-post voting system. This outdated method has enabled majority governments to ignore the opposition for the duration of their time in office despite often winning less than 50% of the popular vote. Prior to the 2015 election, Trudeau repeatedly stated that he wanted to be the last Prime Minister elected under this system, but then reneged shortly in to his first term. His argument was that government consultations indicated that Canadians did not want electoral reform, though he never did share his findings that enabled him to come to that conclusion.


If memory serves, many Liberals were disappointed but many Greens and New Democrats were downright furious. As they have not yet won an election at the federal level, their ability to influence policy has traditionally been contingent on the other party’s willingness to work with them. This meant in practice that they were largely ignored until the governing party was relegated to – call it if you know where this is going – minority status.

In short, the time is now. To any third party member or politician reading this post, this is your window. You wield the balance of power and you can use it to ensure that you’re never ignored again. Justin Trudeau may have won the privilege of residing in the decrepit sarcophagus that is 24 Sussex drive if he so chooses (and as of this publication, he so chooses not) but if the Liberals want to get shit done, they require your consent. Because, yes, theoretically you could topple the government. That is your constitutionally enshrined right and may be called for under specific circumstances. But please, for all our sake’s, don’t let those circumstances be a dick-measuring contest you initiated to prove yours was biggest. You may take satisfaction in knowing you’re the winner but for a win to mean anything usually someone else has to lose. All too often it’s the electorate, the very people you swore an oath to serve.

[1] to be clear, the $443 million price tag was a bit of an outlier and came about when former Prime Minister Stephen Harper dissolved Parliament early in 2015, resulting in a campaign that was almost twice as long as previous election periods. The 2011 election price tag was $290 million and as of this publication, the 2019 election tally has not been determined yet.

The Power of Ritual

“who’s wishnowy?” My friend asked innocently. Her parents locked eyes before turning back on their daughter, who couldn’t have been more than six.

“Just now”, she continued, “in grace. You said ‘Lord bless this food, wishnowy take.’ Who’s wishnowy, and why does he want our food?”

Those of who grew up in a Christian household or have spent time among small children likely inferred that the line is “which now we take”, not “wishnowy take”. Fortunately the girl’s God-fearing parents could see the humour in her misunderstanding and she was able to stay and finish her supper instead of being sent to her room.

My friend still tells that story and it still makes me laugh, but more than anything it makes me think of rituals, and the things we say and do largely out of habit as opposed to any personal conviction. In this case it was religious but before any of you start hating on the bible-bots who never had an independent thought that wasn’t sanctioned by the pope, let me ask you this: how many of you sing the national anthem without considering the social and political ramifications of ‘true patriot love’? Ever ask someone how they were and were secretly annoyed when they said ‘not well’, thus obligating you to carry on the conversation even though you couldn’t give two shits if they live or die? God may be dead, but ritual and convention have proved to be pretty adept at finding new Gods to immortalize.

Until recently I was especially concerned about this problem in social activist circles, and how certain concepts or rituals embed themselves so deep in the popular discourse that we lose of track of what they mean and why we do them. To be clear, I agree with the sentiment behind many of these concepts, but feel that they are sometimes over-played or used out of context so that aspiring SJWs can showcase their superiority on the woke-o-meter without considering what the concept actually means. For instance, there are many examples of male privilege entrenched in our society but I’m not convinced that the ability to pee standing up is one of them. Ascribing a concept to a situation that doesn’t warrant it has the unfortunate side-effect of watering down the concept and depriving it of its impact. A sort of secular ‘wishnowy’ that we say out of habit so to preserve our hipster cred.

To some extent I think this true, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that lumping social activist phrases and rituals in with other tired rituals creates a false equivalency that overlooks the courage and conviction required to challenge the status quo. Yes, some activists may misrepresent social concepts or overuse rituals but they do so because they recognize that society is flawed and needs to be changed. The more I considered this the more I grew ashamed, and was forced to confront my own complicity in dismissing activist rituals that encourage social change.

This past week, Time Magazine unearthed several old photos showing the current Canadian Prime Minister – the young, charismatic, progressive with the face of a Disney Prince – attending three separate events in black or brown face. To be fair to Justin Trudeau, he has apologised and I don’t doubt for a minute that he deeply regrets his decisions. He correctly labelled what he did as a terrible mistake and made no effort to deflect or diminish the impact of his actions. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean others didn’t.

