A Cynic Reforms

We’re barely into another election and what a barrage of bollocks is already being fired at us.  It’s enough to make one cynical but I am determined not to succumb. Not this time.

But wow, it’s a tough haul. 

It was less than half an hour after the vote in the House that the Harperites were telling us how great they are because Canada’s economy doesn’t appear to be totally messed up.  The Liberals are already assuring us that they’re more compassionate than the Harperites and that a vote for the NDP is a vote for Harper..  The PQ are reciting the old mantra that they’re in favour of anything that’s good for Quebec.  The NDP are vowing  to work with anyone who will work with them as long as it makes Parliament work for the people — in my not-so-humble opinion one of the saner mantras although it does open the way for collaboration with the Devil.  And on and on.

But no.  I refuse to be cynical. In spite of my age I will not, must not, should not be cynical.

It’s a powerful urge, though, and I’ve had to fight it before.  Often.  Well, fairly often. So okay, every time there’s an election.

And each time there’s an election I promise myself I’m going to be optimistic.  Besides, I swore off cynicism years ago, shortly after the 1988 election.  It’s on record.

                                      A Cynic Reforms
[….] A cynic is someone who disbelieves the goodness of human motives. I don’t disbelieve any such thing. I do believe in human ineptness, maybe. Like the way the NDP ran their campaign, and —  Woops. Sorry.

 No, no.  I refuse to march into 1989 tagged as a cynic.  Henry Ward Beecher knew a cynic when he saw one.  “The human owl,” he said, ” vigilant in darkness, and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game.”   That’s a cynic.

Ambrose Bierce was more charitable. He described the cynic as, “A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, and not as they ought to be.”

In ’89 I intend to take my cue from old Ambrose and will try to process things as they ought to be.

How’s this for openers?  That’s not a blizzard suddenly brewing outside my window.  It’s merely some horizontal frosted precipitation ornamenting with drifts an otherwise barren driveway. 

As for politics, I intend to be totally positive.  After all, every pocket should have a silver lining.  I can’t bring myself to accept Brian Mulroney as a nation builder but I’ll admit he’s one humdinger of a renovator.  How’s that? 

I believe that Arafat has truly renounced violence because he only carries a six-gun on his belt.  He could be carrying grenades. [A reference to Arafat addressing the UN while armed.] 

I believe that Israel’s Shamir intends to keep building new settlements on the West Bank so it will be easier to assimilate Palestinians and Jews when the millennium comes. 

I believe that Ronald Reagan’s sermons were for Gorbachev a light on the road to Damascus and that the Chairman has renounced Karl Marx in favour of either Adam Smith, Keynes, or John Crosbie [Think of John Baird with more colourful language and a sharper sense of humour].  Russian-American Free Trade is just around the corner and both will promise to share resources, particularly energy, in times of adversity. 

Abandoning all cynicism, I fully expect to see a Multory* budget in ’89 that blocks all tax loopholes for large corporations, that makes the oil industry pay its own way, that rationalizes welfare with an across the board guaranteed annual income, and that does not sock it to us with a tax to be applied at every conceivable stage of production. [*Note: During the Mulroney years I could not bring myself to use the proud old name “Conservative” for his crew so settled for Multories.] 

I further expect that Parliament, moved by the inner glow of human togetherness, will solve the abortion dilemma in a manner that will gladden the heart of all factions.  And all provinces will opt for official bilingualism under a revised Meech Lake Accord in which everyone is given special status, thereby finally achieving universal equality.

See?  In ’89 I intend to be one big warm beacon of optimism.  Are you ready for it? 

And now, in 2011, I’m still struggling.  But hey, it’s going to be a great election.  All Parties are going to be charitable, up front, and honest.  It will be a veritable hug fest of happiness.

A cynic reforms.
From Down Paradox Lane
Lindsay This Week, January 3/89
Copyright (c) Munroe Scott



About Munroe Scott

Munroe Scott is a veteran of the freelance writing world.
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2 Responses to A Cynic Reforms

  1. Vaughan Lyon says:

    I am disappointed that Ignatief seems to fall into Harper’s traps so easily. On the coalition issue Jack is clearly taking the correct position. He might stress that coalitions are the most common form of government in the liberal democracies. A large part of the public supports minority government and would support coalition government if they had more experience with it. The election is Harper’s to lose and he has some skills in doing just that. Ignatief is expressing himself more forefully than he did for the first year of his leadership.
    Neither a cynic nor an optimist be, realist is the proper course.

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Vaughan, I must say I agree with you on every count and emphatically on the coalition. There Harperites are lying or simply ignorant and I’m not sure which interpretation is the most charitable. I wish more Political Science profs, retired or not, would join you in speaking out.

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