Thursday, December 01, 2005

Is there only one Timeline?

The recent calls for an exit strategy in the Iraq war seem to have spurred the President to declaring that he was going to institute a strategy for the removal of American Forces, but gave no specific details or timelines for that exit. All across the board, one hears of 'a timeline'. Just one?

Is it not possible that there are multiple timelines, at the very least, two? On one hand, you have the political timeline, which though we are consistantly reassured that Iraqi elections will bring democracy, we are also assured that troops may begin to be removed after this 'milestone event'. Is it not possible that, while interconnected by a strong dependancy on one another (the political sphere and the military mission) and the need for both mission to be successful, the two are not operating on the same timeline? It is important to foster the development of a strong government to ensure that Iraq does not remain tragically broken forever, however it is naive to believe that this can occur before a state of cease-fire or peace begins. The Iraqi military is not in a position to protect its citizens, and while US invasion and involvement was not (in my mind) appropriate or lawful, to abandon the process half way through is negligent and will not stabilize or bring about positive change in Iraq. I am unsure if anyone knows how that may be accomplished.

The Democrats who oppose Bush, and indeed Senator Kerry himself should be quick to point this out. The strategy of 'first across the finish line' timelines will be unsuccessful. Only when all areas of development and growth reach an equal or acceptable phase will it be appropriate to leave. Otherwise this 'strategy' is abandonment, plain and simple.

Religious vs. Secular Representation

In the Globe and Mail today, I read an article that discussed the "US Christian Right" weighing in on Canadian Politics. A day or two previous to that, another article appeared discussing the divide between faith based organizations pushing for more 'family-oriented' or religious interpretations of human rights and other issues. The writer, who's name has escaped me, was indeed correct. Secular representation and faith-based representation are worlds apart, but would we have them any closer?

I for one would not. This is not because I support the ultimate right of the secular to impede the moral reasonings of people of faith, but because all faith is based on the voluntary nature of ones acceptance of the rules, mores, values etc. within that same faith. It is this voluntary nature that allows those individuals to access the other main strength and characteristic of their faith: belief. To be a full member of a faith is not simply to be a practioner within its structure, it is to adopt and embrace the structure individually, without undue influence. The path is structure, the power is belief, the initiation of the journey is its own voluntary nature. It is the movement towards a goal, towards the end of whatever journey people are on that differentiates faith from the secular. For the secular, there is no place to go, no added structure to follow and only the belief in the laws and governance that make up some of the structure of society which we may fall back on.

Where one runs into problems when trying to combine faith with the secular, is when these structures overlap or become entwined, particularly when dealing with the expansion of law based on religious belief. It is here that we find a departure from the voluntary nature of faith, it is here that belief evaporates and is lost. Without belief, there is no power to hold together a structure of prescriptive measures by which to add extra governance to ones life. I find it ironic that some of the very people who argue for the reduction of government also argue for the enactment of laws that bridges the gap between finding order and instilling virtue and morals in all. The moral codes followed by people of faith are an extension of governance and the extension of control over the unwilling should laws of this nature be adopted. It is for this reason that there is the separation between church and state. State is not voluntary and must exist (in whatever form) to equalize different segments of the population. Faith based institution does not purport to equalize the playing field, nor does it protect the rights of all citizens: like the prescriptive measures it is founded on, the protections it offers are at best highly selective, at worst tragically discriminatory.

Faith is an inherently individual practice, an exercise in bettering the self similar to exercising for better health. We would not institute a law that required every citizen, regardless of ability or desire to run a kilometer each day. This would be folly. One cannot force an exercise regimen on a population any more than one can force a legal structure whose basis is found in belief. There will be those who are resistant to extra controls on their already pre-ordered lives, those who are unable to participate through inability that excludes them, and those who may wish to abide by the ruling but cannot for one barrier or another that prevents them. These are average citizens, with equal rights under law. To adopt faith-based legislation is to needlessly segregate these groups... unless of course they 'voluntarily' convert.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Arrival

Why I'm here:
My country, my province and my city are of great importance to me, as are all those living within and outside the bounds of our Great Dominion. Unfortunately, as lofty as my great visions of our homeland are, I am increasingly feeling disgruntled and alienated by the all too rampant problems in every aspect of Canadian Politics and Public service. For months I have read the newspapers with increasing frustration at the incompetence, ineptitude and increasing disrespect that all politicians seem to have these days for the citizens and residents of Canada. No where is this anger more directed than at the refusal of all levels of Government and Political Parties to include youth in our country's discussions. While it wouldn't be wise to elect a teenager to Public Office, it is equally unwise (and negligent) to fail to incorporate them into our system. The media frequently speaks about voter apathy (or rage) and yet no one takes the time to address a large segment of our population who are interested in full participation.

It is true that there are those youth who are wilfully blind to the importance of Politics and policy in our Country, this fact cannot be overlooked. However, it is through the youth, and the next generations that we will reinvigorate an interest and dedication to the growth and smooth running of our humble Dominion. Last year was the first year I was able to vote. This year I will vote one again, out of civic duty. Younger relatives in my family, yet unable to vote keenly wait the day that they may cast their first ballot. In many schools, the idea of lowering the voting age to 16 is of great interest. Does this no show a willingness to participate in the process? I believe it does. Where may we turn?

The answer, in short, is no where. While youth are included in such groups as The Young Liberals or Conservatives there is no place for a voice of their own. There is no forum in which they may be treated as equal to all other citizens. Too quick are the hands that dismiss, too loud are the voices against our right and ability to contribute. Often I hear or read of the disrespect, the blatant rudeness or the sizeable mistakes of the young generations. Too little do we hear positive messages about what and how youth may become engaged in their civic rights and duties, how they may become active in helping to mould the future of our democratic collective.

I am sickened, I am angry and I am disappointed. Perhaps this blog will amount to no more than diatribes about the state of our country, in this way it may serve to alleviate my frustration. More than that, I hope that at some point in time, some other youth may take an interest so that we may begin the first step towards full participation: full and hearty discussion.

What I hope to discuss:
There is yet, no broad agenda in my mind to tackle. Despite this, I do hope to address the following particular issues in the coming days: The current Federal Election, the Many Solitudes of Canada, and Municipal Politics in the City of Toronto, Judicial Reform, Education Reform (particularly Religious, Distance/Online and Adult Learning), Social Politics and the International Politics of the day. In any of these subjects, I do not make claim to be an expert or any better informed than the average Canadian, in this I cannot be clearer. As for the rest, it will follow as often as I may update. I encourage all comments, including those in conflict or contradicting the thoughts, opinions or statements that I myself make. Just as youth are in a process of transformation, so too are their thoughts and thus should be subject to constant and thorough examination, I am no exception.

Now that that is set aside, perhaps I may begin!