Beyond the Blinders of Farrell and Meddings-Smith

Looks like a couple of local Greens, Bruce Farrell and Marlene Meddings-Smith, have taken offense to my particular take on Green feminism and the politics attached to same. The following retort was submitted to The New Glasgow News this morning.

Twenty-eight years ago, three years prior to the importation of Green politics to Canada from West Germany, I found myself sitting in an upper-level women’s studies course at one of the country’s leading universities. Such is where the pursuit and evolution of my political consciousness had landed me. The course was titled “Women and Religion.” The professor was an ordained minister in the United Church. I was the only male in the course. This academic sojourn was followed-up by a further feminist thesis at a post-graduate level, an opportunity offered to me as an undergrad. I believe that I have a fairly decent grasp on the political dimensions of “the Sacred and the Profane” within the feminist cosmos and where and how my motives fit into same.

I offer this historical context not to vainly blow my own horn, but to make the readers of the current exchanges in The News aware of two things: firstly, that when I offer political commentary it is not willy-nilly pulled out of a hat, much like the current generation of Greens resorting to a vacant set of inane principles and group babble, and; secondly, to shed some historical light on the public claim that the Small Party was the predecessor to the Green Party of Canada. To make such a claim exposes either an out-and-out lie or a sorrowful degree of Joan-of-Arc delusion, neither of which I would claim is acceptable.

Over the course of 28 years one grows and evolves one’s perceptions. Loosely identified, these days my relationship to feminism is somewhere in the company of Gloria Steinem. I offer one of her most popular quotes: “We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.” As Ms. Steinem has come under attack from radical feminists for her humanism so, it would seem, have I. I gladly take the philosophical company of Ms. Steinem over that of the Greens, thanks very much.

I would suggest that what seem to be alien to Greens are the principles of choice and merit, in a feminist context, as highlighted by Ms. Steinem’s quote. This is what was conveniently overlooked as the core of my argument by both Mr. Farrell and Ms. Meddings-Smith. One need look no further than the political scam that has been foisted onto Central Nova, the unconscionable purge in the Green Party of Nova Scotia Executive, and the incessant whining of Greens for Ms. May to be part of future leaders’ debates to see how the principles of choice and merit constitute a null in the Green philosophical psyche.

Having overlooked the core of my argument, both Mr. Farrell and Ms. Meddings-Smith locked onto my closing statement: “Soon all that will be left is a stringent, fish-wife feminism blindly cooed over by a gaggle of obedient eunuchs.” By virtue of the indefinite article, what was referred to with my closing statement is the small world of Green feminism, not feminism as a valid social phenomenon, one that finds itself in very dire straights.

It is not my problem if North American feminism has morphed into a daily fix of Oprah’s enablement and Dr. Phil’s psycho-babble. It is not my problem if Greens are still stuck in a time-warp wherein women and men are still seen as enemies, and wherein the burning of a bra is a symbolic gesture of liberation. I know women, both personally and professionally, who find the Green take on feminism to be both pedestrian and offensive.

However, what is my concern, because I have made it my concern, is the inability of a political party to distinguish between affirmative action stacking-of-the deck and non-democratic internal conduct, and the hallowed principles of choice and merit, as recognized by Western democratic process.

As a direct result of the takeover of Canadian Green parties during the nineties by environmental NGO’s, who dutifully delivered the leadership of the GPC to Ms. May, I would suggest that these parties now find themselves in a quandary. The core Green principles of decentralization and bioregions have been gutted from the GPC’s history and heritage as these, obviously, will not do for a centrist, nanny philosophy. The eco-Libertarian, Green pioneers have abandoned the party in droves. The granola demographic of support is about to max out at 10%. Those Green policies that are valid have been, and continue to be, co-opted by every mainstream political hack and party on the map.

As such, the GPC has likely painted itself into a corner where it falsely sees no alternative but to play the feminist card because it is the only one left to it. One need simply take a look at the signal being sent via the orchestrated leadership of Green parties along gender lines. It is, of course, the prerogative of the GPC to go this political route. As it is the prerogative of the Canadian electorate to pass judgment.

The strategic attempt to split the Canadian electorate along gender lines, as a misguided reading of the polls may indicate to the Green intelligentsia to be a worthwhile pursuit, is beyond political folly: it is simply stupid and political suicide. Such effort, I would suggest, is what is really “vile.” The Canadian electorate will not stand for it. The GPC may as well put a gun to its befuddled political brain.

As for my “frenzy” as per the learned Ms. Meddings-Smith, allow me to pre-empt her likely next move for the benefit of the reader. No doubt it will be to pull out the inquisitor’s knee-jerk bully cart and attempt to place me in it. Victims are so predictable. Ms. Meddings-Smith and I, however, do agree on one thing: by all means, I strongly encourage readers to visit either my blog or website.