It’s been a few days and already I’ve seen more excuses from Trudeau apologists belittling the Prime Minister’s actions than comments on the actions themselves. They range from the naive-to-the-point-of-absurdity (‘it was 20 years ago’),to the willfully ignorant (‘it’s just a costume’), to the confused, non-committal shrug (‘he apologized’), to the ill-timed and poorly conceived attempt at satire ([INSERT TASTELESS MEME HERE]), to of course, the last bastion of Liberal apologists, appealing to public fear of the Conservative party (‘still better than the other guy’). It’s frustrating because I feel that the public at large is rushing to the Prime Minister’s defence before taking time to consider what he did that we are defending him from. What’s missing from these statements is an honest acknowledgement of the pain this inflicted on minority populations, which brings me back to the topic of rituals and the day-to-day things we say and do have the power to strengthen or diminish white supremacy.

While I try not to divulge too many personal details in this blog so to protect my anonymity, I will say that I am a white, Canadian citizen who’s ancestors emigrated here almost 400 years ago from Western Europe. While some may take pride in their identity of an ‘old stock’ Canadian, to me this came with a twinge of guilt as it meant that for almost 400 years, my ancestors have been complicit in or actively engaged in the colonization, disenfranchisement and genocide of the original inhabitants of Great Turtle Island. And yet, even as I acknowledge this, I’ve been reluctant to participate in the most basic of rituals that have been widely embraced as a positive first step to addressing this historic wrong.

Over the past ten years or so, it’s become common in my community to begin any event with a public acknowledgement that we are living on indigenous land that was never ceded or sold to the current occupants. It’s such a simple gesture. It does not necessarily require the speaker or his or her audience to take any immediate action. In theory the conversation could end there, and public admissions of historic wrongs could go the way of wishnowy, never to be thought of again.

But if that’s the case, why do so many people refuse to do it, or respond in anger when others do? Maybe forcing the audience to consider that much of what they think they’ve earned was stolen from innocent people can be a catalyst for change. Maybe their angry protestations against your being ‘too political’ are no more than a defense mechanism to insulate them from feelings of guilt and shame. Maybe denying the audience a retreat from this simple, uncontested fact will eventually encourage them to confront our country’s history of colonization and maybe, just maybe motivate them to make it right.

To be clear, indigenous land claims and minority rights are too very different things, but I’m not talking about those issues per se.[1] What I want to discuss is that rituals that reinforce historic wrongs against people of colour – be it a land claim or an insensitive costume – is what’s keeping white supremacy alive. It is every bit as influential as acknowledging that you live on stolen land but while the latter takes small, tentative steps towards addressing injustice, the former just maintains the status quo. Many people – myself included – were horrified by the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville but it’s important to remember that many of those participants didn’t become racist over night. It begins by normalizing archaic social rituals – such as blackface costume at a theme party – and refusing to consider new ones – such as acknowledging that actually, black lives do matter and this land was never yours.

So yeah, mea culpa. Equating all activist terms and rituals to saying ‘wishnowy’ out of habit was a grossly over-simplified and shallow understanding of social justice rituals. The latter is clinging to a social convention that you know longer relate to, while the former is an unwavering attempt to create new conventions that enable radical social change. After all, rituals both reflect and reinforce the norms and mores that societies are built upon. If you’re content to live in a society built upon a cracked foundation then there’s nothing I can do to stop you, but don’t act surprised when the walls come crashing down.

I’ve mentioned this in a couple of previous posts, but Canadian elections are right around the corner and while I would strongly encourage every eligible voter to vote, I recognize that many of us will leave the ballot box feeling less than stellar about our decision. The odds of agreeing with every single policy that a candidate proposes are slim, so voting usually comes with the unfortunate knowledge that you are rewarding a candidate that you disagree with, with your vote. This is not a criticism of democracy, rather a reminder of the importance of civic engagement at every available opportunity so to change the political landscape in to a more inclusive and compassionate version of democracy. And they don’t have to be big. It could be something as simple as abandoning a ritual you’ve come to question or adopting a new one that you’ve come to believe. Maybe if we’d done that 20 years ago, the current Prime Minister might have selected a different costume and condominiums wouldn’t be under construction on sacred grounds. Because the truth is rituals don’t have to be hollow. On the contrary, they can reshape, reorder, and redefine our understanding of the world.


