The Authoritarian State of Canada

Protest Weather!?!

I have no idea how Canadians can feel like they’re losing their freedom. If wearing a mask is all it takes to make us feel like we’re living in some kind of authoritarian regime, we’ve got it pretty good. While I was hesitant to sign up for a vaccine in the beginning, I stopped worrying about it as the ranks of the vaccinated grew, mostly without any adverse consequences. Being as fat as I am, from that point forward, I was vying to be first in line for the next jab. I can still see some folk worrying about having to get a vaccine though. I’m of a mind that if some people don’t want it, they shouldn’t get it. If the majority, moral or otherwise, want restrictions imposed because of that, I’m really not sure how we handle that to satisfy everyone. We probably can’t.

Most of us wouldn’t want to send our kids to school without all the regular childhood vaccinations. Nor without all the other kids being vaccinated too. There are a lot of things in life like that. I don’t have the freedom to smoke in restaurants any more. But I doubt I’ll be starting a freedom movement because of that.

Now my purpose isn’t to waffle on about the rights & wrongs of people having the right to protest. Nor is it about the rights & wrongs of either sides’ opinions, I’m sure there are some great arguments to be made on both sides. Most of us have already picked our side & we’ll probably stick with our choice. I’m curious though as to why anyone would want to go out in -18Β°C temperatures to protest something that’s going away soon anyway. We’re all fed up with this covid bullshit & I’m way overdue for a trip back to Ireland. I certainly don’t want to pay an extra three hundred bucks for tests to get out & back again. I’m equally pissed that I didn’t get a winter break to the sun the past few years. With another $300 in test costs added to that holiday.
(Nice first world problems to have, eh!)

But the reality is that some version of normal is coming back soon anyway. Most people know that they’ll survive covid just fine & we all desperately want to get back to normal. Now that we’re over (hopefully) the hump of the fatalities, we can be reassured by the graph trending down & we’ll return to being statistically oblivious again. We’re a pretty shitty species, eh? But we probably have to be this way. We’ll lump the reduced number of covid deaths in with those from the flu, heart disease, cancer & accidents, & we’ll all get on with our lives again. It’s the way it’s always been. And if for no other reason than us telling ourselves we have no other choice, it’ll be the same this time around. So why spend time protesting stuff that’s about to change anyway?

You can’t help but wonder if we’ve all missed an opportunity to learn how to do this whole pandemic thing better. Instead of protesting & blocking streets, we should all be pulling in the same direction. If all that protest time, money & energy went into supporting our healthcare system, would we have been better off? If all the protesters volunteered their time & money to supporting the healthcare system, would that have helped remove the concerns about the stress brought on by the peaking of hospital cases? Would that, in turn, help remove the last of the lockdowns & restrictions sooner? And isn’t that what the protesters want at the end of the day? Stop whining about the problem & figure out how to be part of the solution instead.

Look, I really have no idea how realistic it is to have us all pulling in the same direction. I also have no idea how we can do pandemics better. And we probably should learn how to do it much better, for when we’re faced with a far deadlier & uglier bug than omicron. But I’m guessing that wasting our time on this kind of protest doesn’t contribute a whole lot. Besides, our politicians couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery, so I’m not too worried about them getting sophisticated enough to take away my freedom!

At the end of the day, I’m still worried about covid killing me. Despite that, I’ve had enough with some of the restrictions too. Just not enough to have me thinking that my freedom is at risk.

With or without masks, we’re still the true north, strong & free.
Be nice & polite to each other out there, Canucks! πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦πŸπŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

Swings & Roundabouts

Getting bored with the blue masks, think I’ll try these on the bus!

I’m gaining weight, but the rate of gain has slowed, so I’m taking that as a big win this month! 😜

Somewhat grumpily, I’m still a non-smoker. And I’ve been forcing myself to chip away at my home & office decluttering exercise. During this process, I’m finding stuff I didn’t even realise I bigly needed. While I’m selling & donating the stuff that others need. Okay, it’s just crap I don’t need but hey, that’s one of those win-win things, isn’t it? Hate that hackneyed expression. Am I thinking outside the box now?

ClichΓ©d expressions aside, if you’re stuck at home a lot these days, try a little decluttering. It can pay off. It also pushed me to do other things. With an even bigger payoff.

