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Ordinary Canadian artists unite!

What a great way to spend lunch hour – standing happily in the spitting rain with hundreds of my fellow artists.  There was a rally in support of the arts today in front of the CBC, and I went praying that it wouldn’t be just a pathetic handful of starving types.  Instead, I was swallowed by a huge crowd waving signs and placards.  I held one aloft: “Ordinary Canadian Artist Against Arts Cuts.” C’est moi and proud of it.  

I saw actors, dancers, writers, filmmakers, musicians, visual artists – what a funky, lively, engaged bunch.  The atmosphere was sombre and joyful at the same time.  The obligatory earnest woman was handing out flyers in support of the Communist party.  Mark McKinney of The Kids in the Hall spoke wonderfully, and so did Eric Peterson – he donned the hat of his character in “Corner Gas,” turned into the curmudgeonly Oscar, and read a letter to Stephen Harper “from one jackass to another.” 
It seems utterly impossible to me that anyone could support that man and his policies. Did you read the list in the paper yesterday of all the people who’ve been denied entry into Canada recently?  The issue came up again because a master musician from Kenya, a married man with a university job in Africa, was denied a visa to enter Canada, to which he’d been invited for a series of music workshops, on the grounds that he would probably want to stay.  A complete embarrassment.   A Canada I don’t recognise.

Last night on Jon Stewart, a young American writer called Sarah Vowell told Jon that she couldn’t bear to read the newspapers any more, it was all too negative and depressing.  Instead, she said, she went on-line to listen to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats during the Depression.  He was helping Americans survive a dark time, she said, and is just as relevant today.  
I know how she feels.  I tried to watch the American debate last night, but McCain literally turns my stomach.  Seeing Harper’s cold, bland face does the same.  This is the most important election I can remember, and as far as I can see, millions of people are going to be making this decision for me for the flimsiest reasons – Sarah Palin’s hairdo or Harper’s scaremonger ads. 
Oh well.  Thanksgiving is coming, and I will give thanks for all that’s good in the world, including that wonderful motley crew outside the CBC today, standing in the rain to support each other and the wise magic they must continue to make.   

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6 Responses to “Ordinary Canadian artists unite!”

  1. Mary says:

    I’m so glad it’s not just me. As a desperately scared American, I feel so guilty for not watching the debates, but I, too, become physically sick watching or listening to certain individuals (McCain being one).

    Cheers to you ordinary Canadian artists! I get much joy from y’all!

  2. beth says:

    Mary, I don’t know if you watch Jon Stewart to whom I refer so often, but tonight Michelle Obama was on. What a beautiful, warm, open woman she is. And she said that what she and Obama focus on is the decency of ordinary Americans. That’s not something much in evidence these days, and yet it’s there, let’s not forget – ordinary decency, in Canadian artists and American citizens. Let us hope that there are enough of us ordinary decent people to carry the day. And if not – then next time. (I was about to add, If there is one, but I won’t. There will be. Decency will have its day.)

  3. Mary says:

    The scary thing is that lots of people (including friends of mine) who are otherwise decent people vote stupidly!

  4. beth says:

    Would you lose friends, Mary, if you talked to them about the importance of this election to the fate of the planet? Might be worth a try. People want simple answers to complex questions, so they don’t have to think – and so Fox News gives the simplest of answers, as to a small child. Maybe if you could try to counter on the other side …

    Or maybe it’s just too heart-rending to try. Good luck.

  5. Unknown says:

    Hi Beth – Cheryl Binning (Canadian arts reporter) just wrote a great blog post on the National Screen Institute website (we’re one of the four national training schools whose funding has been slashed by Harper). She does a great job of explaining how the cuts impact the industry and the economy and Harper’s reference to the “average Canadian.”

    http://www.nsi-canada.ca/mr_harper_you_re_wrong_cheryl_binning.aspx

  6. Mary says:

    “Would you lose friends, Mary, if you talked to them about the importance of this election to the fate of the planet?”

    They already believe that much – but their ideas of how to save the planet differs greatly from mine! When someone believes whole-heartedly that god is on their side, it’s a lost cause!

    (If Jesus “came” to bring a new gospel, why are we still stuck in the old testament?)

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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