Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Last Thirty Years

When I first moved here, the plan was we would be here for three years, then we would go 'home'. Home at the time was Southern California.

If you've seen Braveheart, you'll understand what mean when I say 'The trouble with California is that it is full of Californians'.

Moving to Nova Scotia was a bit like stepping back in time. Halifax then, was nothing like what Halifax is now. For example, the recent outbreaks of gun play on the streets that are news here, would not, in many cases, have even made the papers there, then. That was just 'normal' isn't 'normal' here or now, which really is a good thing.

When I moved here, I'd lived in many places, including Europe, for an extended period of time. And I'd visited several other places, for shorter durations. At first, all I could think about was getting 'home'.

Somewhere, somehow, somewhen, that changed. This place became home.

I've now lived longer, here, than I have ever, anywhere, by a very large margin. The fact that I've been here for 30 years boggles my mind. This outcome wasn't in the original plan, but if I didn't like it, I would've left a long time ago.....this is a pretty neat corner of the world.

Early on, in our stay here, I drove out to Peggy's Cove to catch a metor shower. At night. I'd never been there before, and the road at night was a challenge. Thirty years later I've made that exact same trip many times, in many different conditions, and yet the destination is never the same. Oh, to be sure, it is the same place. But it feels different each time.

I've been back to the US several times over the years. Invariably I get greeted with 'Welcome Home' by US Customs and Immigration. Gradually, over the years, that has become more each time I feel more and more like I am leaving behind my home country, and entering into a foreign land.

In one sense, it is a land into which I was born and raised. In another sense, that land, the one I grew up in, is long gone. It has changed, and I have changed, and we've both changed in different directions.

As an 'immigrant' I don't trust Ignattif. Canada has changed while he has been away, and coming back here, and staying for a while is not enough to get the full measure of who we have become and, more importantly, who we can be moving forward. He can insist he gets it, and us, all he wants, I don't believe him.

I like the NDP as the official opposition. I feel, in that role, they add some much needed heart to government, while their wackier ideas remain restrained.

If I could pick, I'd vote for the Liberals under Paul Martin....but I don't get that choice, because he's out. I do not want to see Harper's conservatives with a majority, though I'm quite content with them as a minority government that is forced to work with the NDP and (to a lesser extent) the Liberals. I.e. I really don't see a good reason why we have to have an election right now.....

No, the Tories aren't perfect, never said they were. But so far, the scandals they've been involved in pale in comparision to the Liberal sponsorship scandal. Many might find my support of Paul Martin ironic in light of that comment, but I'd suggest he was likely more an observer, than a participant, in that fiasco.

So, now, there is an election coming. If, like me, you aren't particularly dissatisfied with the status quo, here are your choices, as I see them:

1) Vote the same way you did last time
If everyone does this, the result will be the same. The risk is, maybe not everyone will do this.

2) Vote for the current incumbent in your ridding
Again, if everyone does this, or most seem to, things won't change a lot. The risk, of course, is that you have one vote, and 'everyone else' may vote differently.

3) Vote for someone else.
I, personally, am toying with this idea.....I want, above all, to send a message to all four parties....the message reads 'get along, work it out'. So, do I vote for the Green party? Can I, outside Quebec, vote for the Bloc?

And that, at the end of the day, is my current electoral dilema. How do I use my one, single vote, to send a message to Ottawa, in the clearest possible terms, that says 'Stop playing games, work together, and put the interests of the country ahead of your own'......?


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