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Posted: October 23, 2016

Sexual preference, like religion, clouds politics

Cobbhed bwKootenay Crust

By Ian Cobb

Can anyone out there remember wackier times when it comes to politics?

Most political observers of even the most occasional ilk will admit they’ve witnessed some twisted moments and know they’ve stood next to some nastily oleaginous creatures.

But the stuff that is going on nowadays smacks of a whole new low. And I’m not just talking about the howling mad dog crazy batshiznit surrealism show slurping and oozing about down in America; the nadir of a land repeatedly abused by its corrupt, lobby-purchased governments into stupefied, indebted, apathetic drones.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are what happens when only a few people pay attention to what is actually going on. More on that later.

Because America isn’t the only place that has some bizarre political theatre.

Gerry Taft
Gerry Taft

British Columbia’s Columbia River-Revelstoke riding is centre-stage in Canada right now over how current District of Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft came to his BC NDP candidacy for the 2017 provincial election.

The well-known local politician won the nomination over former Invermere Councillor Spring Hawes after he cleared party screening (the party’s equity policy).

The policy states that if a man retires from a NDP-held seat in B.C., the next candidate must be a woman or an ‘equity-seeking’ person (someone with a disability, a visible minority, Indigenous person, or someone from the LGBTQ community).

Taft, a Caucasian male, didn’t initially stack up (on the surface) when it came to the equity policy, while Hawes hit major hot buttons, being a paraplegic woman.

Still, the NDP brain trust cleared Taft for action, which left many people, including Hawes, asking questions likely similar to my initial reaction: “WTF?”

Spring Hawes served two terms on District of Invermere council.
Spring Hawes served two terms on District of Invermere council.

“The spirit of the policy is to increase representation. I am at a loss to understand how that could happen if you don’t claim membership in whatever equity-seeking group that you are a member,” Hawes told CBC after last weekend’s candidate’s race. “Maybe there needs to be more clarity around that policy in that if you use that policy to qualify then you should probably be comfortable sharing what equity group you belong to.”

A couple of days later Taft dropped a bombshell when he issued a statement outlining the reason for his equity status; he is bisexual.

“Due to my family situation and my belief that an MLA should represent all people, I chose to keep my equity status private. I believed that my privacy would be respected and that I would be able to make my disclosure in my own time, and in my own way, if I chose to do so. Over the last few days, it has become clear that there are those, including the person I defeated for the nomination, who will continue to insist that my equity status be publicly disclosed,” Taft stated. “I am choosing to disclose now because it will allow us to turn our attention away from the equity mandate towards the issues that really matter to this region.”

So… I understand why the NDP has an equity policy. It seeks to find good people from all spectrums of society to run for office and help craft laws to help us navigate more efficiently into a rapidly changing future. It aims to empower, as well.

Which is why I am left mouth-agape in a drawn out WTF.

Let’s see – one candidate is a paraplegic woman who has overcome obstacles no one should have to; she has served with wisdom and dignity on District of Invermere council and is as smart as a whip.

The other is a white male, very much like the white male who is current MLA Norm Macdonald. He has much political experience and is also smart as a whip. He’s also in part the candidate because he is bisexual, having fit into the parameters of the NDP’s equity policy.

So… while the party members in the Columbia River-Revelstoke spoke by choosing Taft as their candidate to take on Liberal Party candidate Doug Clovechok, I am left wondering: what is the point in having an equity policy that apparently ignores equity?

Spring Hawes did not choose to be in a wheelchair.

Gerry Taft chooses to be bisexual.

An equitable approach, in my non-political-party backing (hate ‘em all!) view, would be more judicious and centre on the person who ticks more boxes in the policy, especially when said person is perfectly capable to represent the party.

But that’s just me. I also think religion and sexual preference, in terms of using it for leverage, have no place in politics because they create dumb ass situations that deflect discourse from the proper course.

Taft is now going to have to bear this for the rest of his political career, which isn’t fair to him. The NDP’s equity policy is clearly ineffective because in its aim to bring fairness and diversity, it created an unnecessary sideshow.

Candidates should be allowed to run– whomever and whatever they are – no restrictions. We live in a free society, do we not? Restrictions are censorship; it is dictatorial and that’s not cool.

And now back to the far ickier depths of Donald Trump’s latest buffoon passion play.

Good luck and may you find work

I wish to close by stating my best wishes to the latest throng of journalists being shown the door by Post Media, which lost $99.4 million in the last quarter.

May you find work because our society needs more journalists – who are guided and ruled by journalism and not balls-out capitalism.

Is this new low of political behavior, showcased in the professional-wrestling-between-bouts-interview that is The Donald and Killary, the result of a lack of qualified journalists poking about?

I believe it is because today’s so-called mainstream media is under an all-controlling corporate thumb that is also inserted deeply into the behinds of far-too-entrenched political parties (see also: puppets).

With complete control of the message, the powers-that-be have lately reaped profits perhaps unknown since before the barbarians carved the Roman Empire apart, all the while cracks in society turn into canyons.

Rather than dig into important stories, the remaining journalists (and they’re being sent packing in record numbers in Canada) are spending their time telling glaze-eyed consumer sheep how awesome it is to use – insert the name of the product being flogged as news. This has been going on for years and it’s going to get worse as more qualified news reporters and investigators get laid off or bought out.

Just a little something else to think about; freedom isn’t free, nor is the proper presentation of the facts that cast light where it needs to be shone.

If we as a society want a free and independent-thinking press, to help keep the grease off politicians’ fingers, major changes in corporate thinking have to take place.

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