Kevin O’Leary

So, Kevin O’Leary has decided to compete for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, and thus come at least one step closer to being voted Prime Minister of Canada. And the prospect of this scares the bejesus of me.

In a previous post, I mentioned O’Leary was quoted as saying it’s “fantastic” that a handful of the super-rich have the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the planet, as “it gives them (the poor) motivation to look up to the one percent.” The reality is, we aren’t looking up to the one percent; we’re grousing about their lack of any feeling of social responsibility, and unwillingness to share. Apparently, O’Leary has never heard of the concept of giving back to the community. Also, has it occurred to O’Leary that a lot of people who didn’t inherit their wealth came by it by–oh, how should I put this?–less-than-legitimate means? Oh, and just because it isn’t illegal doesn’t mean it isn’t immoral. But I’m guessing–in the minds of O’Leary and his ilk–the ends justify the means.

I’ll take this moment to predict that if O’Leary ever becomes Prime Minister of Canada, he’ll make it easier for the rich to get richer, and much more difficult for the poor to get ahead financially and in terms of opportunities open to them, and he won’t care if the rich give to the community. He’ll also make it easier for the rich to stay out of prison if they commit any crimes, while making it harder for the poor, and other marginalized folk, to get justice of any kind. In short, if Kevin O’Leary ever becomes Prime Minister of Canada, the rich will be further rewarded for being rich, while the poor will be further punished for being poor.

I understand Kevin O’Leary is only part of the problem, and is yet another result of a system that perpetuates kyriarchy. He is also part of a larger trend towards keeping kyriarchy in place, for the benefit of a few. Also, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s just being obtuse about the whole situation; unfortunately, that obtuseness has the potential to cost millions of people–and cost them dearly.

Natsukashii Revisited: Trump and Beyond

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. Within twenty-four hours, people marched on Washington, D.C., and in cities all over the world, to announce to President Trump, and the world, that we stand for human rights, diversity, inclusion, and progress.

We must, however, realize that these issues go beyond Donald Trump.

Within the race to fill the leadership role of the Conservative Party of Canada are individuals like Kellie Leitch, who wants newcomers to Canada tested for ‘Canadian values’–which she has been quoted as claiming are conservative values, though not everyone in Canada is conservative. And Shark Tank judge Kevin O’Leary is now running; he has been quoted as saying he wants to, among other things, make unions illegal, saying, “Unions themselves are borne of evil.” He has also been quoted as saying it’s “fantastic” that a small percentage of people are wealthier than the poorest people, saying, “It gives them (the poor) motivation to look up to the one percent.” Very promising potential future leaders of Canada, indeed.

Trump, Leitch, and O’Leary are part of a recent trend towards leaders and political candidates wanting to turn the clock back to a time that never really existed, a time where everybody supposedly ‘knew their place.’ The presence of these folks, and others like them, is a reflection of the desire of a portion of the general population to live in a world without political correctness or left-leaning social justice, and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is a manifestation of the current attitude that ‘political correctness’ has gone too far and things need to go back to the way they supposedly were. In short, the people who willingly buy what the likes of President Trump, Leitch, and O’Leary are selling cling to, and benefit from, the status quo, even if it doesn’t work for everyone.

President Trump is also a manifestation, and a symbol, of a larger culture of entitlement, a culture which fosters, among other things, vitriol against left-leaning social-justice advocacy and activism and a desire to uphold the status quo simply because a small portion of the human population benefits from it. This culture of entitlement encourages kyriarchy–white supremacy, xenophobia, classism, patriarchy, jingoism, heteronormativity, cissexism, ableism, etc.–and bigotry.

I’m fully aware this problem goes beyond North America. All over the world, there are people who are afraid of change and will fight tooth and nail against it, because they think the status quo is better, or they think some period in the past was a better time, and the world needs to return to that time, even if it never existed in reality. President Trump, Leitch, and O’Leary cater to these people, and play on their fears to get votes and whatever else they want, and the election of Trump as the 45th President of the United States is very encouraging to them. However, if this trend of electing people with a serious case of natsukashii into positions of leadership continues, the world and all of its inhabitants will suffer.