We listened to this endlessly when we were little tots. Strangely, my eldest brother was named Peter, and the sourpuss who couldn’t quite get the flying thing was ceaselessly exhorted to “think lovelier thoughts, Michael”, that being the name of my other elder brother who, being analytical from a young age, tended to express rather cynical thoughts on many scores. So over at The Tyee, Bill Tieleman posted a piece in which he points out that, upon meeting some political foes, he discovers that they have some common likes and that they might be human just like him and that perhaps we ought not to demonize these folks.
Perhaps demonize is a little too strong a term for what needs to be our outlook and how we ought to guide our actions, but a quick scan of the misery and misrepresentation spread by Jim Flaherty, I find that a shared liking for the Group of Seven isn’t enough to want me to treat him particularly kindly, that his behaviour is any more worthy of compassion than petty thugs (who at least can often plead need for their predations, or impulse). There is such a litany of double-dealing, prevarication, greed and grand larceny on the part of so many politicians, and so much of it fits a recurring pattern that belies the possibility that simple stupidity might be at the root of these misdeeds, that it seems difficult to avoid concluding that these folks have knowingly and intentionally engineered schemes to redirect public funds into private pockets and then to smile and cook up a wealth of rationalizations and justifications to cover their real intentions.
Therefore, we needn’t demonize these people: they’ve done that by themselves and anyone who treats them with deference and respect is putting on a display of connivance, or complacency, or ignorance, or some combination of the above. We might want to keep this little quip from Charles Dickens in the back of our minds as we deal with the current régimes in Victoria and Ottawa (and beyond):
I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don’t trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance, any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it.—Charles Dickens