Going back through all my political posts, it’s occurred to me that even though I write about politics, I’m not much of a political columnist. Every post seems to be a call to stop and think rather than a call to action. I don’t believe we should be protesting the war in Afghanistan. I believe the damage from global warming will make our world look like hell, but it’s not a civilization killer. Big Brother Zuckerberg doesn’t care what library books you read. The best political columnists, or the most entertaining anyway, make outrageous calls to action. Ban the bomb! Stop the Terrorists! Commie Liberals! Facist Neo-Cons! I like talking politics because I like to think, not because I like to argue. If all I’m advocating is a sober second thought, then what am I doing with this blog?
If I’m going to take my writing to the next level, perhaps I should find my line in the sand, that issue where I’m not going to budge. The problem with that is that I live in such a sensible country. The government’s been out of the bedrooms of the country since the 60s, we’ve got mostly legal marijuana, non-draconian copyright laws, gay marriage, and a non-imploded society that proves these ideas work. Sure, there are areas where our country could improve. We could be handing out harsher sentences for violent and organized crime, and our environmental record could be much better, but no one is really going to stand in your way if you want to make these things happen. It’s about as controversial as the color of the sky.
I think the issue that’s really going to divide Canadians is not how we make this country great or save it from crumbling. It’s how we make use of our largesse. I think we have a cultural hang-up about being aggressive in world affairs. I’m not just talking about toppling dictators. We don’t properly make use of our potential when it comes to business. There’s too much trust in unions, corporations, and industries to make things happen. Even people who hate corporations talk about them as if they are some breed giant robot running around wrecking Main Street. It’s not the systems, it’s the people that change the world. Who among you reading this have designs on their lot in life? Do you have a business idea? An unfinished novel? How many plans have you abandoned because they weren’t “safe” or too far-fetched? Maybe we should be going to the Moon instead of housing all the homeless. Maybe it’s better to try and reach for something better instead of constantly second-guessing our flaws.
If I need call to action, let it be this. Canada needs more bad ideas. Not just stupid ones, but grandiose, cartoon super-villain-like schemes that invite failure and could upset the balance of power in the world. A carbon-free electrical grid. Long-distance high-speed rail. A 30-hour average work week. We like to play it safe here, we want to change the system from inside, but to do really great things, we have to break the rules and build new ones in their place. I don’t care who you are, or where your life is right now. Look outside. What do you see? More importantly, what do you want to see?