Gasoline and flame

Ed Smith
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Yes, I know. For most of you, this is Sandwich Saturday, the day that’s sandwiched between Good Friday and Easter Sunday — between bloody death and risen life.

But I can’t say anything about all that without offending a few minorities, a few majorities and a few others sandwiched in between them such as the Conservatives and the Liberals. Depending where you live, one is in one group and one in the other. Without doubt, it’s the sandwich time of year.

What you believe about politics will determine what you do about Harper and/or Ignatieff and/or Layton and/or May and/or — oh, forget about him. I refuse to include the name of the man who wants to break up the greatest country on Earth with those who are trying to keep it together. I have no respect for him whatsoever. Sorry.

What you believe about religion will determine something or other. Not sure what it is. Not sure what it has to do with elections. Whatever, it’s probably a good idea to keep religion out of it. Religion and politics are a bad mix, like gasoline and flame, especially if the religion is fundamentalist and the politics is right wing.

That’s where we find the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, people whose extreme views warp and twist both common sense politics and common sense religion. All you need to do is throw in some misguided patriotism and you have the makings of an unstable society.

In other countries, these are the people who foment civil wars and rebellions. In the U.S.. there’s enough strength in the mainstream to keep those people and their movements somewhat on the periphery, although former U.S. president George W. Bush found a great deal of his support in the deep South where much of it originates.

In Canada, we tend to keep such people fairly well down. But we do have a prime minister who has certain fundamentalist leanings and consequently believes capital punishment can be justified. And that women shouldn’t have control over their own bodies. And fetal stem cell research is somehow “wrong.” And that’s just for starters.

There are other voices in his government, with similar ideas and principles. The only reason we’re not hanging people these days is that there are enough people of character in Parliament to vote it down should it come to that. Likewise, a national referendum would no doubt go against it.

I object strenuously to anyone being put to death in my name. That’s what happens if you’re a citizen of a country that executes people. We probably would have executed at least three in Newfoundland in the last few years who, after being convicted of murder, were after several years found to be innocent.

That’s just one reason I am totally and completely opposed to capital punishment. I’m guessing — perhaps just hoping — that you as a civilized, rational and ethical human being are against it, too.

It pains me no end that the leader of this fantastic country, and many of his minions, seems to be entirely lacking in any of those virtues.

To be fair, I’m not sure what Michael Ignatieff’s position is on this issue. I’d be willing to bet half of my substantial debt that he is strongly agin it. If Jack Layton is in favour of executing anyone, I’ll eat half of his printed platform.

Of course, it is late at night and I am hungry, and I know there’s a cold chicken in the fridge.

Does anyone care what Elizabeth May thinks, bless her heart? Me, either.

I am not a woman. Some there be who can swear to that. Never expect to be. I don’t understand how a woman thinks or how she feels. Some there be who can swear to that, too.

I don’t ever expect to be with child. That’s a privilege totally denied me, although seeing videos of women giving birth makes me believe it’s a privilege most men would never covet.

I know the preceding paragraph is filled with the kind of surprising statements which make people do double takes and cry, “No way, José! You can’t be serious!”

Fact is, I’m about to make a point. There is one thing I do know with absolute certainty. If I were a woman and if I were to become pregnant, the last thing in this world I would tolerate is some other person, be he prime minister, judge or doctor (even if that prime minister, judge or doctor is female) telling me that having a child is not my own personal choice.

That even if my health were to be jeopardized, it might take a panel of people to “allow” me to end that pregnancy.

That I, as a woman, would have no control over my own body in something as intensely personal as becoming a parent.

I know all the arguments against abortion. Like most people, I have to stop and think about many of them. And if I were that woman, I don’t know if I could go through with having it done.

But, no matter what his/her politics, no matter what his/her position in life, no other person should have the right to make the ultimate decision for me. I think we may be mixing gasoline and flame here.

Despite the fact that a certain prime minister (no names mentioned!) vowed he would never let his personal beliefs dictate his policies, I don’t see how we can avoid it.

Aren’t one’s principles based on what one believes? And doesn’t one act according to one’s principles? If there is someone to whom that applies, there’s not much doubt about what we have then — a person who doesn’t act according to his principles

And therefore a person who doesn’t need any, and acts only according to what is politically expedient.

Anyone come to mind?

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is

Organizations: Conservatives

Geographic location: U.S., Canada, Newfoundland Springdale

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