In watching the opening ceremonies of the Parolympic games I couldn`t help but truly be inspired by the athletes and the dedicated supporters, one by one courageous Olympians entered the stadium, men and woman from countries far and wide, some teams as small as one man one woman, to see these hero`s high fiving the spirited children lined along the gauntlet, clearly that was a defining moment for me.
Wheelchairs rolling in, missing limbs, sensory impaired survivors, no, that`s not quite correct, there were no survivors in our stadium tonight, there were achievers, men and woman striving for excellence, athletes of the highest caliber, bright beaming smiles who seemed as fascinated by us as we by them, beautiful souls with the inner desire to be noticed, I didn`t see any handicapped athletes,I saw the never say never attitude, I saw friendly cockiness and one upmanship displayed as the two ladies told the history of the Paralympics, the mention of three world records only to have 21 medals tossed back at her, brought a smile to my face and it`s been a while.
Walk a day in their shoes or should I say a day in their wheelchair, I spent half a year rolling, vision-less in one eye plus a few other little problems, nothing compared to the inner power displayed by the thousand plus athletes in our stadium tonight, perspective I have, perspective on many levels and that`s where this story goes sideways for me and I would like to share some personal thoughts.
The cheering crowd at our stadium tonight, I am sure there were thousands of volunteers, dedicated friends and family who are all too familiar with disabled children, wounded veterans, injured workers, accident victims, and I could sense that the cheering crowd believed we are a caring giving nation, that we have unlimited resources dedicated to making life easier for the less privileged, the autistic, the sick, the elderly, look at us, look at us Canadians we are a special breed of care givers and love and treat all equally, and I cast no aspersion to the thousands of volunteers, helpers and contributors who dedicate their lives to the betterment of others less fortunate, for I too have given less than is required, slowly even I will make amends.
Friends, I am not the forgiving type, fool me once shame on you, fool me a hundred times shame on me, these thoughts, I can`t keep these thoughts contained, writing, well attempting to write has been very therapeutic for me, let rip the emotions rather than bottle em up and have them destroy me from the inside out.
The camera pans the crowd, close ups of beautiful smiling children full of innocence, natural smiles that compel a smile in return, more cameras panning to bright eyed volunteers, dancers,singers performers, who shall I concentrate my gaze on, you can`t watch everything, no one can see all the moving parts in isolation, and maybe knowledge is dangerous, there are times when ignorance is bliss, imagine not knowing, no cares, no worries, a comic book life with a fairy tale ending.
Then the wretched camera, the hideous device that takes my spirit for a ride, brings tears to my eyes and in a blink it`s gone, VIP section, very important people, masters of the purse and destroyers of life and ignorance was never my strong suit, red mittens and blood stained hands, I can`t help but think about playgrounds with no funding, autistic children denied the best early intervention that does make a difference, a madly clapping man who cheered and waved, a man who has denied money for Special Olympics, denied money for cerebral palsy programs, a man who could give children insulin pumps but has chose not to, and those emotions start to build inside, anger first turning to sadness and ending with disgust, the pure hypocrisy of our premier, the unmitigated gall to stand and clap with those stupid red mittens while only yesterday another $120 million dollar subsidy to the oil n gas sector was announced, two more years of massive subsidies to the banks worth $375 million dollars and a new tax break on vehicles over $50 thousand dollars, strip funding for the neediest while gifting fortune to friends, it ruined the moment for me, a cruel premier, do any of these special athletes know, does the world know, do all those other countries know that the minimum wage has never been raised by our premier,despite housing, food, fuels almost everything doubling or more in price over the last decade, are they aware we lead Canada in child poverty for 6 straight years going on 7 years, does the world know or care how our premier treats seniors in care, or how our hospital waiting lists grow and grow while the premier beats the drum to sell our precious health care to wealthy Americans, those damn red applauding mitts covering hands that tore up the contract of lowest paid workers in health care and fired 9000 female workers, and then the camera pans back to those beautiful smiling children and the roller coaster ride continues.
Gordon Campbell, a premier who everything he touched turned brown and wilted, from schools, education, healthcare, a man who cares not for anything, whose every move is political, cold calculated, designed to confuse obfuscate and take from the weakest amongst us while rewarding his class, a premier who only yesterday got caught trying to extort $26,000 dollars from the last of our great war veterans, and it`s times like these that I wish I truly was ignorant and had a chance to enjoy bliss.
The Straight goods
Cheers-Eyes Wide Open