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EMILIE CHIASSON: Politics sometimes reminiscent of kids on the playground –



My Grandma Fody died this past December. She was 94 and for her entire life she was a devout, dedicated true-blue card-carrying Tory.

She was so blinded by her politics that it wouldn’t matter in the least what happened, or who did it – she would find a way to blame the Liberals. She never questioned anything. Everything the Conservatives did was right.

Oh, and those NDP or Green Party tree-huggers. They know nothing.

She travelled all across Canada going to Tory conventions, she worked polls and always followed the news for any political story.

Visits with her often contained a political conversation. Well, I wouldn’t so much call it a conversation. It was more of what you might call a one-sided affirmation of her opinions.

As for that old-fashioned saying “respect your elders”, well, I had to do a lot of that.

Justin Trudeau really got under her skin: his hair, he didn’t shave one day (Shoppers Drug Mart must have run out of razors, she said). it wouldn’t matter if he saved one of her great grandchildren from drowning. He had no chance of being in her good books.

COVID would have given her so much material to blast the Liberals for. I can literally hear the criticisms in my head as I am typing.

I didn’t inherit her political-devotedness gene.

Politics, for me, is similar to watching a bunch of children on a playground.

There are usually a few leaders.

There are usually groups that form.

Most tend to play soccer or baseball, some of the most common games, while others lean to the not so common task of collecting things and building something.

There are the dreamers who draw in a few floaters.

Sometimes they get along.

Sometimes they play really well together and achieve much.

Sometimes there is a bully in the group who makes fun of others for not doing things the same way as they do.

Sometimes there is a traitor in the group who decides they want to play soccer instead of baseball.

Sometimes that traitor tells the soccer group things the baseball players said about them or things they were slyly doing behind their backs.

Sometimes they fight.

When they fight, all hell can break loose and no one achieves anything.

Grudges are formed.

I’m the type who sometimes wants to play soccer, sometimes I want to build things, I like to get along with others and I’m interested in learning.

A few years ago, as part of lobbying the government for research funding for ovarian cancer, I attended a lobby day on Parliament Hill.

All of the pageantry made me chuckle! As we raced from office to office, we needed to get a Page to tell the Member of Parliament we were meeting with that we had arrived. The photo ops were so structured. There were so many ‘handlers’. There were certain chairs you weren’t allowed to sit in.

As part of the experience, we were able to attend Question Period. We filed into the upper viewing area and were given a list of instructions.

On that particular day it was particularly dramatic. If I recall correctly, Trudeau was being accused by the NDPs of pushing an MP and maybe even something to do with crossing the floor.

Thomas Mulcair, in an effort to mock the Prime Minister, put his hands up behind his head and stretched his legs out. When the Prime Minister would speak, he shouted, “Blah, blah, blah, blah.”

It was pure and utter craziness! I tried to imagine if myself and my colleagues acted this way in a meeting. What a complete waste of time!

I’m not a huge consumer of news media. The stories are all about pointing fingers, accusations, agenda setting and ego. Trump! Covid! Trudeau! One scandal after another! The sky is falling!

A few years ago, I made a decision to not watch the news before I go to sleep. This decision was made after I had a dream in which I was pregnant and in labour. I was in an operating room. Jian Ghomeshi and Rob Ford were the nurse and doctor. I didn’t want Jian to touch me and I wasn’t convinced that Rob Ford knew how to deliver a baby.

I really don’t know what heads or tails is anymore when it comes to politics.

What is real? What is true? What is right? Who is actually being honest? What is being done? Who is paying who?

You know what, maybe Grandma was onto something. It is easier to be one sided, to not question things and just unequivocally believe that one party is right.

With an insatiable love for human behaviour and circumstance, Emilie Chiasson absorbs the world around her, and turns her experiences into relatable stories. From her home town of Antigonish, N.S., to her travels around the world, she never fails to connect with the characters and perspectives that make life a bit more colourful. Read more.


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We need more liberty, less politics: Richard Boddie – OCRegister



Back in 1990 when I was running to become the 1992 nominee for president as the Libertarian Party candidate, and again when I actually ran for the Senate in California against Dianne Feinstein and John Seymour in 1992, and then against “DiFi” again and Michael Huffington in 1994, reporters would often ask me, “How many Libertarians are there”?

My late friend and mentor David Bergland, the 1984 Libertarian Party presidential candidate, used to often tell reporters, “Most Americans are libertarians. They’re just in the process of discovering it.”

I pray that he might have been right, and I have reasons to believe so.

I believe that many Americans just want to be left alone to live their own lives freely, and that most abide by a live-and-let-live philosophy in their daily lives. It’s clear to me that we would probably all be better off if we stopped using the state, or so-called government, as the vehicle by which we try to impose our values on others. Voluntary anything beats mandatory anything every time.

But current political frameworks and debates don’t actually lend themselves to maximizing personal freedom, or even freedom from politics.

