There’s a popular bumper sticker, or perhaps it used to be a popular bumper sticker, that says, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
I’m not really paying much attention any more.
I overdrew my outrage account at the Psychic Bank of Canada sometime in 2004, shortly after the last U.S. presidential election. I kept kiting outrage cheques, dodging notices and phone calls from the bank manager, putting on a brave face and an outraged front, but I knew I was faking it. Then, sometime earlier this year, the PBC closed my account and circulated those embarrassing notices convenience stores tape up next to their cash registers, the ones that say, “Accept no outrage from this deadbeat.”
Now the best I can do is fake a good outrage or speak solemnly and wistfully about outrages of days gone by. Quite frankly, my dear, I just don’t give a damn.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I still give a damn. I’m simply convinced my damn has been trumped by the soul-sapping soup of power, greed, indifference and hubris… oh, and iPods. Outrage? Screw it. Put those somaplugs in yer ears, read the latest about yer fav celeb and bliss out, dude.
I’m bushed. Make that Bushed. My descent into indifference began when the U.S. Supreme Court decided the guy with the fewest votes won the 2000 election. It was fuelled by the nihilistic destruction of the World Trade Center perpetrated by a cabal of Dark Ages Islamists. And it really went into overdrive by the Chicken Little overreactions to that sad event: a declaration of war against an ephemeral target, terrorism; a ginned-up real war against a country who had nothing to do with it; a relentless killing field with no exit and, ironically, the best strategy ever imaginable for recruiting new terrorists; the evisceration of the U.S. Constitution; ineptitude that seems to know no limits.
The only bright spot in whole mess was a Canadian Prime Minister who was smart enough to take a pass on the Coalition of the Willing. Too bad he wasn’t smart enough to foresee the inevitable troughfest of the sponsorship scandal and was just smart enough to leave Little Paulie Martin holding the bag, looking like an even bigger sap than he was and paving the way for a Conservative government. Not that Stevie Hapless has done much of anything, alarming or otherwise, but you know in your heart of hearts if he’d had his pudgy hands on the levers of power at the time, we’d be watching Canadian troops being blown to smithereens in Iraq as well as Arfghanistan. We’re just living on borrowed time until he really screws something up.