I started decluttering my social media feeds! This is big. I was following political sites. From all sides & ends of the political spectrum. I unfollowed all of them. I followed a bunch of investor types. Precious metals guys, crypto currency gurus, energy fans, even some that are into oil. I think a few got rich more because they were lucky, than smart. Or are they just messing with my head? They’re the rich ones, after all. Maybe I’m Dunning-Kruger-ing myself? It doesn’t matter, I unfollowed all of them anyway.

Not listening to all these people sniping at each other was uplifting. But I wanted even more. Guess where I got it from?

My friends! LOL

I’m not kidding, I’ve got friends on Facebook that were … I know you’ll find this totally unbelievable … but they were stressing me out a little. I didn’t even realize how much ’til I turned them off. Doesn’t matter if it’s about politics, religion, or vaccine positioning, you can kinda tell who isn’t fact-checking stuff & watching the news from both sides, can’t you? Or maybe not! 😜

Anyway, I try to avoid these conversations online. If we could get together & talk over a beer, that might be fun. Social media doesn’t seem to be the place for it though. But you can mute your friends for 30 days & they don’t even know it! If they’re still ranting when they are automatically restored a month later, snooze them for another 30 days! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

The calmness & serenity that follows is a relief & a joy. Maybe I’ll follow the Dalai Lama instead. Ommmm!

Or should I just join the melee? So many doing it. Is being nasty really that much fun!?! 😜😁

Civil Discourse in Life, Work & Leadership Roles

Imperfect but Beautiful!

Imagine your child, or your grandchild, going off to school for the first time. It’s natural for us to be anxious; our little one is venturing into the big, bad world, all alone, for the first time. That’s almost as traumatic a time for parents & grandparents, as it is for the child. Still, we take comfort from our parenting skills. And from the values we share with friends & neighbours in our community. It’s a nice school, with respected teachers, who are reliably acting in loco parentis. Everything will be fine.

Until you collect your weeping child at the bus stop!

The gut-wrenching, heart-stopping impact of this moment can be felt by almost every human being. Upon discovering that your child was denigrated by another. Be it for reasons of appearance, affliction, race, religion, or any other cause, the immediate, visceral reaction may be one of extreme anger towards the perpetrator.

But, often, the pain was caused another child. Despite our emotion, we reign in our more agressive instincts & proceed with a more cautious & civil approach. We need to, both, sooth our child, & to address the problem. And in such a manner that it allows both children to move forward, together, in a civil & mutually respectful way.

In just about every sales course I’ve ever attended, or any sales book I’ve ever read, we are cautioned against speaking ill of our competition. Despite that, I’m guessing that most sales people will admit to having uttered a phrase that starts out something like this …

“That’s an interesting point, Ms. Customer, but …”

I should add a little mea culpa at this point, for my own, very rare, transgressions!

How about politics? It almost seems like the norm nowadays, in many countries, is to denigrate & divide. And some of us seem content, perhaps at times gleeful, that this is the case. As a politician, if you can lock in the firm support of a sufficiently large part of the constituency, you have a blueprint for successfully winning, & holding, power. It seems like everything is in play here; truths, half-truths, & possibly mis-truths, can be all be used. So long as the win is delivered. Sometimes, this is the will of the majority. And that may be democratic. But is it right?

Taking that political logic back to sales; were we to use truths, half-truths, & possibly mis-truths in the sales environment, would we be more successful? Frankly, if I could win 40 or 50% of the orders in my customer base, by modelling my approach on this political strategy, I would probably win some additional orders in the near term. Sure, half the base wouldn’t be speaking to me. But who cares? I’m still ahead where it matters. Right!?!

It almost feels like we’ve come around to believing that civil discourse is no longer required in our political leaders. Is it still required in our working life? Or in our daily interactions within our communities?

If this is the kind of world we want to live in …

Why do we pretend to teach our children that they should grow up to be nice, kind of heart, generous of spirit, & capable of civil discourse, as adults?

And if this is not the kind of world we want for our children …

Why do we sponsor & model such behavior for them?

Results … Month #23

Results … Month #23

Sorry I’m late. But the result is from a June 1st weigh-in.

The past couple of months have been a dietary disaster. I didn’t think that state of the world was having that much of an impact on me, but I guess it was. With hindsight, how could it not. In any case, I just didn’t realize the extent to which I was stress-eating because of all that’s going on. Until I stepped on the scale the first of the month. Wow!