[1] I will however, leave a list of articles written by people of colour in the comments section discussing the legacy of white supremacy.

The Party of “Intellectual Laziness” Episode I: The Carbon Menace

Julie Couillard was pissed. Three days after she’d left an urgent message with her ex-boyfriend, asking him to come by her apartment and pick up his files, he’d failed to show up. He’d initially suggested that she throw them in the trash, but after speaking with her lawyer she decided it didn’t feel right and went to his office to return them in person. It’s a good thing too, because her ex-boyfriend was then-Canadian foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier and the files contained classified information from a NATO summit concerning the military engagement in Afghanistan.

It should have been the end of him but if the 2016 American election taught me anything, it’s never underestimate the ability of an angry white dude to bounce back from political obscurity. Yes, Bernier resigned from his cabinet position but retained his position as MP within the Conservative party of Canada. After the Conservatives were re-elected in 2012, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper even reappointed Bernier to a cabinet position, albeit a junior position that lacked the prestige of his former office. After the Conservatives lost the 2015 election and Harper resigned, Bernier submitted his name as a candidate for the party leadership and was widely speculated to win.[1] In a surprise twist, Bernier lost the leadership race to current leader Andrew Scheer by less than 2% of the vote. Rather than accept defeat gracefully and present a united front going in to the next election, Bernier behaved as any self-aggrandizing narcissist would do. He jumped on Twitter where he denounced the Conservative party as “too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed“, and announced his intention to create his own political party. Hence the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) was born.

After the public scandal regarding the forgotten documents, Julie Couillard wrote a book to counter the negative publicity she’d endured from Bernier and members of the Conservative Party of Canada. Here she dishes out a lot of dirt on her former lover, including a now-famous passage where she accuses him of “surprising intellectual laziness”. To be clear, this post is not a review of Couillard’s book. I didn’t start this blog to weigh in on inconsequential ‘he-said-she-saids’ between two consenting adults. More importantly, I didn’t read it. I don’t know anyone who did. No, I’d much rather discuss Bernier’s “intellectual laziness” that is a matter of public record, and turns out there is no shortage of material.

I’ve read the PPC platform and the best way I can describe it is sloppy. It was clearly written to pander to the angriest members of the ‘basket of deplorables’ this side of the border, with no regard for feasibility or importance. Considering that they’re polling at a mere 2% of the popular vote, it’s tempting to ignore them altogether. However, Canadian elections are just around the corner and we cannot afford to dismiss obscure candidates under the naive assumption that they’re too crazy to get elected. That being said, it’s difficult to comment on the PPC platform as it contains enough hasty generalizations, internal contradictions and other logical fallacies to make a Fox News commentator blush. I could not possibly address them all in a single blog entry and therefore decided to tackle this through a three-part series of posts, each of which focuses on one pillar of their election platform beginning with their environmental policy. So without further ado, let’s hop aboard the train to crazy town and see what shakes loose when a confederacy of dunces runs for public office.

Episode I: The Carbon Menace.

The Conservative government under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was widely criticized for regressive policies on climate change, and rightly so. They withdrew from the Kyoto Accord, muzzled federal scientists, and drastically cut funds to both Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, all of which were widely perceived as politicizing science to appease the oil industry. I’ll say this for them, for as long as Stephen Harper was Prime Minister, he never had the nerve to publicly deny the existence of human-influenced climate change. In fact, while their plan was not nearly proactive enough, Harper himself went on record referring to human-influenced climate change as “perhaps the biggest threat to confront the future of humanity today”. The PPC, in contrast, went full Alex Jones and embraced conspiracy theories denying the existence of global warming.

As a rule I try not post overly long quotations and guys, I’m sorry, I really tried to cut this down. However every time I thought the stupidity had run its course, the PPC communications team surprised me by squeezing in one more argument against global warming that frankly reads like a high school bio student trying to bullshit their way through their final exam. On a positive note, no one in the PPC can accuse me of bastardizing their environmental platform, as this was copied, verbatim, directly from their website. Literally all I did was adjust the formatting for spacing purposes and delete the word “facts” – largely because including it felt like complicity in their nefarious plot to set the planet on fire. I may be sassy but I’m not a liar.

