Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Time to Take Stock - On Turning 500,000

Stay or go?  I feel like a Bill Moyers zygote.  I have never achieved his serene altruism, not even close.  I don't aspire to his higher moral purpose.  Yet I've always felt a deep affinity for the man since I encountered his work four decades ago.  He seemed to find a gentle yet powerful and intensely principled clarity in his take on the world.

By contrast, I have always resorted to the baser instincts I evolved as a reporter and litigation lawyer.   Far less understanding and gentile, far more pugnacious and uncivil.

When we start these blogs we're fascinated as the "hits" begin to dribble in.  A few a day at the outset, eventually a few dozen.  Over time we begin to develop an odd sort of relationship with our readers, even those who cloak themselves in anonymity.

The following is still modest, averaging between 400 and 900 per day, yet I'm always at a loss to understand why I get even that many.  The fact is I write these posts mainly for myself and the blog is a vehicle to vent my passion in all its forms.

When I began this blog (at the urging of another, I never would have done it otherwise)  I considered myself a devout Liberal.  I had been drawn to the LPC when I got to vote in my first election which happened to be PET's first campaign as Liberal leader.  What a time that was.  How we've declined ever since.

I was always a rounder.  I scored super high on the SATO and OSAT tests but was too busy with my motorcycles to go to high school much more than 3-months a term.  I think I majored in absenteeism.  It was going, quite deservedly, downhill and that was salvaged only by the Golden Hawks and the burning desire to fly they instilled in me when I was a child and first watched an airshow team.

So, never believing I stood a chance, I underwent RCAF aircrew selection screening and testing and - voila - I tested positive for both pilot and navigator.  I naturally chose pilot with preference for fast jets.  What 17-year old kid wants anything else?

With parental consent (what other choice had they?) I was sworn in at 17.  My dreams and hopes came to an end in advanced flight school when I was beset with migraines, a condition that plagues me to this day.  I remain convinced, however, that I was the real deal, the guy who could have bested Bishop and Collishaw.

But life stops for no man until the moment it actually does just that.  I buggered off to Europe, living in London for a couple of years and Spain for about 4-months.  I rode my gallant but thoroughly untrustworthy steed, a modified BSA, A65L Lightning through Europe - north, south and central - and into North Africa all before returning to Ontario for my 21st birthday.   Fast jets and fast motorcycles - the perfect combination for a young, testosterone-driven kid.  God but I had some good times and some close scrapes; some two-wheeled, some romantic.

Then I came back and went to study journalism at Michigan.  The Vietnam War was heading straight into the shitter.  I had read about Kent State in the international edition of Time while languishing in a 19th century bathtub in Madrid.  Detroit burned in '67.   America was spiritually afire in '70.

I went to study in the States believing all white, middle class Americans were racist.   I soon discovered that racism was a plague that transcended race and ethnicity, something powerfully borne out today.  In the States I had white friends and I had black friends.  I didn't have white and black friends and the pain that realization caused was searing.  The curious thing is that the natural instinct in that dilemma is to turn against your own.  Unless you're someone named Newt or Mitt or Rick.

I went from journalism in Ottawa to law school in Ottawa to lawyering in Vancouver to retirement on the island and to blogging.  I became more progressive and more environmentally attuned.  I also watched the party I had cleaved to for decades degrade.  And now I watch the party I had always thought alone firmly anchored in principle, the NDP, cast adrift.

Unlike any of the major parties with a realistic chance of forming a government in the near future, I see climate change as the greatest challenge confronting our nation, the true sine qua non.  The science and research were conclusive six years ago when I began this blog.  The science and research have flowed in relentlessly ever since then only reinforcing what was previously maintained.

When I began blogging I didn't end the day dispirited.  I do now.  The change over the past six years has been profound and demonstrable yet I see little acknowledgement of that among Liberals and New Democrats and none at all from the Conservatives.

Maybe it's time to hang up these spurs and find more productive venues.  I'll think on that for a while.

BTW - the "Mound of Sound" appellation was given to me by the students at the last, and largest, law firm that had me.  I'm assured it was only referenced to my dulcet yet strong baritone voice.  Of course those same shits also called me "LEO" an acronym for "Large Evil One".  Such is life.  None of them survived.


Owen Gray said...

We seem to be of the same generation, Mound. Like you, my first campaign was Trudeau's. I will always remember going to a local shopping centre in Montreal
and watching kids react as if they had seen the Beetles.

Like you, after graduation I went south -- to the University of North Carolina -- where I noticed immediately that the neighbourhood changed when you entered the Negro side of town.

And, like you, I'm not particularly hopeful about the future. But I keep recalling my late father's dictum: "Don't let the bastards get you down!"

Beijing York said...

It's hard not to get distressed with the current body politic. We've arrived to a point that I never would have imagined for us some 10-15 years ago.

I hope you don't go dark. I learn so much from your well researched and thoughtful contributions.

LeDaro said...

I agree with Beijing York that don’t go dark yet. One of the blogs I read first every day is yours because I learn a lot from it. I am sure there are many more folks who do the same.

