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Becoming what we despise

You know what frustrates me? I feel I can't talk openly about my actual feelings surrounding the referendum. Even the posts I am posting feel treacherous, particularly since the opposition is making no such missteps.

And it's working! In the latest polling 33% support FPTP and 26% support MMP. (Neither of these systems wins the plurality vote, however; 38% polled were unsure of how to vote.)

You know what else frustrates me? I must be spending 70% of my waking cycles working on referendum stuff, and I feel that
a. I'm getting nothing accomplished and spending most of my time thrashing
b. It doesn't matter what I do because the Referendum Ontario education drive will win or lose the campaign, not me
c. Nobody seems to think this is important enough to devote effort to, so I keep thinking the weight is on my shoulders.
d. When I do get the word out to somebody, the uniform response is "Why didn't I hear about this before?" followed by "you should do this and that and this other thing!"

Well, I'm a wimp. My shoulders can't take the pressure. I'm sorry I'm doing such a terrible job; I'm sorry that I am not perky enough to win a campaign; I'm sorry I have such a hard time telling people the sweet nothings they want to hear. And yes, I am quite aware that I'm not doing enough. But what do you expect when you leave the campaigning to incompetents who can't hold down real jobs? If we want effective democracy then we've got to pitch in to make it happen.

Sigh. Somebody call a Waaamulance.


Paul, at least you're trying your best. There's only so much any one person can do. Even if MMP doesn't succeed (this time), you'll be able to tell yourself that at least you did what you could. I'm inspired by your dedication to this issue.

Also, what's the Referendum Ontario publicity campaign like? I'm quite curious to know.
The problem is that I am not doing my best. It's frustrating.

The Referendum Ontario campaign is moderately underwhelming, but to their credit I usually see a Flash-based ad for the campaign when I check my Yahoo! e-mail. You can see their site yourself at http://yourbigdecision.ca
Paul, one thing I've learnt about activism is to be realistic in your commitments. If you tried to put literally all your waking hours into this you'd burn out and would likely never take on another issue like this again. You need to pace yourself so you can help with the federal fair vote referendum after this one wins :)

Yes, I've seen that website mentioned in news reports, but I was wondering how often people were told about it (billboards, flyers, phone calls...) Yahoo ads sound good (although I'm surprised you're not using an ad blocker for your browser). Hopefully it's enough.
I just searched news.google.ca for "fptp mmp" to see if I could scare up that poll and got twelve hits, of which four are from major papers--all four, I note, from the Star and the Globe; none from the Sun or the Post. I always figured that this thing would be under-reported and under-publicized and that it would fail because too many people would think on election day that nobody ever told them about it (because my experience in extremely local politics has drilled into me that that's what most people (even most people who are supposedly highly intelligent!) will say about any new thing that they haven't been absolutely saturation-bombed about), but I never thought it would be this bad. I'm also taken aback by how the commentary in the papers (though I haven't seen a lot) seems to be running heavily against MMP, dominated by the line of thinking that MMP will just make politicians less accountable. Who knows, maybe it isn't lost yet, but I always thought it was doomed, and it's going worse than I expected.

There's no point blaming yourself. (I do wonder sometimes whether you're as hard on yourself irl as you are on this eljay! I hope you're not.) These things can't possibly be won by the grassroots alone, and the grassroots have been left stunningly alone here. Whether that was inevitable or not I don't know, and that seems like the big question for future campaigns--it looks like a lot of MMP proponents are so afraid of a backlash that they (perversely) are going to let it die without a fight. I wonder, e.g., what the NDP's strategic thinking on it is. Certainly it would be in the NDP's interests to throw everything they have into winning the referendum rather than the election, unless doing that would be counter-productive or it was a lost cause anyway.

Oh, btw, I was meaning to ask you (a long time ago now!) whether you were excommunicated by The Environmentalists over nuclear power.
Oh my goodness. You're alive! You haven't been swallowed up and digested!

Yes, the coverage has been low. It is picking up, but it is obsessed with these damn party lists, which is missing the forest for the trees.

There's no point in blaming myself, but it's not going to stop me. It is true that I should keep things to myself, though.

I was excommunicated because I was caught reading John McCarthy's Sustainability pages.
You haven't been swallowed up and digested!

Nah. I've just been unloaded from my cryogenic tank and I'm slowly thawing out.

but it is obsessed with these damn party lists

I suppose the lesson to be learned there is not to underestimate the cynicism of media commentators. It just comes as a surprise to me because I had always assumed that "populist" sentiment was in favour of PR, and now these populist commentators are painting PR as an invention of policy wonks and a tool of the backroom boys.

It is true that I should keep things to myself, though.

Well, that's about the opposite of what I was saying--and anyway, it's an important part of your style!

I was excommunicated because I was caught reading John McCarthy's Sustainability pages.

Heh, well, "nuclear power" would be a reasonable shorthand, by the looks of it, then, eh?

I've lately become interested in the fact that nuclear power is turning into the divisive issue for environmentalists, but skimming over McCarthy's stuff there brings home that with nuclear power we're really just getting to the sharp edge of an old wedge--anthropocentric vs. non-anthropocentric environmentalism.

In relation to that, it's interesting how the Ontario Green Party is currently resolutely anti-nuclear, but also thoroughly anthropocentric in its rhetoric. Or maybe not so interesting, assuming that non-anthropocentric rhetoric has virtually no traction and mostly just opens you up to ridicule. (I've been wondering whether there are Green strategists cringing every time De Jong says "nature".) I see De Jong is now pushing the line that the world is going to run out of decent uranium in twenty years, and after that it will be prohibitively inefficient to mine and process it. That's a new one on me, though I guess probably not to people who are really into this stuff. "Peak Uranium"?
It's not the populists who are painting PR as an invention of policy wonks and a tool of the backroom boys. It's the backroom boys and policy wonks who are saying these things. It's Orwellesque.

There are more wedge issues in the Church of Environmentalism than just nuclear power, but you are probably right that nuclear is a big wedge issue.

McCarthy says that we won't run out of uranium thanks to human ingenuity -- we will just extract it from seawater where it exists at 3.3ppb. The economic optimists have been correct about everything else, so why not this?
we will just extract it from seawater

Heh, I was expecting the answer to be that in twenty years we'll be using fusion reactors anyway.
"It is true that I should keep things to myself, though."

Nonesense. It's therapeutic to get it out. And I certainly (*certainly*) don't mind hearing it.

The belief that I should keep my misery to myself and bear it all alone and not bother others etc etc etc has always been something that drives my depression severly deep. (Not that me acknowledging this stops me from doing it, but I just couldn't help but pronounce "rubbish" on this crippling negative belief. I can't (don't?) bring myself to call rubbish on it when I'm under it, but I always wished that others would for me?).

Just saying that I don't believe you should keep things like this to yourself, and it so doesn't bother me to hear you write about frusterations etc like this on your lj.