First, Pass the Pancakes

Sophie Trudeau was humming in the kitchen as she brewed some coffee and got tea ready. It was Sunday, which meant the staff was given the day off and the family would sit down and have breakfast together. Normally, Sophie was in charge of the meal, and she would make either a quiche or a tourtiere for the morning meal. Today was different, however. Today Justin promised to make pancakes.

Justin strode into the room and walked over to his wife. Taking her by the waist, he firmly planted a kiss on her cheek. “Morning, sweetie” he said as he stared into her eyes.

“Morning, mon cheri. I am looking forward to breakfast. This is going to be quite a treat.”

“I know,” he replied as he released himself from the embrace and sat down at the table with the children. “I absolutely love your quiche and/or tourtiere.”

She stood there, mouth agape for a moment, trying to figure out what her husband was up to. “Perhaps you have forgotten, mon cheri, but you said earlier in the week that you’d be making pancakes. I was looking forward to, how do you say, taking my feet off this morning.”

Trudeau leaned forward, placing his hand on his chin. He nodded. “I understand that I said I would be making pancakes this morning. It was one of the issues brought to my attention when we decided to have breakfast. I truly believe my pancakes are in the best interests of everyone in our family. Unfortunately, after some polling, we haven’t been able to draw consensus on what we should be having for breakfast this morning. Currently, half of the family wants pancakes for breakfast, and that isn’t broad enough support to justify a change from the usual delicious quiche and/or tourtiere that you usually make.”

Sophie’s eyes widened. “Mon cheri, what are you talking about? Poll? Alright, let us take a vote right now. Xavier, do you want pancakes for breakfast?” The eldest Trudeau child nodded. “And you, Ella-Grace, do you want the normal quiche or do you want pancakes with syrup and whipped cream?” Ella-Grace nodded in agreement. “Yes, Mama, I want pancakes for breakfast.” Sophie began to smile. “Hadrian, do you want cakes for breakfast?” The youngest child, almost three, banged his plastic cutlery on the table. “Cakes, cakes, cakes. I want cakes!” Sophie smirked at her husband. “You see, Mr. Prime Minister, that is four against one. Looks like you are in charge of pancakes this morning, as you promised.”

Justin didn’t move. His hand was still on his chin, and he continued to nod. “I understand you are passionate about pancakes, and I want you to know that I am too. I’m committed to making this a great breakfast. Not only for us but for everyone. Although four out the five members of the family here agree pancakes should be for breakfast, not every member of the family are here. I sent out a poll yesterday to some of the other family members and they all agree that your quiche and/or tourtiere is far better than my pancakes.”

Sophie crossed her arms and put her weight on her right hip. Her words became far more pronounced and enunciated. “Who, exactly, did you send this poll out to?” she asked.

“I sent it to Alexandre, Zoe, and Margaret.” he replied.

Sophie’s shoulders thrust forward, her arms still crossed. “You sent this to your mother?” she shook her head. “Incredible. I can’t believe you would work this hard to get out of making pancakes.”

Justin looked over at the children. “Kids, can you cover your ears for a minute? Mommy and Daddy have to have a parent talk, okay?” The two eldest children nodded and covered their ears, the youngest was oblivious to the conversation. Justin looked back at his wife.

“I’ll level with you, sweetie. My pancakes aren’t very good. I’m a lot of things. I’m a great politician, a fantastic boxer, and an amazing lover.” Sophie started to cough loudly. “…but I’m not a good cook. At first, I thought making the pancakes would make me look better in the kids eyes, put me in the ‘cool dad’ books. The truth is, if they have my pancakes, I’ll drop a peg. It simply doesn’t benefit me to make pancakes at this stage anymore.”

Sophie’s face turned crimson, and she stamped her foot. “You promised me, though, you’d be making pancakes. You are breaking your promise.”

Trudeau gave her a shit-eating grin. “I know. But there needs to be consensus, sweetie. Now, if you could start making a quiche/tourtiere, that would be wonderful. I’m really hungry.”

Sophie spun around and started taking out the necessary hardware to make breakfast, slamming each one down on the counter. “I’m glad I only have to put up with your bullshit for another two years, mon cheri. Then you can go back to being a teacher and not a prick.”

“You mean another decade, sweetie.” he said.

He couldn’t see it, but she was rolling her eyes. “Of course, sure, whatever you say Mr. Prime Minister.”

