I hate it here - Shawn Loughlin editorial
On social media, the most trustworthy and encouraging place on earth, there is a thing that people say (type) when they come across something so absurd that it defies human logic. “I hate it here.”
Now, this isn’t meant to imply that I hate it here - which would be the complete antithesis of the “Thanksgiving” column I started writing on Friday but - clearly - didn’t finish. (Even after a rather challenging long weekend from a parenting perspective, I love my life and my family very much.) Having said that, there are some people who make me really hate it here.
The other day, I watched a recommended clip from CTV News for me. It was Vladimir Putin ridiculing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government over the whole Nazi debacle. Now, I’m not going to stick up for anyone involved in that situation. Having said that, I’m not sure that Canada needs to hear from Putin on, well, anything. He is as close to a murderous dictator that we have had in a while and yet, right there in the comments section, people are lauding Putin.
Of course, I know that many of these love letters to Putin are from Russian social media factories, but, no doubt some of them are coming from hardcore F Trudeau-ers right here in Canada, pounding on their smartphones in between angry spittle wipes, gun polishing sessions and organizing charter buses to the next 1 Million March 4 Children.
Not that you would read this column, but if you need a little convincing that Putin is a scumbag, watch Navalny, the documentary about Alexei Navalny, the man who has run against Putin and now sits in jail after surviving an assassination attempt from Putin and his goons. Aside from Putin’s efforts to get rid of Navalny, there’s lots of great stuff in there about randomly arresting people for nothing that might make you think twice. And, if you need a lot of convincing, find the video of Putin’s repeated unsuccessful attempts to put on a hockey helmet. That’s your hero.
It’s just another example about how distorted the minds of some have become. Because they were so dug in against taking a vaccine, they will now celebrate the words of a terrorist and mass murderer just because he’s making fun of someone they like to make fun of.
The way that we’re turning inward and eating ourselves has always reminded me of “The North Wind and the Sun”, one of Aesop’s Fables that’s recounted in the television show, Mad Men. Essentially, the North Wind and the Sun compete in a test of strength, both working to remove a traveller’s cloak. The Wind blows and blows and blows, only to see the traveller clutch his cloak tighter and tighter. Meanwhile, the Sun simply shines, turning up the heat on the traveller, so he takes the cloak off himself.
Brute force, sure, is a way to destroy, as we see increasingly more every day. However, if you can persuade someone to do something themselves, that can be the true show of force.
What has been going on with Russia - its work on social media, meddling in elections, disinformation, etc. - has been the work of the Sun. Putin isn’t rolling up into Canada with soldiers and tanks, he’s tricking people into siding with him for one reason or another, getting them to do his bidding for him.
These last few years, to me, have shown a tremendous failure in our education system finally playing out in the real world; a space in which it’s so easy to trick people who are angry and easily manipulated. The unfortunate thing is that I don’t think anyone will like the circumstances if they get their way and they might not realize just how good they had it.