Left is not always right

Hello to my dear friends, brothers, sisters, comrades, compadres or whatever we want to call each other on the left of the political and social spectrum. I am one of you. I have always considered myself to be pretty far to the left of centre — I am quite proud of this.

However, some of us are doing some things that just need to plain stop. For example, this latest craze of “glitter bombing” politicians, an extension of the throwing pies in people’s faces, or the ever classic “egging.” This, plain and simple, is assault. No matter how noble the cause is, which in the case of glitter bombing, a statement against those who aren’t exactly in favour of rights of LGBTT* persons, it is not acceptable to throw stuff on the offending party. It just isn’t. We would be so angry and exploit something like this to the fullest if someone on the right did this to someone on the left. Let’s look at who has been glitter bombed as of late. Well, with the American election (or three ring circus of madness and idiocy), we have seen Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum being attacked, to name a few. Now, imagine, just imagine, if a Santorum supporter threw something at Obama. What he/she would throw, I’m not sure: maybe birth certificates or lightbulbs or something? Wow, what would the outcry be? Mind you, it’s not as if the left is overly thrilled with Obama these days, but that’s beside the point. So throwing things at a conservative is also bad. Some of us have clearly crossed a line here.

Remember when the former Premier of Alberta Ralph Klein got a pie to the face? Ya . . . not cool people, not cool at all. Don’t get me wrong, I loathe the guy and his politics and was glad to see him disappear from office, but assaulting him was just unacceptable. It just shouldn’t have been done.

But, beyond throwing stuff at not very nice people, there have been other things that have happened where I feel we, the left, have gone too darn far. Remember when the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, got a visit at home from a This Hour Has 22-Minutes personality? Ya, that went too far. It’s his home. It was unacceptable to show up there, no matter how funny the resulting segment for the show may have been. In the end, it ended up being not so funny at all after he called 911 and, as the story goes, Ford may or may not have been a jerk to 911 staff, and . . . well, the whole thing just shouldn’t have happened. I saw many on the left cheer for what had happened, and jeer Ford for not only not being a poor sport about it, but potentially going a bit crazy over the deal. Again, I don’t like the guy at all. But, geez, he does deserve his privacy, and to not be accosted at home.

When someone I consider to be a far right wing American bile spewer, Ann Coulter, came to speak at the University of Ottawa, the event was cancelled due to security concerns when protesters, it is said, got a bit too rowdy. Now, I do not like her, not one bit, oh no, I do not. And likewise, I dislike Ezra Levant, who was set to introduce Coulter. But that event should not have been cancelled, at least due to security reasons, the fact still remains that an unsafe situation is unacceptable. Protests? Yes, definitely. But, Ann Coulter, no matter how much I disagree with her, and the rest of those taking part in the event, should not have felt under physical threat.

The reality is we aren’t the only people in the world, us on the left. I believe that, for the most part, the left is where it’s at. I believe in the causes of the left, which include the quest for fairness and equality, for rights and respect. I believe in LGBTT* rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, animal rights and human rights. This . . . and much, much more of course . . . is what the left is about, as far as I am concerned. And it’s a diverse world, the left side of the political and social spectrum. But, for the sake of all the good that the left does, let’s leave the bad stuff out. Let’s not assault people. Let’s respect people’s homes and private lives. Let’s respect the fact that other people do have opinions and do have the right to express them. Let’s respect the fact that we can’t always get our way, even when we believe we are right. Let’s remember that we live in a democracy, and that this is a wonderful thing. And, in a democracy, those on the right also have a voice, have needs, desires and beliefs. And, sadly, and sometimes scarily, some of what they believe, in the end, may actually be right. But you didn’t hear that from me.

Chris Hearn reminds us that in a democracy, all views must be heard.