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Pancakes are my least favorite cakes.

p.s.s. People might be saying, “But Mr. Charlton, what about Yellowcake?” My statement stands.

p.s.s.s. This is a Canadian thing if it doesn’t make sense.

Woe for Trudeau

Justin Trudeau sat at the edge of his bed, cup of coffee in hand, as his Filipino maid left the breakfast tray next to him on the mattress. He looked down at the mug, which was a cup with a gold trim lining the rim. It was a gift he had received as a child, when his father had taken them all to a quaint mansion owned by an old family friend in France. The coffee was rich and warm, and it too was a gift, from the son of the former president of Columbia. He let the smell of the coffee flow into his nostrils, then he sighed heavily.

Trudeau had just returned from his cross country bus trip. Ontario was a bit of a struggle, but the Maritimes were lovely as always, and then the trip across the prairies had been wonderful, until of course, he had hit Alberta. There was a large group of protesters in Medicine Hat, and the crowd had become so ruckus and unruly that there was no choice but to hop on a chartered plane and cross over Alberta in the air. When they landed in Cranbrook BC, they got back on a bus and finished the tour. Most of the media had been responsive to the tour, but the newspapers in Alberta were less than kind. The Calgary Sun had called his actions “cowardly”. The Lethbridge Herald called him “Spineless”. And the Rebel’s own Ezra Levant had posted a video, stating that Justin was “A Liberal Faggot”.

He put his coffee down and looked over at Maria, the maid. “Maria, I’ve got a question for you. Why do people in Alberta hate me so much?”

It was Maria’s turn to sigh. “Mr. Trudeau. I very busy today. Can you not ask your wife?”

Trudeau shook his head. “I’ve asked her, and she doesn’t know either.”

“Okay.” Maria said as she pulled out a chair that was close by. She sat down. “The first province I started in, when I move to Canada? It was Alberta. I moved to Edmonton so that I might support my family back home, yes? The people in Alberta are very different than the rest of country. How many hours a week I work?”

Trudeau looked puzzled “Well, I think you work about 40 hours a week.”

Maria nodded. “It is 44 hours, but you are so close. Now, how many hours in Alberta did I work?” Before Justin could answer, Maria interrupted. “I work 50 to 70 hours a week in Alberta.” Justin gasped. “But…. but what about family and free time and hobbies?” Maria waved her hand “People from Alberta, they have no hobbies or free time. Everyone work. You live in Alberta, you work. You bored? Find second job. Everyone work like crazy in Alberta.”

Trudeau looked aghast. “What about the arts, and music, and….” Maria silenced him again. “You talk of culture. No culture in Alberta except for work culture. You have many famous Canadians. You have Jim Carrey, you have Pam Anderson, you have many stars from Canada. Anyone from Alberta famous? Nickleback. Everyone hate Nickleback. No. Alberta famous for work.”

Justin scratched his head. “But if they’re working so hard, why are they so worried about increases in taxes?” Maria started laughing hysterically. “That crazy part about Alberta, see? They blow money all the time. Even government. No saving. You have money, you buy car, or watch, or boat. You know how many boats in Alberta? More boats in Alberta than in Philippines. And Philippines island in ocean. Albertans hard working, but crazy. But they spend money, it good for Alberta economy, good for car salesman, good for watchmaker, good for everyone. Tax for Albertan mean less money for Albertans, more money for people in who do not work like crazy. Albertans think free time waste of time.”

Justin Trudeau scratched his head. “So why are they mad at me then?”

Maria’s eyes almost popped out of her head. “Dummy! You not listening to Maria? You threaten Albertans work? You threaten their culture. They see you, they see pretty cultured boy. You cultured? Means you not working. Only culture in Alberta is work. Remember that.” She squinted, tapping the side of her head. “Remember that.”

With that said, Maria stood up, pushed the chair back in, and started out the door. As her hand twisted the knob, Justin spoke again.

“What could I do to make them like me, then?”

Maria shrugged. “Probably nothing. You could sign crazy deal with Devil and make oil rain in Alberta, they still hate you. No, you pretty cultured boy, they always hate you.” she paused. “Maybe work more. No more vacations. No more beaches with rich friends. Albertans have lots of money, but no rich. To be rich, you must have culture. No rich snobs in Alberta, only money. You take vacation in three years, when you no longer politician. You go to beaches with friends then.”

Justin flashed a smile. “You mean 11 more years Maria.” She just rolled her eyes. “Sure, whatever Mr. Prime Minister. I sure you Prime Minister forever.”

