Snow is melting, ice thawing. The whole city is covered in mud and filth. Canada geese are returning. The other day, I caught a couple squirrels fucking at the base of an elm tree. Spring is here, motherfuckers.
This is the time of year we have all been waiting for, through blizzards and wind chills, through six hours of daylight and 18 hours of depressing darkness. Soon, the birds will be singing, winter forgotten, grass green and asking for a croquet pitch to be laid out and played through. Soon, we will be drinking outside, wearing short pants and ankle socks.
But we are still some days away from that world replacing the one we inhabit today. One where Mud is king, and Sick Slush his queen. Dog turds, long frozen, emerge daily, and the alleys and side streets reek of something foul and degrading.
That foul odor could very well be a mixture of piss, rotting garbage and vomit, and the bitter cold has covered it, more or less, for months. Or it could be the likelihood of a spring federal election creeping out of every dark corner across the dominion, about to ruin the days of many people who ought rather to be enjoying spring at its finest.
Putrescent filth is already being flung about from all sides, each alleging that it is the fault of another forcing a spring election on uninterested Canadians. Much cash will be spent on all fronts, as elected and would-be leaders jockey like jackals for a few petty points over each other in the polls.
Some say that this is in our best interest, that Canada needs a kick in the ass to get it going right about now, though I would wager little changes after all the ballots east of Manitoba are counted.
With voter turn out hovering above a failing grade, at best half of half of Canadians will decide who gets to spend our money for the next round of parliament, who gets to call the shots. Whichever group of criminals and goons is handed the reins, the people relegated by years of government policy to the bottom of Canada’s totem pole will surely be ranked dead last on their list of immediate concerns, working people across the board coming a close second-last.
Certainly, I vote whenever this dreadful day comes regardless of whether it’s at the federal, provincial, municipal or union level. But really, it’s among the last things I’d want to do on any given day, lower by far than defrosting my freezer.
But this is precisely what politicians and their ilk want. They don’t want people to hold them accountable to uncomfortable realities like climate change, poverty or neglected treaty obligations. They want us to tune out their bleating and gabreeting completely, and as a result tune ourselves out of any debate about where we, as a country, are heading in the 21st century.
But if we tune ourselves out, we deliver the parasites with a blank cheque with which to write their own version of the world to be. Judging by the actions of politicians currently at the reins, their world will be a world of pain and fear, where policy is dictated to the masses by hagfish for the benefit of CEOs and high-stakes gamblers. Where diversity of opinion is tantamount to treason, to paraphrase bard of the underdog Chris Hannah.
And so we meander onward, towards the bleak end to which we are part and parcel. A federal election will land when it may, and regardless we’ll be faced once again with a provincial one come fall. Many Canadians will be unfazed, and the rest of us will have a day or two ruined in the process.
In the Middle East right now, people are quite literally dying to change the political landscape. Here, we sit around and pick our zits and navels, waiting for a magical deus ex machina to fix our fucked-up system. I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Sheldon Birnie is the Comment Editor at the Manitoban.