Thursday, March 9, 2017

Silly Members of Parliament and then Free Fall

Hello reader,
Got clarity?

Here’s my short vent:
Our members of parliament, MPs, gave themselves obscene salaries because, they claimed, they didn’t want MPs to be enticed into business world as CEOs. If that’s true, then how do they explain the latest bill before parliament? Even a junior manager, with "only" a degree and not a masters of business administration, knows that objectives and standards must be measurable so that objective people can agree when the standard is met.  Even people with a bare law degree, without ever articling as working lawyers, know that every law must be clear.

Are there no decent businesspeople or adequate lawyers in in the House of Commons?

I cannot justify the latest bill before parliament, containing the word “Islamaphobia” Now subjective people in the street are shouting at each other, and bitterly accusing each other, so utterly bizarrely, as if they were reading two separate bills, simply because the bill, as it stands, might just as well be about apples as about oranges. I should explain to my U.S. readers that in Canada “truth is no longer a defense,” hasn’t been for some years now. so that if an unclear bill is passed, and you say that ISIL chops off heads, then even if that’s true, some one could force you to spend money on lawyers to prove—or fail to prove—(seriously) it’s not Islamaphobia to say so.

For Canadian legislators, wouldn’t it be simpler and more cost effective to define phobia? Or have a bill against phobia in general? Or see if any laws already cover phobia? During World War II General Patton would often patiently deflect earnest calls for a new military law by taking the eager officer over to the military law book and gently checking if there was already something on the books.

Who am I kidding? If our MPs were adequate enough to do such research, then they would already be smart enough to know about the joy of clarity. Come to think of it, they did pass a “clarity bill” to say future referendums about the province of Quebec separating must be clear…

OK, that’s all my venting for today.

Meanwhile, since I recently (February) posted some Free Fall poetry, I won’t define Free Fall again, but I will post some Free Fall prose. If you want to, you could look to see if it symbolizes some up-to-the-minute U.S. citizen engagement. Symbols are everywhere, if you want to see them.

Prompt: Perspective
So there’s the Mediterranean. From satellite imagery you can define the vegetation for many miles around the coast: Mediterranean scrub. It doesn’t exist around any other sea on the planet. Why? The "hunting and gathering" age was fine. But as the Bronze Age moved into the Iron Age and beyond… Today you couldn’t build a trireme or bireme, those majestic oared ships that plowed the waves of the middle sea; you couldn’t find towering cedars of Lebanon outside of a park—for we have been here, and we’ve left our mark.

No, I won’t say “they” slashed and burned it all, desperate to warm their huts and cook their meals. No, because from where I stand, self-righteousness, however good it feels, is an unworthy emotion. As is outrage, and scorn, and hatred. Have you ever seen a tenderfoot try to chop down a tree? In place of steady chops, and regular v-shaped chips coming regularly to the ground, the tenderfoot anxiously strikes in a frantic hurry, with no result but lots of little meaningless chips. There is no meaning to the base emotions, even if directed at a leader. Better to have the steady long term emotions that empower steady long term actions… but then it doesn’t feel as childish and good.

The Greeks in their cities of Greece and Lebanon were just as human as we, just as petty, but also they set us an example in nobility. I don’t see scrub, I see the burnt launching pad of a rocket to bring us all up to the heights of democracy, citizenship and thoughtful involvement in running the country and reaching out to the world. It’s all a question of perspective. Despair or hope? Frantic opposition for the sake of—of whatever—or a steady belief in democratic involvement?

Thanks to the Greeks, science has illuminated the darkness, driving back superstition. Today satellites zoom overhead. Some of the strange machines belong to the autocracies, but others belong to the democracies. The communists believe the common people can’t lead themselves, but the Greeks knew better.

Prompt- Out on a limb
My sister used to sit out on a limb in the backyard. Have you seen those old pictures? Of bungalows sandwiched between high rises? We were a different ecology back then. My older brother was into parkour, which meant using concrete railings and sloping roofs as limbs, to leap out and on with a momentum channeled for a running step into the next leap. He didn’t know physics but he knew how to leap. Better to be doing parkour than the physics of balls on green velvet.

And me, I was in between. My exercise was the soccer team. Sometimes at home I would dribble a ball in the grass as my sister looked down, sometimes with a book on her knee, but not always. I was the sort to run and kick, brother would run and leap, and neither one of us ever thought to wonder about our sister. ‘Girls are passive’ we might have said, or ‘Sister is dreamy.’ We never gave it any more thought than that. Such is childhood. And all during this time, my sister, from behind her big glasses, was watching us.

She knew people. When she had her anxious study groups and project groups over, for school and campus, she was the glue. They argued and worried, but she was there, watching and intervening. In later adulthood, when her apartment was too small, she would have groups over to build a better park or oppose a stupid road. When people’s voices rose in hatred of ‘the man,’ or in despair at our poor power, she would be there with a gentle touch and calm word.

I wonder where she got her calmness. Not from our mother, oh no. From being out on a tree limb, long ago.

Prompt- (I am reading Paul Hannam’s take on the movie Groundhog Day)
If I like the world, then what’s it to you?
You make a virtue out of your ambition, and you, you, you
And you have no room for others
If I give a care, what’s it to you?
It’s my caring that builds a market, builds a life, builds up knowledge of others
You, you, you will gain a world but never find your soul
In the end, a room of jewels and gold dust is nothing but dust.
If I know the gleam of person’s eye, shining like a jewel, then I have a life.
And I won’t go back to rich and empty tunnel vision

Sean Crawford

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