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Sure, Nathan Fillion is from Alberta, but Firefly only lasted a season, and he brought shame to his people by being out of work.

 

Idiots on the Political Spectrum

What do you picture when I say the words ‘Political Spectrum’? For most of you, it’s a line. You have the left (on the left side) and the right (on the right side). This is the image almost every media outlet, every pundit, every social media post leans toward. I’ll draw you a little picture.

spectrum

I hope this makes sense.

I’m going to tell you a story of two people I’ve been hearing a lot about lately; Rachel Notley, the premier of Alberta and leader of the Alberta NDP, and Dr. Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto. If you live in Canada and you pay attention, then you’ve probably heard about these two people.

Let’s talk about Rachel Notley. Depending which side of the graph you sit on, you think she’s either doing a good job in an unstable economy, or she’s the spawn of Satan and wants to destroy everything you hold dear. She has received death threats. People want her to lose her job. She was recently the focal point of a protest, in which the crowd shouted out “Lock her up!”, even though she has broken no laws. People who sit on the very right side of the spectrum want to destroy her, either figuratively or literally.

Let’s talk about Dr. Jordan Peterson. Depending which side of the graph you sit on, you think he’s standing up for what he believes in, or he’s the spawn of Satan and is committing hate crimes.  He has received death threats. People want him to lose his job. He’s been the focal point of a number of debates, many of which he’s drowned out by chanting and megaphones. People who sit on the very left side of the spectrum want to destroy him, either figuratively or literally.

I sincerely hope I’m using language that doesn’t make me seem elitist (apparently be elite is a bad thing) or use ideas that are triggering anyone (my blog is not a safe space). I hope the person reading this sees the similarities between the extremes of both sides.

There’s a theory in political science called the horseshoe theory, in which the two opposing sides of the spectrum have more in common with each other than those closer to the center. If you don’t remember what a horseshoe looks like, here’s another picture.

political_spectrum_horseshoe

I also hope this make sense¹

The issue right now, and in my humble opinion is the biggest issue on the planet, is our political discourse is framed with these extremes in mind. When dealing with the very ends of the spectrum, every issue is polarized. There is no middle ground. These extremist, on both sides, are the most vocal. They’re the ones spamming your feed with online petitions (I see issues from both sides), they’re the ones engaged in every argument, they’re the ones who are the problem with politics in the world.

I’m going to ask you some questions.

  • Do you find yourself constantly arguing online?
  • Do viewpoints that counter your own make you upset, angry, or otherwise emotional, ie. We need to stop all pipelines, or, people are gender-binary?
  • If someone, especially if they are in a position of power, has a viewpoint that contradicts your own, do you fantasize about their downfall or their failure?
  • Would you be offended if someone said you were on the other end of the spectrum than the one you associate with, ie. You’re a card-carrying conservative  and someone called you a left leaning thug, or, you’re a die-hard liberal and someone said you were a right-wing bigot.
  • Have you ever used the words right-wing or leftist, or any political label as an insult

If you’ve answered yes to three or more of these questions, you’re the problem. It isn’t the pipelines, the protesters at standing rock, the culture war, or taxes. These aren’t the problems, the issue is the conversation has now been dominated by those at the extremes ends of the horseshoe. And you people are idiots.

Here’s how you can stop being an idiot. Rather than looking up information to support your claim, look up information that contradicts your position. This blog was originally going to be a rant against Dr. Jordan Peterson. After I took the time to look into what he was saying, I found myself respecting his position. I don’t agree with what he says, but I can’t argue with his right to say it. The one thing I absolutely agree with him on is the fear of ideology. For Jordan, it’s a fear of left-wing ideologues turning the world into a Marxist utopia, where the able-bodied are made lame and wings of progress are clipped to give everyone equal advantages (I believe this is pretty silly). For me, it’s a fear the conversation is now dominated by the polar extremes of the spectrum. Discussions and arguments are seen as something to be won or lost, rather than having your own idea challenged to see if it holds. Combine this with a for-profit media that is more concerned with turning heads than jounalistic integrity, and you have a recipe for an uninformed polulace unable to correctly govern itself, paving the way for authoritarian figures who promise to solve the issues with ease. It’s how someone as unqualified as Trump has managed to gain the presidency.

So challenge your ideas. In my case, it led to me chaning my opinion on a subject. Now I’m less of an idiot than I was yesterday. Which should be a goal for everyone reading this.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Knowledge! Making people less idiotic since the dawn of man.

¹Image taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Political_spectrum_horseshoe_model.svg