• politics

    responding to those who voted for Trump

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the questions of what it means to vote for Trump and who the Trump supporters are. I’ve seen lots of posts about how Trump won because he spoke to the working class, and the working class wants change and human dignity. There are some who say that making this about race and homophobia is a mistake… that it is an attempt to tarnish the good people who voted for Trump, to write them off as “deplorables” rather than to hear their legitimate concerns. On the other hand, we now have Christian supremists and probably white surpremists working in the white house. Can we really…

  • activism,  history,  politics,  the ethical life

    Optimism vs Hope

    I’m thinking about the difference between optimism and hope. One can be optimistic because one believes things will go well. In some cases optimism is good and natural. However optimism can also be due to a lack of information about the potential problems or because one deliberately rejects the facts that disagrees with one. Therefore optimism itself is not a virtue. We should not be trying to “choose optimism” when the situation does not warrant it. I picture NASA scientists preparing for a rocket launch. We want them to be optimistic because all the tests, models and simulations suggest they will be suc…cessful. We would not want them to “choose optimism”…

  • activism,  homeschooling,  politics

    the day after the American election

    I started blogging right after Stephen Harper was re-elected. Back then my blog was called “Another Step to Take…” I was sitting in shock, staring at election results, and feeling horrified that Canada could re-elect someone so blatantly bad. I had been out knocking on doors during the election. I had helped drive people to the polls. Blogging was something I started doing as another step, started the day after an election, for trying to work for changes the next election. I started off blogging about politics. Since then my blog has shifted. I’ve blogged more on homeschooling. I changed the name of the blog to “Houseful of Chaos” reflecting…

  • God,  politics,  religion

    Gretta Vosper and the atheist church

    Gretta Vosper is a minister in the United Church of Canada, at least for now. A committee in Toronto has recommended that she not be allowed to continue as a minister, given her statements that she does not believe in God or call herself a Christian. The United Church, of which I am a part, is a church that recognizes that people’s understanding of theology changes. When someone says they don’t believe in God, the reaction is not necessarily shock as much as the question “what God is it you don’t believe in?” There is space a lot of space between believing in an omnipotent force that intervenes in this world and…

  • politics

    politics in Gulliver’s Travels

    I’m reading Gulliver’s Travels again right now and wanted to share this excerpt from when Gulliver is explaining about British government to the king of the giants: He then desired to know, what Arts were practiced in electing those whom I called Commoners. Whether, a Stranger with a strong Purse might not influence the vulgar Voters to chuse him before their own Landlord, or the most considerable Gentlemen in the Neighborhood. How it came to pass, that People were so violently bent upon getting into this assembly, which I allowed to be a great Trouble and Expense, often to the Ruin of their Families, without any Salary or Pension: Because…

  • history,  politics

    reading 18th century history, reflecting on today

    I’ve been reading about various wars in North America during the 1700s. Several things stand out to me. One is the idea that the governments were not able to control their people. Native elders were not able to prevent individual or small groups of native warriors from going off and killing colonists, and the colonists were unable to prevent individuals from going off and killing natives. The acts of individuals were then used to justify the acts of more individuals and of governments. The second thing is that the elites were manipulating everyone into war. Before the American Revolution, the different colonies were fighting over which would control “the west”…

  • activism,  politics

    staying involved in activism while focusing on the homeschooling

    The election is over and I am trying to think again about how I can be involved in making change in the world. I would like to be involved in one of the local organizations but I cannot see that happening right now. I withdrew from the anti-poverty organization I used to be involved with some time ago because it moved in a direction I didn’t like. I am teaching minecraft math on Monday evenings and I don’t want to take more than the one evening a week away from my family. Then the kids are old enough I find I have to shelter them from the political activities because…

  • politics

    PMOs office vetting refugees – not a good idea.

    (The following is a guest post by my husband, James. –Christy) When I first heard this morning about the PMOs office “vetting” refugee claimants from Syria, I was struck by how much of their information was being passed around the bureaucracy, as indicated by the Globe and Mail story. “The Prime Minister’s Office asked Citizenship and Immigration for the files of some Syrian refugees so they could be vetted by the PMO – potentially placing political staff with little training in refugee matters in the middle of an already complex process. PMO staff could have also had access to files that are considered protected, because they contain personal information, including…

  • politics

    Voter Suppression Measures and Canadian Elections

    I’m reading Michael Harris’ book Party of One. I’m not very far in it but is plenty of interesting information in it. It helps to see how the effort to make elections buyable goes right back to Stephen Harper’s beginning. When Stephen Harper first got a seat in the government it was as a Reform politician, and his campaign benefited from the National Citizen’s Coalition (NCC) putting $50,000 against his opponent, because his opponent was in favor of third-party spending limits in elections. Harper would later work for the NCC. In 2004, just two years before becoming Prime Minister, Harper went to the Supreme Court on behalf of the NCC to try to fight…

  • activism,  politics

    #BarbaricCulturalPractices

    Just when I think this election can’t get more disgusting, it gets more disgusting. Apparently the Conservatives want to take a tip from the Spanish Inquisition, when neighbours court report each other. (Did you know that during the Spanish Inquisition Christians of Muslim descent were required to leave their doors open on Thursday evenings and Friday mornings to prove to their neighbours that they weren’t bathing? Because you know, that was considered a ‪#‎barbaricculturalpractice‬.) This isn’t about domestic violence. If Harper wanted he could announce more funding or domestic violence shelters and for programs for victims of domestic violence. But he’s not. He could be trying to promote education about…