Let’s do this:

“The Liberal government is spending billions of dollars at home and abroad to fight global warming—or “climate change” as it is now called to account for every natural weather event and its opposite. In order to lower greenhouse gas emissions, it has imposed taxes and countless regulations, it subsidizes inefficient and costly “green technology,” and it is blocking the development of oil resources crucial to our prosperity.

“It is an undisputed fact that the world’s climate has always changed and will continue to change. Until twelve thousand years ago, much of Canada was under ice, and it is thanks to natural climate change that we can live here today.

“There is however no scientific consensus on the theory that CO2 produced by human activity is causing dangerous global warming today or will in the future, and that the world is facing environmental catastrophes unless theseemissions are drastically reduced. Many renowned scientists continue to challenge this theory. The policy debate about global warming is not grounded on science anymore. It has been hijacked by proponents of big government who are using crude propaganda techniques to impose their views. They publicly ridicule and harass anyone who expresses doubt. They make exaggerated claims to scare people. They even manipulate school children, getting them to pressure their parents and to demonstrate in the streets.

“Climate change alarmism is based on flawed models that have consistently failed at correctly predicting the future. None of the cataclysmic predictions that have been made about the climate since the 1970s have come true. No new ice age. No steady warming in direct relation with increases in CO2 levels. No disappearance of polar ice caps. No exceptional rise in ocean levels. No abnormal increase in catastrophic weather events. No widespread crop failure and famine.

“In fact, CO2 is beneficial for agriculture and there has recently been a measurable “greening” of the world in part thanks to higher levels. Despite what global warming propaganda claims, CO2 is not a pollutant. It is an essential ingredient for life on Earth and needed for plant growth.” PPC website, as of August 2019

Welcome back. Congratulations on making it to the finish line, your skills of perseverance are admirable. Need a minute? I get it. Go for a walk or a cool glass of tap water. I’ll wait.

….

…..

Feel better? Good. Let’s discuss.

Okay…a lot to unpack here. Let’s start with the argument that the climate “has always changed and will continue to change” until the sun inevitably swallows the Earth whole. Essentially they’re arguing that global warming is just a phase that Mother Nature is going through, as she’s done time and time again since the days of Eden. While scientists agree that the Earth’s climate does evolve over time, these changes usually occur over hundreds of thousands of years, not decades. The rapid warming that the Earth has experienced since the Industrial Revolution, in contrast, correlates to the higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is a direct result of human activity. Scientists have produced dozens of models that support this theory, that – contrary to what Bernier and the PPC suggest – are actually pretty good.

The PPC continues by claiming that “there is however no scientific consensus on the theory that CO2 produced by human activity is causing dangerous global warming” and that “many renowned scientists continue to challenge this theory”. Really? Got a reference for that, preferably one you didn’t scrape out of the cavity of your own ass? Because I have an entire assembly of scientists who – with the help of peer-reviewed sources and university experts – came to a very different conclusion:

In 2019, the government released Canada’s Changing Climate Record, where nine public servants from two government departments when on public record saying:

“There is overwhelming evidence that the Earth has warmed during the Industrial Era and the main cause of this warming is human influence. This evidence includes increases in near-surface and lower-atmosphere air temperature, sea surface temperature, and ocean heat content…The observed warming and other climate changes cannot be explained by natural factors…only when human influences on climate are accounted for…can these observed changes in climate be explained.”

The report goes on to list some of the many threats – both social and economic – that jeopardize Canada’s future if we don’t take immediate action to address climate change. Indeed, some of them may have already materialized, which begs the question how much worse it could possibly get. Most of these risks are associated with changes in extreme weather, with more extreme hot temperatures augmenting risk of droughts and wildfires, and warmer extreme cold temperatures, resulting in more precipitation and by extension, flooding in parts of the country. The social or human cost of these disasters is immeasurable, however, there are some reports indicating how draining they are on the Canadian economy.

The 2017 flooding in Ontario and Quebec alone cost the provinces an estimated $223 million in insurable damages to roads, businesses and residences as thousands were forced to flee from their homes as lakes and rivers climbed to a fifty-year-high. In addition, local businesses such as the Toronto Island Park lost millions in forgone earnings as their businesses remained closes for much of the tourist season. And these figures don’t even consider the costs associated with mobilizing the military to rescue flood victims, which generated enormous costs to the federal government and brought the national capital region to a stand-still.

And of course, there was the clean up.

