Archive for March, 2015


Get On Board

As a Canadian, observing our neighbours to the South can be a fascinating diversion, akin to observing monkeys in a zoo at times. Indiana’s Senate Act 101 is a prime example of this.

As you may have heard, Indiana has passed an Act which, disguised as an act to protect religious freedom, purportedly legalizes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Here’s the significant portion of the Act: “A governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”

It sounds fairly innocent, but the worry here is that those 23 words will allow any person (or business, since businesses are included in the definition of “person”), to discriminate against homosexuals by using religious freedom as a shield.

It’s a very serious matter, but I can’t help but laugh a little.

This is 2015. This issue has been settled in Canada for over 20 years now. Even the UK, despite its parliamentary supremacy and general resistance to change, figured this shit out about 13 years ago. Significant portions of the US still haven’t though, and it’s laughable. Like monkeys in a zoo.

 

See, what’s truly ridiculous about this whole situation isn’t the fact that this Act managed to pass, or that the Act could be used for nefarious purposes such as discriminating against homosexuals. It’s that people have genuine reason to worry that this Act could be used for nefarious purposes such as discriminating against homosexuals.

If the exact same Act passed in Canada or the UK, no one would even bat an eyelash. Protections for homosexuals are so well-ingrained in those two systems that if someone even thought about claiming that religious freedom allows them to discriminate against homosexuals, the courts would slap them into oblivion. But in the US, those protections are tenuous, and so people are justifiably afraid.

 

History moves in one direction: forward, towards acceptance and equality. It does not move backwards toward hatred and bigotry. Everyone with a brain knows where the narrative is headed, and this Act represents nothing more than a speed bump along the road. The Indiana legislature can get on board with the rest of us, or it can watch as its viewpoints become extinct. This Act will die, and it will die because those in charge will be forced to choose between killing the Act or being replaced by people who will. The choice is theirs.

Passivism

Just about everyone has some sort of cause that they support. Just scroll down your Facebook news feed and you’ll see a whole bunch. Right now I’ve got a complaint about tuition fees, one environmentalist post, and a couple of people speaking out against an anti-terrorism bill. Pretty typical stuff, albeit lacking the usual post cursing the oppressive patriarchy.

And what about me then – what’s my cause? Even if you know me very well, you probably can’t think of anything off the top of your head, can you?

That’s because I don’t really have a cause. There’s not really anything that I feel strongly enough about to get up onto a pedestal and scream and shout about it. But what I will do is gaze up at the pedestal where other people are screaming and shouting and tell them that there’s no need to scream and shout about whatever is it that they’re screaming and shouting about.

I’m a passivist. And I know that’s not a real word, but it’s the best way to convey this idea that I have.

Simply put, a passivist – not to be confused with a pacifist – is someone who opposes activism. And to a fairly large extent that’s what I do, isn’t it? I look at the issues people raise and I usually respond in at least one of the following four ways, though there are others:

1. The problem that you’re complaining about isn’t really that big a deal.

2. The method of protest you’ve chosen is going to be completely ineffective at achieving your stated goal.

3. Everyone already agrees with you.

4. You’re demanding the impossible.

 

Now personally, I think that passivism is one of my greatest strengths. Anyone can freak out about something. Anyone can make a mountain out of a molehill. But not everyone can say “Everyone chill the fuck out, this isn’t actually a big deal.” Not everyone can analyse a controversial issue with a level head, see both sides of an argument, and tell both sides that their problems are not as big as they seem. To me, that’s a valuable skill, and it’s one the world could use more of.

The problem is that very few others agree. “Passivist” isn’t something you can put on your resume if you hope to get hired. No interviewer is going to be impressed when you tell him that your biggest passion is telling other people that the things that they’re passionate about aren’t all that important. No one wants to hear that, no matter how true those words might ring.

Being a passivist is a job that commands virtually no respect, but it’s an absolutely vital one. And although sometimes I do wish I could be the sort of person to rant and rave about something – anything – this is the sort of person I am, for better or worse. I can be no other.

 

Sick

I thought I’d have a job by now. I really, really did.

I remember thinking during the OCI process in September how nice it would be to get to December, because surely by then all of the stress would be done with and I could stop worrying about everything. But December came and went. And so did January. And February.

And now it’s March. And I’m still here.

Right now I’m caught between two fears. The first fear is that I’m not going to be able to find any job at all. That wouldn’t necessarily indicate a colossal failure on my part; there are only enough jobs for 45% of us after all. But it would be perceived as a colossal failure by my parents, and they’re the ones I have to live with.

The second fear is the worse one at the moment. It’s the fear that someone my parents have spoken to will offer me a job out of pity, but they’ll offer it for the entirety of the summer rather than just 12 weeks or so. What the fuck do I do then?

From a purely professional standpoint there’s really no difference between a job that runs 12 weeks vs. 16 weeks. But from a personal standpoint the difference between 12 and 16 weeks is the equivalent of the difference between Earth and the surface of the Sun. One would allow me to head out to Wales for three weeks at the beginning of summer and receive a guest from said country for three weeks at the end. The other would ixnay both of those plans. And the thought of the latter makes me want to puke. It makes me physically sick. Because what then? Am I supposed to wait until December to see this girl again? Or, best-case scenario, November’s reading week? Am I supposed to ask her to put up with a whole year’s worth of absences because of a stupid fucking job?

Or do I turn down the job, leaving me unemployed? Of course, if I did that there’s a decent chance my dad would prevent me from jetting off anywhere in April. And not to sound like a broken record here, but that makes me want to vomit.

 

I’m just so tired.