Sunday, January 31, 2021

Still COVID times: Who has the "power"?

Since I last made an entry, there has been an attempted coup in the US by trumple's followers, pissed that he lost the election, and given to belief in conspiracy theories of all absurd kinds.

I've been thinking on this for quite awhile. Bearing in mind that we are
1. primates of the human persuasion, therefore capable of symbolic thought, but with
2. moral codes common amongst all primate cousins,
3. emotional reflexes common to all mammals, and
4. survival reflexes common to all vertebrates and perhaps even non-vertebrates;
... who still prefer to be in troops, the larger the better:
1. On the one hand, there is this concept of democracy, freedom to self-govern, non-hierarchical possibilities to rise as far as one's proclivities and capacities permit, the right to do so, unhindered as a human. Call it a striving to become adult. In this arrangement, those who have a talent or are at least willing to engage in a ton of careful congenial arguing and constant repetition of a "message" day after day after day and follow a set of rules for the sake of avoiding unpleasant interaction rise to become successful at politician-ing. That is kind of the opposite of being drunk on power. This process of "serving" can be subverted though, by sociopaths who have learned to fake it and can therefore make it a fair way along in the process.
2. On the other, there is a deep thread in us as humans that wants someone else to make all the hard decisions for us, and for our benefit. Call that a pull toward remaining child-like. But when we were children we had no life skills or power and were completely exploitable by parents/adults for better or worse. If we were and remain fucked up from this and never grew past it or figured out how to contain it safely and responsibly, we are vulnerable to whoever comes by and dangles some sort of "power" prize in front of our noses, in exchange for demands that include harnessing all the fear and anger that accompanies a feeling of powerlessness. At last, we imagine, someone who really knows how to take charge, someone who we can "trust" to move the fucked-up world in a better direction where we won't have to deal with all this raw emotion, where we can deploy it outward, unload it in some collective revenge move.
Pretty sure ALL religions have exploited this since we were ever remotely human. We think we need some sort of "parent" to stay organized, even one we invent who doesn't exist, but we think, hey, let's pretend they do even if only once a week or as many as 5 times a day. Such pretense forces us to make then reinforce links inside our own brains. Presumably, this helps us feel like we are connected to something larger, coheres the troop (remember we are still primates).
A political system that can balance the two is likely the most successful option. Note that I didn't say it was the "best" option.
As I've mentioned many times, Canada still has the queen on our money and a political system that plays both sides. When times are good it's all very democratic and when times are bad we can get substantial lunch money for being good quiet polite citizens. When a pandemic comes along it is mentioned in passing that there will be stern consequences from on high (somewhat murky authoritarian "powers" are available to be deployed if needs be) if we fail to follow the rules. OK, fine. I was grateful when CERB checks came rolling in. They definitely helped massage away the grief I felt about having to accommodate my existence to the new reality.
Recently, a rift in the illusion appeared when Julie Payette (the governor-general of Canada, the queen's rep., our commander in chief, the head of state) resigned, or maybe was forced to resign, because of acting too much like a bossy queen. Like the red queen in Alice in Wonderland. Abusing everybody who worked for her and didn't deserve the abuse. Toxic workplace, we are told. Some sort of governing crisis.
However, there is a backup plan - the Supreme Justice of Canada can temporarily hold the "scepter," or whatever, until the prime minister appoints a new GG. Yeah, the PM does the choosing, and it turns out he did not pick a winner in Julie Payette. So, it's on him, kind of. But hey, if he picks the GG and the queen merely "approves" does that mean he has more power than she does, in reality? Maybe not, if the Supreme Justice of Canada automatically takes the Scepter Of Power and takes a seat on the Iron Throne of Monarchy. I mean, he (in fact all lawyers and judges in Canada) still wear 17th /18th century wigs FFS. They look so odd in their red Santa Claus robes and white curled wigs).
Tradition I guess.
I don't know... the whole deal seems so "oopsie," much like someone's pants accidentally falling down while on stage: it's kind of hard to save face, recover aplomb except through goodwill on behalf of the audience, and its ability to stifle a collective laugh.