The Disaster Financial Assistance program requires the federal government to cover up to 90% of the costs associated with eligible natural disasters, such as the flooding in Ontario and Quebec. From 1970 – when the program was launched – to 1996, this cost tax payers an average of $10 million per year. From 1996-2011, this climbed to $110 million. Since 2011, tax payers have paid approximately $360 million per year for clean-up costs, much of which was for natural disasters associated with global warming.

The PPC attempted to bury the sad truth under some absurdly optimistic pseudo-science, but if you were hoping to offset the apocalypse by planting a tree, then sorry to flood on your parade. Suggesting that global warming will help plants because carbon “is an essential ingredient for life on Earth and needed for plant growth” is almost as ridiculous as suggesting that plants need sunlight, therefore droughts are good for agriculture. Sure plants need carbon dioxide, but they can only absorb so much. The higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere compounded with loss of forests due to clear cutting means that plants cannot possibly keep pace with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. This puts us back at square one.

So let’s be real. While climate change adaptation may pose some challenges to our economy, that doesn’t mean that the status quo doesn’t come at a cost. Moreover, the longer we put off the inevitable, the higher those costs are going to grow. Many of these will be monetary but some will not, and may include losing a loved one in a forest fire or losing your home in a flood. So yeah, I guess the PPC was accidentally, almost right about one thing. I do want to scare people. I’m all for educating children about the risks of climate change. I’m a socially inept, introvert who’s afraid of crowds, but I’ll demonstrate in the streets if that’s what it takes. But I need to know that my leaders will stand with me, not bury their heads in the sand and wait for the storm to pass. That kind of naivety will only encourage the storm to stick around. Failure to recognize that is intellectually deficient, and refusal to act upon it can only be described as laziness.

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Bummed out? Yeah, me too. Take a minute but please tune in next time for Episode II: the Demagogue Strikes Back, where I’ll be discussing the PPC’s policy on immigration and why it sucks.


[1] As an aside note I distinctly remember that leadership contest because former business man and reality TV star Kevin O’Leary was also in the running. At the time I considered O’Leary to be ‘Trump of the North’ and was actually hoping Bernier would win. Who knows what kind of leader O’Leary would have been but I’ll say this for him: as the son of a Lebanese immigrant who recognized the benefits of immigration, I don’t think we would have seen the same nationalist, racially-charged rhetoric that we’ve seen from Bernier. I bring this up only to acknowledge my own short-sightedness and I dunno, I guess to point out how innocent we all were back then

Hate is not a Partisan Issue

Man, the metaphorical ink has not even pseudo-dried on my most recent post concerning race relations in America and already the GOP is doing its upmost to plunge America in to round 2 of the Civil War. This time thanks to the mad ravings of the current president and his chronic inability to check his worst impulses before jumping on Twitter.

President Trump has always had a weirdly cozy relationship with white nationalism and a propensity to spew racist jargon without bothering to check his facts. From suggesting Mexicans are “rapists”, to allegedly referring to African countries as “shithole” countries, you can only slip up so many times before the public is forced to conclude that you’re not having a senior’s moment, you’re just an asshole. However, it was his most recent Twitter-tirade where he suggested that four minority Congress womyn should go back to the countries that they came from that finally spurred Democrats in to action.

To be frank I don’t know that I have much else to say regarding the President’s tweets. On the one hand I recognize that impulse is dangerous; that it is imperative that we never shrug off racially-motivated attacks, especially when they’re spoken by a man occupying the highest level of public office. However the sad truth is I have nothing more to add to this discussion that hasn’t already been said. I can repeatedly call the President’s behavior “racist” until I’m blue in the face, but if you’re reading this article you probably already agree with me or you never will. No, I’d much rather discuss how the majority of the GOP defended his behaviour and the implications of this on modern politics. The reason being that while I believe the current president is a hateful, bigoted, narcissistic man-child with delusions of grandeur undermined by mounting paranoia, I don’t think that description fits the majority of GOP senators. This begs the question how they can defend the President’s behavior and how this will influence the political discourse in America for years to come.

First up is Senate Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who argued that neither the President nor House Speak Nancy Pelosi were racist, rather have competing ideologies:

” I believe this is about ideology.” He said. “I think (the Republican) party has been very clear, we are the party of Lincoln…yeah, it’s all politics.”

