Monday, March 28, 2011

IMHO-58
March 28, 2011

Let’s review some of the top news stories that we’ve had from 2011 so far shall we? We were barely over a week into the New Year when that horrific shooting incident in Tucson Arizona happened. Then there was the toppling of the autocracies in Tunisia and Egypt; following that, we have had the devastation of the earthquake in New Zealand and now the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan. Currently, we’re living through the ongoing Libyan crisis which has turned into an all out war with NATO getting involved and three-star Canadian general, Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard running NATO's Libya operations.
While here in Canada we have had the minority government Tories under fire for the Bev Oda affair and the Conservative Party of Canada’s in-and-out election financing scheme. On March 25th Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government was defeated in a non-confidence vote, setting the stage for a federal election in early May. Not that it was a big shock, or anything, what with all of the recent attack ads and political posturing being done by the federal parties, it had all but assured Canadians that we were going to be going back to the polls for another federal election and sooner rather than later.
In Saskatchewan, we’ve got a provincial election to look forward to in the fall, too. Then there’s the Wikileaks ethical debate and, oh yeah, I almost forgot, there’s also the story that the media is so infatuated with that they’re calling it “Royal Wedding Fever”, or something, but I think it’s mostly the media that have contracted that virus; that one, and a severe case of CharlieSheenitis. But I digress.
So, now, out of all of this news, and so much more happening in the world, what do you think was the number one story that people were looking up on Macleans.ca so far this year? You’ll never believe it. Well, unfortunately, you probably will. It’s THE LEAKY LIDS ON TIM HORTON’S COFFEE CUPS!! Seriously people? Are you kidding me?! All of this stuff going on in the world and some story about leaky coffee cup lids is your 2011 number one hot-button issue? Say it ain’t so!
Maclean’s did an article in the March 7th edition of the magazine on Tim Horton’s coffee cups and their inferior leaky lids and it was disturbing enough then that they did a full two-page spread on a coffee cup story in our national news magazine but only a couple of issues later Maclean’s revealed that “our original story is the most read article on Macleans.ca this year.” I know Timmy’s is a Canadian icon and all but c’mon.
Now I could understand if everyone’s getting upset about all of those damn throw away cups and lids littering up the streets, the highways and the countryside, especially during the 25th edition of Tim Horton’s “Roll up the Rim”; or maybe you’re getting concerned about the millions of litres of gas that’s being burned up in the drive-through line-ups regardless of the $1.20+/litre gas prices but “this stupid lid is dribbling on my shirt” is actually your number one concern? Really?
I think we need a little restructuring of our priorities here people. It seems like we could use a little more focus on some very serious issues confronting our world at this time, don’t you think?
A Chinese man, Liu Xianbin, was just sentenced to 10 years in prison for urging democratic reform of China’s one-party state. Think about that…ten years! Hundreds upon hundreds of people have recently become martyrs for democratic reform in the Middle East. Giving up their lives for something that so many Canadians take for granted--Democracy.
Here in Saskatchewan we are headed for not one, but two, major elections in the coming year. With national voter turnout hovering around an embarrassing 50% of eligible voters I implore you to go out and vote. It is a privilege to be able to vote not a right. Sacrifices have been made for that privilege.
And don’t give me any of that “it’s only one vote” or “why bother, it doesn’t matter anyway” and “those politicians are all the same” garbage either. It is only one vote but it does matter and, no, they’re not all the same.
In the grand scheme of things it’s not whether your chosen politician or political party wins, it’s the fact that you actually get a say in the whole process at all that counts. If you can take the time out of your busy life to wait in the drive-through line or stand in the way-too long lineup to buy a coffee with a leaky lid and read online about how it’s adversely affected your life then you can surely take the time to get to the polls and embrace your role in our democratic process and country.
“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.”- Robert Hutchins (1899-1977).

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