I meant to write this as a prelude to another post, but it got rambly and long, so I guess it’s its own post. I feel narcissistic even writing this, but I also kind of feel like it’s necessary lately, so humor me this one time.
(Maybe I’m having a mid-life crisis – I’m turning 40 next year and that is freaking me the f**k out.)
Here’s the deal – you send me loads of the best Tweets and emails, and I love reading them. However, I’ve noticed a few assumptions in your correspondence I want to address, because if you’re a reader of this blog (thank you!) I want you to be clear on who I am, where I’m coming from and why I write it.
Firstly, I voted SaskParty in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2016. Last spring I had Corey Tocher’s sign on my lawn because he’s been a good MLA for my area. I once was close with a few people within the SaskParty, and will always be truly grateful for a time they were there for me in a huge way when I needed them.
In 2011, when the SaskParty mopped the floor with the NDP, I was concerned, because big governments are never a good thing. In 2016 I was downright alarmed by the way our province was moving, but the state of the Saskatchewan NDP, in the lead up to and especially during the writ period, was such that I simply couldn’t consider them a viable option. Apparently neither could very many of you, because we were left with a monolithic, virtually unopposed third-term provincial government. Coupled with Saskatchewan newsrooms ravaged by cuts, it was easy to see the writing on the wall – and sadly (for us), the SaskParty government has lived up to every expectation.
I don’t belong to any political party because I think partisanship is stupid. I believe in people, not parties, and I think it would be ludicrous to shove myself into a box and then mold my beliefs and opinions to conform to it. I have a set of values and expectations of government, and I will always look for politicians and parties who match up with them – not the other way around.
Because I’ve been overtly critical of the provincial government lately I get the label “left” lobbed at me like an insult. It doesn’t bother me because I believe traditional left/right politics are dead, and anyone who goes there is just exposing themselves as the troglodyte they are.
I consider binary politics obsolete because once upon a time politicians alone drove the political narrative, spreading their gospel through rallies, leaflets and if they were lucky, the newspaper. The boundaries needed to be extremely clear in order to get the message across and gain support. People had to choose a side.
Today it’s the other way around. Millions of people everyday share their political gospel – opinions, beliefs, ideas and disgust – online, leaving politicians desperately trying to sift through the noise, trying to chisel out a platform that matches what they hope is predominant public sentiment.
Seriously – show me a party in North America that isn’t mired in an existential crisis. The fact political parties can no longer reasonably predict or shape public opinion has eradicated their purpose and identity.
Problem is, all that communication and sharing of ideas seems to reveal we all kind of want the same things: responsible government that doesn’t spend money like it’s going out of style; an honest government, and a government that treats people kindly and with respect, which includes providing a reasonable leg-up for those among us who need lifting, while not denying or resenting the success of others. Personally, I think that’s kind of awesome (though I appreciate not everyone feels the same).
Of course there are wedge issues, but they’re not the ones that (for now, anyway) once divided parties into neat compartments: pro-life vs pro-choice; pro-gay marriage vs anti-gay marriage; pro-privatization vs anti-privatization etc.
I mean, just look at that last one. Once upon a time the Saskatchewan NDP would have nationalized everything, while Saskatchewan conservatives, including those in the early days of the SaskParty, would have sold it all. Today we have this wishy-washy bullshit that boils down to “what does privatization really mean anyway?”, with our government wasting valuable time fiddling around with the definition of the word and dabbling in these pathetic, incremental sell-offs, instead of just taking a position and sticking to it, while the NDP Opposition recognize Saskatchewan people want choice and competitiveness, and once-mighty public-service unions are a shell of their former selves, so owning everything maybe isn’t the best idea after all.
I have friends across that old left/right political spectrum, from the alt-right to the hard left. I have great friends who actively support the SaskParty through thick and thin, for better or for worse, and great friends who carry around beaded NDP keychains and know the Regina Manifesto by heart. They all mean a lot to me, I love helping them where I can, I’m grateful for every single one of them, and one of my favorite things to do is introduce them to each other.
Beyond all that, I’m a mom of two boys ages 5 and 12; a partner, and third-generation Saskatchewan. I have a 2-year-old bulldog and a 15-year-old Yorkie terrier. I’m self-employed as a media and marketing consultant and a freelance writer. I was once the longest-running (and always will be, guaranteed) executive producer of a right-wing talk show, a role which provided me with an intensive education in the politics, people and culture of Saskatchewan, for which I am very grateful, but for a number of reasons I’m also glad I made the decision to walk away from.
I’m mouthy and sometimes say things I regret, especially on social media. I spend summers at Candle Lake where you will probably find me reading, tubing or ripping lips (yeah I said it). I love shopping, long walks on the beach (unless there’s sandflies, in which case, ew) long lunches and being with my bffs – preferably all at the same time.
Here’s my point (and I do have one) – I started this blog to write whatever I felt like, and right now, I feel like writing about the absolute mayhem within the SaskParty and the Saskatchewan government. I don’t make this shit up, and I think you need to know about it, because these are the people we have entrusted with our tax dollars and the future of Saskatchewan.
If the Saskatchewan NDP (or the Saskatchewan Liberals, Greens or PCs, because who can predict voter-intention anymore?) get back into power and pull this kind of crap, I’ll be writing about them the exact same way. But right now they’re the Official Opposition, which is critical to democracy. If what I write or say or do dovetails with their message, that’s totally fine with me. If that bugs you or even makes you hate me, that’s cool too. You do you.
So, if you need to pigeon-hole me as left or right, I can’t help you. All I can tell you is I love finding areas of commonality between us, and hate lies and corruption. I love strategizing, politically, for any party or candidate, the same way a hockey player loves hockey regardless of what team he plays for.
I love writing, and I love writing about politics, and I’m going to keep doing it. The readership of this site has blown me way. I can’t really explain how much it means to me, and sometimes I don’t really understand it, but I can definitely say thank you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go sharpen my skates. – tam.