You know, what Kevin? Massage the language a bit and tweek your delivery and I think you’ve almost got it. Yeah, this about ideology. The president is demonstrating a racist ideology and politicians (who, as their title suggests, are “all politics”) are debating how to respond. It didn’t necessarily have to be this way. Ten years ago I might have assumed that a group of grown-ass men would have the courage to condemn racism regardless of which party it came from but here we are, on the other side of Charlottesville, where apparently you can’t even condemn Nazism without first suggesting that wrongs were committed on both sides. If this is a political issue worthy of public debate it’s only because the GOP made it so by defending or belittling the significance of the President’s actions.

And how are the actions of a previous presidents relevant to what you decide to do today? You don’t hear the Democrats screaming that the Trump campaign must have conspired to undermine the 2016 election because they hail from the party of Nixon. The campaign did that on its own. Moreover while it’s true that Lincoln did issue the Emancipation Proclamation, he did not believe that African Americans should have equal rights and considered forcibly relocating freed slaves back to American colonies. Might be time to find a new champion in your racism defense, for Lincoln has not aged well.

I think my favorite defense so far came from house Minority whip Steve Scalise, who used his air time to remind us all who the real victim in all this was:

(This is just) “one more attempt to personally attack President Trump instead of focusing on things that can actually get this economy going.”

That’s right, four minority womyn were the subject of a racist tirade but please, tell me more about how the trust fund baby and tax evader was the real wronged party. After all, who doesn’t love a good over-dog story? Let Goliath show that little turd David who’s boss, am I right fellas?

Sigh, for a party that’s constantly labelling the opposition a pack of “liberal snowflakes”, they sure don’t handle criticism well themselves.

Finally there is Senate Majority leader and Muppet- doppelganger Mitch McConnell, who opened by saying that the President is not a racist before adding the following:

“the tone of all of this is not good for the country. Everyone outta calm down their rhetoric, and we ought to move back to the issues.”

I saved this one for last because I think it’s the sickest of all. What issue could possibly be more important than the lives and well-being of American citizens? “The squad” who were the subject of these attacks have proven themselves time and time again to be strong, resilient womyn but that cannot diminish the sad truth that language like this exposes them to some risk. I already discussed this in a previous posting but minority womyn are especially vulnerable to harassment, discrimination and even violence because of their gender and race, and when high ranking officials condone this behavior, it emboldens those who might wish them harm. The president’s tweets, whether McConnell wants to admit it or not, legitimizes acts of hatred against not just these Congress womyn but minority womyn in general.

I opened this posting by suggesting that the GOP is doing it upmost to ignite a race war but now that I’m nearing the end I’ve come to think that maybe that’s not fair. Their not trying to start a race war. They’re not trying to do anything at all. They’re simply burying their heads in the sand and waiting for the storm to pass, hopefully just in time to retire with a full pension so the next round of politicians can clean up the mess they left behind. And why? Probably for the one reason that they all bent the knee in the first place when Trump secured the leadership. You won’t find it in any of the statements I listed above but its something to the effect of “we realize our captain is bigoted demi-god with the self-restraint of a toddler at an ice cream bar, but he speaks to the worst elements of our base and we are a pack of leeches that would sooner sell our own mothers than give up power.”

This more than anything speaks to the tragedy of modern political systems such as those in the United States. Politicians may serve on multiple committees with conflicting objectives and beliefs but they should always be for the good of those they were elected to serve. Not the electorate that was born here, not the electorate whos skin pigmentation falls within a certain colour gradient, but the entire electorate, and preventing threats to their health and safety should be their number one priority. In this case not only has the GOP failed to respond to a racially motivated threat, but set a chilling precedent by effectively telling the President of the United States that his racist language is above reproach.

So under the wild and obscure possibility that my small corner of the internet has attracted a GOP-enthusiast who somehow kept reading after I called the president a narcissistic man-child, hear this: step up or get to work on some better excuses, because when the hour of reckoning inevitably comes, petty deflections such as those I listed above are definitely not going to cut it.