Moreover, keeping in touch in this manner keeps one’s mind sharp and functional. I personally feel that whatever I have learned from life I must share although at times my mind and body tells me to give up.

Look what Harper is doing to Canada. A story in the Huffpost is revealing. You know how to analyse it and give us your perspective on it.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks for your thoughts. I didn't intend to suggest I was about to jump off a cliff, merely to take stock and explore alternatives.

That said, the transformation of the NDP has shaken me more than I could have imagined. While I never supported the New Dems I always respected them over all others for their convictions which are now revealed more cheaply held than I thought. Harper must bask in glory as he watches the LPC and NDP help shift Canada's political center far to the right.

And, LD, that HuffPost article. I can't recall how many times over how many years I've written on Harper's outrageous gagging of the civil and armed services. It's positively Stalinist and is toxic to any democracy.

HuffPost, however, misses the critical point. When you gag the bureaucracy and simultaneously filter all communications with it from the public through your political appointees you have in all respects transformed the civil and armed services into partisan political agencies of the Ruler.

These commissars decide what enquiries from the public are permissible and then 'craft' (their actual term) the responses to conform to the Ruler's political policies.

They create a disconnect between the public service and the country it is supposed to serve and hijack it to their own purposes.

Our corporate media has the occasional brain fart over this but that quickly passes. The real failure, however, is with our flaccid opposition parties. They should be calling Harper out on this each and every day, raising holy hell, telling the country this despot has taken THEIR civil service hostage.

What do we hear from the LPC and the NDP? Close to bugger all and that of itself should set off alarms. If we need an object lesson we only have to look at Obama. He came in to right the wrongs of Bush/Cheney. He was supposed to dismantle the excessive powers they had appropriated to the Executive Branch. Yet he's retained almost all of them and expanded a good many to boot. Undemocratic? Of course but who's counting?

I don't trust either opposition party and I can't see why anyone should. We're becoming a true petro-state something often antithetical to liberal democracy.

For most of my life I saw great things ahead for Canada but I don't any longer. Slowly over the past twenty years we collectively lost sight of what we had, what actually made us such a great country. We took too much and kept too little.

Steve said...

If you look at the long term history is trending better. Sure we have dark periods, but so far in modern history we have move on up continually. I agree Global Warming may be the mistake we can not correct.

Here is what I wrote today to Jerry Agar a Toronto radio host and denier.

No Jerry another hole in your creditably. Krakatoa erupted in 1883. This single volcano changed the earths climate for 5 years. Man's destructive use of carbon fuels has put way more gas into the environment than a million Krakatoa. To continue to deny that this would not have a effect on the earths climate is to continue to believe the earth was flat, or in Virgin birth. Remember the Iceland volcano that shut down aviation in Europe. Your gut would say it must have been putting out way more CO2 than the planes it grounded. Yet the fact is planes put out more than 50% CO2 per day than the volcano. The volcano lasted a few days, the planes fly every day. How can any sane person deny man is not affecting climate? http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/planes-or-volcano/

Saskboy said...

Yours is one of my very favourite blogs that I turn to for reasonable, and intelligent analysis of news that I very often also happen to care about.

Thanks for sharing details of your life and this blog. And I naturally hope you continue to blog whenever you won't feel dispirited afterward.

Anonymous said...

One of your readers cloaked in anonymity. Mainly because it's easier to continue with this cloak, then to actually register.

I've been a regular reader of your blog since I first stumbled upon it, though I don't recall how that happened. To be truthful it's only been about a year or so. I come back for your researched posts and your insight, because you care about what's important.

I'm younger, late twenties, I haven't been following politics long, since I have been my opinion seems to be only worsening. I originally voted Liberal because that's what my parents suggested. The I started paying attention, saw that they were straying to far to the right, and that I liked the further left stance of the NDP that was available. Sadly I've realized my parents have also strayed to the right.

I agree that the environment is our biggest issue we are facing (even though our politicians pretend it doesn't exist). That was why I voted NDP, I felt them most likely to be elected with some kind of stance for the environment.

I suppose that all that is left now is the Green Party, which, if it were actually electable I think has a decent platform. I've also come to realize living in a Conservative stronghold in the middle of the bible belt, my voting, is utterly pointless. I can not think of a rational reason that I continue with it, but I do.

Anyways, like others, I hope you do continue blogging. Thanks for the great reads and insight, and whatever you decide, have a good life. :)

The Mound of Sound said...

BTW, can nobody acknowledge the Spitfiresque beauty of this motorcycle? I fully meant to get a Triumph or Norton but when I walked into this on a spotlighted turntable at Harvey Owen in the Elephant & Castle I turned into jelly.

Anyong said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sorry Mound, I really did intend to comment on it, that is a beautiful bike, I just got sidetracked by the mention that you may be moving on from blogging. That is how I think a motorcycle should look.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thank you for that, Anon. Yes that was a limited edition BSA Lightning all of which were sold in the UK. It was sheer luck that I happened to be there with cash when they hit the market. I really don't think I have ever seen a better looking motorcycle. The stock version actually looked a little frumpy.