One thing about the news over the past day or two … and it’s a positive thing finally … is that humanity seems to be showing signs of making a comeback. Is there a glimmer of hope to be found in little outbreaks of kindness that we’re seeing these past few days?

We can but hope. No idea how this month will go, from a human perspective or with my weight loss, but I’ll try to fess up on time next month. Meanwhile, I’m going back to figuring out how to contribute something positive.

COVID Conundrums

What am I?

I used to think I was a capitalist …

‘Til the government offered subsidies to help stave off layoffs & paycuts!

When those measures were announced, I breathed such a big sigh of relief & I held my hand out. Should I be worried that I’m a (grateful!) socialist now?

Since I’m sucking at weight loss during lockdown, I’m trying to distract myself by learning a little about things I’ve ignored for years. You can’t watch the news these days without wishing you’d studied psychology, sociology, political science, economics, & maybe a little Celtic mysticism! These are soft sciences. That means that you can make a very cogent argument, that is totally meaningless, but nobody can prove you wrong. Right!?!

Very useful in these confusing times.

Over breakfast news this morning, I heard that this is “the first time prices have risen to the negative value”. They were only previously positive in the timeframe being discussed. So what the duck did this mean? Why did the guy not just say the number went down? There is some sophisticated subterfuge being employed here, & it can only be designed to keep the uninitiated outside the pale.

How is it that neoliberalism, in economics parlance, is a faith of those on the right? I thought that anything with the word “liberal” in it was at least three shades pinker than the white centre of the political divide. Are all the meanings reversed when you go from politics to economics? And now that we’re on the colour spectrum, why are Canadian liberals red, American blue? Who is being backward here!?! The conservatives adopting the reverse in both countries, of course. Is it true that the French flag represents the balance between the left and the right? And not the liberty, equality and fraternity thing, because that is just a conspiracy theory pushed by the radical centrists!

Trickle down economics. Didn’t that fade away in the era of Reagan & Thatcher? Now it’s being touted by governments again. I remember my Dad calling it “Sucking Up” economics. Because, he said, they make it look like they’re giving you something … while sticking the vacuum cleaner hose into your pocket!

I’m still sick of politicans sniping at each other. You’d never run a good company this way. It’d be like the materials manager blaming the lack of inventory on the production manager for using all the parts. When the operations manager is asked to intervene, he deflects the blame onto the temporary workers & fires them all, while requesting the human resources people hire more accountants who will recalculate numbers that look better. Without even getting into the challenges of outsourcing & upstream supply chain management, it’d be a total duckfest. So why is it a good idea to try running a country like this? Don’t we all need to be on the same team to succeed? Especially during a crisis.

One real criticism I have of our news media is the lack of real investigative analysis & critique of the COVID responses around the world. The gross data is on TV every dinnertime, but I don’t see too much detail on which countries have the better healthcare systems, for example. This is an amazing opportunity to learn about such things. Digging into those details might educate us, the general public, on some key attributes of our differing approaches & societies. Such data might influence us on how to choose our next politicians. And I’m not presupposing what that data might reveal. It might, I would hope, have an influence on how our governments makes changes for the future. Though it may touch many of us, & our families, COVID-19 has a mortality rate that isn’t threatening for most of us. Despite that, it can’t hurt if we are better prepared, in case an even more virulent & deadly KISSYOURASSGOODBYE-23 virus rolls through a few years down the road.

My biggest conundrum? If we’re all adding to the national debt, who’s loaning us the money? And can’t we just print more to pay it back? Or is there an ink shortage now!?! 😜

Okay, so I’m having a little fun with some of this. On the premise that if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry. But I’m genuinely interested in learning a little more about economics. I would especially like to see some comparative studies on healthcare systems. If you can recommend a source of balanced information in any of these areas, please send it my way. Indeed, I don’t think I know any economists, so if you can introduce me to anyone in the field, I’d welcome the connection.

Let’s hope we can keep most of our jobs & that we can all come back stronger & better from this. Meanwhile, even if you feel it’s not necessary, please help make a fellow human feel a little better & safer … and if you can … wear the damn mask when you are asked! 😷😁

Stay safe out there, all.