24 Hours

by matttbastard

Vote for MMP

Standing on the precipice of 10/10. Thought I’d be more excited, or at least anxious. Muted ambivalence reigns, however.

What Ed Broadbent (and others) said at this past weekend’s Churchill Society debate was entirely correct: an important event like the potential restructuring of our provincial electoral system should never have been shotgun-wedded to an election, playing second-fiddle to a cacophony of prefabricated idiocy. Reform was doomed to be drowned out by the white noise of all-too-familiar campaign dissonance, the same ol’ song and dance routine.

But fuck it – boogie with the one who brung ya, as they say.

So many others have stated the case for reform better than I ever could. My favourite entreaty came from Idealistic Pragmatist, who eloquently captured my own feelings of despair with the system as it stands now, ever since I cast my first ballot 12 years ago, at the tender age of 18 (for Bob Rae & the NDP gov’t, if anyone cares).

Gonna quote a small passage, but encourage you all to read the whole damn thing (if you haven’t already):

To say that this is a historic opportunity is a huge understatement. It seems that when people are truly informed about the two choices and what they mean, they tend to prefer MMP–but I unfortunately don’t have the ability to inject the hands-on political education I got by living first in Germany and then in Canada into every Ontarian’s brain. So I’m asking you to trust me a little on this: MMP really does work. It doesn’t produce perpetual unstable minority governments, it doesn’t make political parties into super-sized patronage machines, and it’s not at all hard to understand.

Yes, it’s different from what people are used to, and yes, that’s scary. But it’s even scarier to the status-quo politicians who have benefited under the current system, and are completely panicked about the prospect of having to learn to do their jobs differently. Don’t listen to them. They haven’t lived under MMP and really seen how it works, and I have. I know about all of the frightening scenarios that they want you to believe–the ones that could, in some alternate universe, potentially produce some scary result like parties taking control and stacking parliament with people who owe them favours. But the thing is, they’re talking about what’s theoretically possible, and MMP really doesn’t work that way in practice. And even if that alternate universe somehow came to pass, none of those scenarios are scarier than things that have already happened in Canada as a direct result of the system we already have.

It’s long past time for a change. Make history, Ontario. Make me proud.

Look: no one is saying MMP is a cure-all, nor is it a perfect system free of problems. NO democratic system of government is (Bush’s pining for the simplicity of despotism comes to mind). But it is way better than the winner-take-all status quo.

And it’s only the beginning.

Regardless of what happens tomorrow, the real heavy lifting starts on 10/11. Yes or no, win or lose, there’s still gonna be loads of hard goddamn work to be done to breath some life into our stagnant democratic system, both provincially and nationwide.

IP is right: let’s make (and keep making) history, Ontario.

Vote for MMP

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“Not Some Sentimental Prison”

by matttbastard

The comments to this post @ Rachel’s Tavern put me on a nostalgic path.

Hope y’all enjoy the road less traveled (or at least one that I haven’t strayed down in a long time).

Sam Phillips – I Need Love

(More after the cut) Continue reading


by matttbastard

Via Tiny Cat Pants, John Aravosis has what kactus (in comments) calls “one of his periodic attacks of stupidity and entitlement”.

Sit-on-a-donut-ring-hoping-to-God-the-Preparation-H-kicks-in-soon burning stupidity:

I have a sense that over the past decade the trans revolution was imposed on the gay community from outside, or at least above, and thus it never stuck with a large number of gays who weren’t running national organizations, weren’t activists, or weren’t living in liberal gay enclaves like San Francisco and New York. Sure, many of the rest of us accepted de facto that transgendered people were members of the community, but only because our leaders kept telling us it was so. A lot of gays have been scratching their heads for 10 years trying to figure out what they have in common with transsexuals, or at the very least why transgendered people qualify as our siblings rather than our cousins. It’s a fair question, but one we know we dare not ask. It is simply not p.c. in the gay community to question how and why the T got added on to the LGB, let alone ask what I as a gay man have in common with a man who wants to cut off his penis, surgically construct a vagina, and become a woman. I’m not passing judgment, I respect transgendered people and sympathize with their cause, but I simply don’t get how I am just as closely related to a transsexual (who is often not gay) as I am to a lesbian (who is). Is it wrong for me to simply ask why?

I wrote on my blog last week about this issue, and shared my doubts and concerns and questions. And I was eviscerated for it. While the majority of my readers either agreed with me, or found my questions provocative and relevant, a vocal minority labeled me a bigot, a transphobe, a rich, white boy living in a big city who didn’t care about anyone but himself, and worse. An old activist friend even told me that my words were prejudiced, wrong and embarrassingly uninformed, and that no one of any consequence shared my concerns, and if they did, they were bigots too.

I know firsthand that it’s not safe in the gay community to ask questions about how the transgendered fit in. I also know that I am not alone in my questions, or my fear of asking them. While I’ve been taking abuse for my position, I’ve also been amazed by the number of phone calls, e-mails and people stopping me on the street here in Washington, both straight and gay, thanking me for asking the questions I did, for voicing the doubts that they share. (Not surprisingly, many of these expressions of solidarity have been off-the-record.)

It would have been easy to simply write a blog post, or an article here today, about how I respect and support transgendered people and their rights (and I do), but how it was unfortunately political necessary to cut them out of ENDA. I could have chosen to never touch upon the question of the role of the T’s in the LGB community. But that kind of self-imposed censorship is the reason we’re in the pickle we are today. For 10 years now, the right questions never got asked, never got answered, and as a result, support for the inclusion of transgendered people in the gay community remains paper-thin for a sizable number of gays. Normally that wouldn’t matter. But when we are asked — well, told — to put our civil rights on hold, possibly for the next two decades, until America catches up on its support for trans rights, a lot of gay people don’t feel sufficiently vested in trans rights, sufficiently vested in the T being affixed to the LGB, to agree to such a huge sacrifice for people they barely know.

Keeh-rist! For a second I thought I was reading Camille Paglia, what with all the “Imma courageous rainbow martyr just tellin’ it like it is” bullshit (so perfectly suited for Salon, btw).

How did the T get in LGBT?

Apparently John-Boy has never heard of Stonewall or Sylvia Rivera.

(Hey, does the preceding count as a variation on ‘Simple Answers to Simple Questions’? Because Aravosis is definitely ‘Wanker of the Day’.)


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