My initial political beliefs came from my home, as is most people’s experience. My dad, a Negro church pastor (this was in the early 1940s and that’s what we were called and also called ourselves when not using the term “colored”) was a Democrat, mainly because of FDR’s influence on the Black communities nationwide with his New Deal. Thus, I too was a Democrat. Rev. Boddie (pronounced “body”) strongly opposed war and questioned any and all United States military intervention worldwide. I also do to this day, most likely as a result of dad’s pacifist influence.

As an adult, after college and law school, I observed that the vast majority of Black folks in my city, Rochester, New York, were Democrats, likely for much the same reason as most people: you inherit political perspectives from those around you.

In those days in the minds of most people, politically, there were only Republicans, Democrats and Communists.

The concept of liberal, conservative, or even independent had yet to surface as political divisions in the minds of the citizenry. And surely there were no color-coded red, blue or purple shortcuts until recent times. And as for that recent innovation, it’s obvious that somebody definitely got the red and blue colorings backward. Who ever heard of a blue progressive or socialist, or a red Republican? Come on. But I ramble.

Unfortunately for our nation, the word “libertarian” and understanding thereof appears to be much too late in coming, just now breaking through to the masses. Instead and as a result, most of our politics are dominated by factions committed to using government to achieve what should be achieved voluntarily or as close to the individual as possible.

Libertarianism as a political approach is much closer to the intuition most people have of live and let live, for it is based on the common belief and understanding that this nation was predicated on respect for the individual first and foremost.

We would probably all be better off if we stopped using the government as the vehicle through which we seek to solve every problem, from the personal to the cultural to the economic.

This current divisive culture war and craziness that we are experiencing could ultimately be better handled by individuals and communities, often voluntarily, instead of being botched up and exacerbated by politicians at all levels.

I believe that we wouldn’t have our lives dominated by headlines about Trump or Biden or whomever if we didn’t trust in government to do so much that it shouldn’t be doing. Isn’t it obvious to you yet where the actual obvious problem is here?  As the late American businessman and libertarian activist Robert LeFevre put it, “Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.”

The late co-founder of the Libertarian Party, David Nolan, established that there are five basic elements that one must believe in if she or he professes to be a libertarian: 1. You own yourself; 2. A belief in the right of self-defense; 3. Opposition to “criminal possession” laws; 4. Opposition to taxes on productivity; and 5. Support for a sound money system. That’s basically it.

Or more concisely, by yours truly:  “Do all you agree to do, and do not encroach on other people or other people’s property.” Or, “Don’t hurt other people and don’t take their stuff.” Or, “Thou shalt not aggress.” And this especially goes for people calling themselves government, too.

These days so many decent American voters are clamoring for a third party. It is quite understandable considering all the bipartisan angst. But, for some strange reason, perhaps due to the Libertarian Party’s principled and consistent positions and belief that “thou shalt not aggress” or “live and let live.” and absent the traditional cut-throat and too often blind political tactics, few are aware of or making the switch to the only political party that could fix the mess.

The LP has been in existence for almost 50 years now, it is in all 50 states and has been for years, and has run presidential and congressional candidates since its inception, as well as state and local candidates. It’s interesting to note that very few Americans have been allowed to even consider that political party choice. What’s up with that?

Whether you vote for the LP or not, whether you call yourself a libertarian or not, wouldn’t our lives all be better if we were less bombarded with politics? The only way to get there is to stop playing the usual games, stop sticking to the usual scripts and stop putting so much power in the hands of politicians and the state.

Richard Boddie is a member of the Southern California News Group’s editorial board.

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Ukraine president says Kyiv staying out of U.S. internal politics, elections – Reuters



FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy gestures during an open-air news conference, one year after his inauguration, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kiev, Ukraine May 20, 2020. Sergey Dolzhenko/Pool via REUTERS

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that it was a matter of Ukraine’s national security to stay out of U.S. internal politics, particularly its election.

“#Ukraine did not and will not allow itself to interfere in the elections and thus harm our trusting and sincere partnership with the #USA,” he wrote on Twitter late on Saturday.

Zelenskiy, 42, was a comic actor when he won a landslide election last year. But the first year of his presidency was overshadowed by Ukraine’s unwitting involvement in events that led to the impeachment of Republican U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump had unsuccessfully pressed Ukraine to launch an investigation into his Democratic rival in the 2020 presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Never, under any circumstances, it’s acceptable to meddle in another country’s sovereign elections,” Zelenskiy wrote.

Zelenskiy appealed to Ukrainian politicians to avoid any actions that could be linked to U.S. elections, nor allow themselves to try to solve any of their personal, political or business problems that way.

“Ukraine’s reputation is worth much more than the reputation of any of our politicians,” the president said.

Earlier this week, Zelenskiy told Reuters that he hoped U.S. support for Ukraine would remain strong regardless of who wins the American election.

Reporting by Natalia Zinets; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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Week In Politics: Congress Fails To Come To Agreement On New Coronavirus Relief Bill – NPR



As lawmakers fight over what to include in the next Coronavirus relief package, we look at the impact of delaying that aid. Also, do we know more about President Trump’s agenda for his second term?

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