Joe Biden and the Sticky Issue of Segregation

So in hindsight I might have jumped the gun in posting my June entry when I gave Joe Biden a tepid thumbs-up rating on the like-ability meter. Of course hindsight is 20/20, and new information often comes to light that prompts us to question the motives or decisions of those we previously admired, or at least “liked”. In this case, I posted before Biden’s first debate and watched his like-ability start to waver when questioned by senator Kamala Harris about his messy history with racial segregation and bussing.[1] For those who missed the exchange, here is a summary below:

HARRIS: I’m going to now direct this to Vice President Biden. I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground. But, I also believe—and it’s personal. And I—I was actually very—it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on segregation of race in this country. And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose bussing…So, I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among democrats. We have to take it seriously.”

BIDEN: “I did not oppose bussing in America. What I opposed is bussing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed.”

Biden has since apologized for diminishing the impact of segregation in this reply but I still think it merits further discussion. First off, it’s worth considering that a career politician with a history as long as Biden’s is bound to have accumulated a few skeletons in his closet. Times change, and we change with them. The first problem with Biden’s initial response is that he seemed reluctant to learn from his mistakes. And yes, I do strongly believe that this was a mistake.

Intentionally or not, Biden’s response contained echoes of the popular narrative that conservative American activists have touted for centuries to defend the disenfranchisement and abuse of African Americans. The Civil War, these people argue, was not about slavery per se, but “states’ rights”. The problem with this civil war defence was been well-documented by people much smarter than me, so I’ll leave it to them to completely debunk any lingering beliefs you hold that the Southern cause was somehow a noble challenge against state tyranny. But I would like to reiterate one critical point: The real problem with the ‘state’s rights’ defense of the Civil War is that it is incomplete. After all, southern states had no problem deferring to the Federal government during the Nullification crisis and slave-holding states reaped huge benefits from the federal government’s decision to override states’ rights by implementing the Fugitive Slave Acts. The Civil War began because slave-holding states believed that they had an inherent right to own, trade, abuse, and disenfranchise slaves, on account of race. And if any state tries to enact laws or policies that defy the principles that America was founded upon then yes, I do believe that the federal government has a moral duty to intervene.

I am not trying to create a moral equivalency between slavery and segregation; that will only belittle the horrors and significance of slavery. However, both institutions are underpinned by a common assumption that African-Americans should receive inferior treatment on account of their race. And while African American activists are doing everything they can to remind us that black lives matter, we cannot risk electing a president who listens to their cries with deaf ears.

Last year, America and the world at large held its breath during the Alabama senatorial election where accused child-molester Roy Moore squared off against Democrat Doug Jones in a traditionally red state. Jones won the election, largely thanks to support from African American voters. 98 percent of black women voted for Jones, as did 93 percent of black men and are largely credited with having secured his victory. Multiple supporters and pundits were interviewed in the aftermath of the election but I think it was NBA-superstar and Doug Jones supporter Charles Barkley said it best in his closing appeal to the Democratic party.

BARKLEY: “Well, this is a wake-up call for Democrats… They’ve always had our votes and they have abused our votes and this is a wake-up call…for Democrat to do better for black people and poor white people.”

Yes, that was a supporting actor from the movie Space Jam demonstrating a greater understanding of African-American political engagement than a man who served as Vice President to the first black president in American history. Is it too late to phone in Barkley for President? Scratch that, the leadership race is full enough as-is. How about Secretary of State? After all, Dennis Rodhman informally served as America’s self-appointed ambassador to North Korea so yeah, basketball player-turned-politician wouldn’t be unprecedented.

Let me be clear and say that I agree with Harris in that I don’t think Biden is a racist. However it’s not good enough to oppose racism on a personal level if you are complicit in programs and policies that keep racial segregation alive. After all, if I can squeeze in one more Civil War parallel, Lincoln has been historically lauded for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation and evidence suggests that he personally opposed slavery. However, in a debate with Stephen Douglas in 1858, he famously stated:

“I have no purposes directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

Abraham Lincoln – 1958

So yes, mea culpa. Biden’s history of turning a blind eye to segregation was well-documented and I should have been more vigilant in my research. The difference here is that I’ve demonstrated a willingness to learn from my mistakes and take responsibility when I was wrong. And it only took me one month! Joe Biden’s been sitting on more than a few lapses of judgement for decades but it’s 2019, and the ‘it-was-a-different-time’ defense is no longer acceptable. Time to step up, Joe, or fail to do so at our peril.


[1] Bussing refers to the practice of transporting students to schools in different neighbourhoods in an effort to address racial segregation, as segregated schools received much less funding and undermined the academic performance of minority students.