Beyond Words

The Blog Formerly Known as "Nagoftaniha"

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Devil We Know

I have never trusted the Liberals. Since the time I arrived in Canada more than 20 years ago, I've leaned towards the NDP (New Democratic Party), the social democrats, or as they call themselves "the social conscience" of the Canadian political system.

It does not mean that I've always voted for the NDP. Considering the political system in Canada where the winner takes all, and the notion of proportional representation is still an idea, one has to vote wisely which comes down to strategic voting. I have always lived in ridings where NDP has had little chance of winning. So I had to vote for other candidates and since in the Canadian political spectrum, NDP is considered left, and the Liberal party is considered "middle of the road", in most instances I ended up voting for the Liberals.

The political map of Canada is changing. A far-right political movement which has its roots in Western Canada has managed to collude with the old time Conservatives and is in a position where it might form the next federal government. However, the majority of Canadians do not trust these neo-Conservatives and do not share their divisive and business-like attitude. If there were some progressive elements in the old Progressive Conservative party, these were wiped out and replaced by the same values that we see promoted by the Right wingers south of the border. These are trying times for the Canadian political system, when a bunch of red necks with their big cowboy hats and little tolerance for the downtrodden and minorities have succeeded in promoting their own agenda. They are willing to use any type of double talk, innuendo and divisive language to achieve their goals, which have nothing to do with what the majority of people think or want.

This brings us to the subject of the election. Both the Conservatives and the separatists have been suggesting their willingness to bring down the minority Liberal government. It is over a scandal that has plagued the Canadian political system for a while and the Liberals are mostly to blame for it. This is despite the fact that there was a general election less than a year ago and the majority of people in Canada have no appetite for another election and see it as a waste of time and money.

This is also despite the fact that the economy in general is doing well. There has been a steady increase in the employment numbers, and the government has managed to have surpluses several years in a row. There are also a number of major issues that the government should tackle which are far more important than the scandal fiasco.

But the two opposition parties are after their own interests and do not even care what the people think, or where their interests lie. They want to exploit the situation to their own advantage and, in the Conservatives' case, implement their own hidden agenda, and, in the separatist's case, prepare the grounds for their ultimate goal which is separation from Canada.

So far, the NDP is the only major political party in Canada which is willing to work with the government in order to do what is important for the Canadians, instead of considering their own short term gains.

Prime Minister Martin still has some ammunition to defeat this "unholy" alliance between the neo-Conservatives and the separatists. There is an inquiry carried out into what has been known as the sponsorship scandal which has not reached its conclusion yet. In case the government is defeated before the final decision has been made public, the government could claim it as a "mistrial." As we all know, an accused is considered innocent until proven guilty. If the oppositions decide to defeat the government before the inquiry has come to a conclusion, then it could turn out to a political suicide for them.

So if Martin plays his cards right, he might even be able to pull the rug from under the opposition parties and win the next election. This is the dilemma that the opposition parties are facing. The majority of the people do not want another election, and in case one was forced upon them, they might vote for the Liberals again. After all they're the devil we know.

Monday, April 11, 2005

"hits" that make us happy

The other day while browsing through some blogs, I came across a post where the writer had threatened his readers to leave him some comments; otherwise he would do the unimaginable act and commit suicide! This made me start thinking about the whole concept of blogging and its effects on the way we communicate among ourselves.

Other than some popular blogs which have a constant stream of loyal readers, the rest of us in the blogosphere use different methods to attract readers to our blogs. The situation has reached a point where some bloggers have started to use unethical methods to attract new readers to their blogs and we should start seeing some cases of troubled individuals who might spend hours in front of the monitor trying to sway more visitors to their blogs. The concept of "hits" has become such a big issue that there are currently many different trackers in the market to choose from.

We might all think our blogs are fantastic and at times feel disappointed that we don't have more visitors, but considering the size of the blogosphere and the number of people who keep their blogs up-to-date, perhaps we shouldn't really feel so dejected. We should always keep this essential concept in mind that by writing a few posts in our blogs, we cannot change the world. I know some people got very excited when the idea of blogging started to become popular, but again only those ideas expressed by well known individuals in the media, politics and other aspects of public life seem to be the ones that really matter and get some recognition. Other ideas expressed by ordinary people, no matter how original and intelligent they seem to be, get filtered out or get little attention.

I know a lot of people might not agree with me, but I don't think blogging is the best way to share ideas. It might still have some therapeutic value for the writer of the blog to express their feelings, instead of going out and in very extreme cases start shooting people, or in the case of the person I mentioned before, commit suicide. And if one has a constant audience who read all of his /her posts, then they might start to get to know the blogger’s thought process and share ideas. But for casual visitors who most of the time just quickly read the last posting in the blog, it's just a waste of time.

A similar situation is when you want to get to know a very well known author and you only read their latest book. You might get some ideas about their style of writing and you might even enjoy the book. But that's basically the end of it. If you don't become an avid reader of a blog, you do not get any value out of it. If one does not visit certain blogs constantly and does not participate in the debates, one becomes like a casual guest at a party who makes some small talk and leaves the gathering without getting to know anyone else.

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