Not knowing (and, actually, not planning) what to write today, it’s somewhat serendipitous that I’ve been tagged by John at Dr. Dawg’s Blawg. The meme asks me to list three things I want for Christmas, three things I don’t want, and five bloggers I want to tag with the same question.
The thing is, I’m a pretty terrible person to buy gifts for. Erin and I do this dance every November into December: “what do you want for Christmas.” / “I don’t know; what do you want?” / “I asked you first!” / “I don’t know. You don’t have to get me anything.” / “But I want to get you something!”
- But truth to tell, I would like an iPod. But I would feel guilty upon receiving it. Because it’s an expensive gift, and Christmas shouldn’t be about breaking the bank to buy frivolous things. And while we’d probably make good use of an iPod (as our home stereo and in our car), it’s still a frivolous thing. It’s something that I will buy, once I have about $300 to spare, to celebrate something; maybe a book award, if I’m fortunate enough to have one.
- Dr. Dawg and others in the political blogosphere are using this meme to talk about gifts that are more along the lines of “peace on Earth” and “good will among men and women”, and that would be nice. While the Canadian political blogosphere isn’t as polarized as the American blogosphere, it would be nice if more of us, Conservative, Liberal, New Democrat and others alike, could be a little less partisan, understand where their opponents are coming from, and keep some of the invective to a minimum. Yeah, I admit I did the same calling Mr. Harper “Mr. Sneak”, but that doesn’t make it right and I never said it was perfect, though at least I try to coach my rhetoric in a disagreement over policies and tactics than an attack on the person. Let’s see if we can retire the phrases “Fiberals”, “right whingers” and others from our vocabulary. Let’s see if we can’t realize that if somebody chooses to be a conservative, a liberal, a socialist, a libertarian or whathaveyou, it isn’t a personal attack on one’s own political sensibilities. Really, we’re not all that much different inside.
- In all honesty, I want some government with the money to back up its promises to step up and give public transit in general and the Toronto Transit Commission in particular the funding it requires. Things are better now than they were before Mike Harris realized his mistake and restored provincial funding of public transit, but the TTC continues to struggle to maintain its system in a state of good repair. Several service improvements have been identified throughout the city, but they cannot be implemented because there aren’t the resources to do it. And politicians continue to favour new subway construction over the bread-and-butter bus and streetcar service improvements which are needed more. This is going to be an issue that will dominate the Ontario political scene over the next decade. I live in hope that McGuinty’s government, or its replacement in 2007, will finally wake up and do what needs to be done.
And now for what I don’t want.
- I don’t want a Zune. Microsoft’s supposed iPod killer is quickly becoming the butt of jokes everywhere. And, besides, it doesn’t work with Apple, and our house has become a Microsoft (computer) free zone.
- I don’t want a majority government, of any political stripe. As chaotic as the Martin and Harper minorities have been, as loud as the rhetoric is, there’s still some strong and free flowing negotiations going on in the background, and all of the major parties are being given the strong lesson in humility that they so richly deserve. Indeed, I say: let’s institutionalize this. With proportional representation, the candour of parliament would improve, as the main parties will stop looking for that sucker punch that will win them a majority government and finally sit down and get down to some real governing.
- Another disaster. That goes without saying. But in the last couple of years it’s felt as though, when travelling for Christmas, we get ourselves cut off from the news, only to tune in and say to ourselves “there was a what? It happened where? It killed how many?”. In 2004, it was the tsunami; in 2005, it was Jane Creba’s death in broad daylight near Yonge-Dundas square. We’re not travelling this year, and we’re not going to get cut off from the news, but that means nothing. Fingers crossed that this year, the year will end with a period, and not an exclamation point.
And now to tag five bloggers with the same meme: