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Canadian Rapture – by Simone Gritty

HeavenlyBilboard

I know that I’m courting a heretic’s death by declaring that I have had a vision, one equal to any that the Prime Minister of Canada may have been graced with.

Under a lowering sky, I saw a voluminous campaign tent which had reared up over the buildings on Parliament Hill, obscuring their neo-Gothic spires under a pall of camouflage grey. Only the shadows of the people within were visible, as their vigorous dumbshow played out on the billowing canvas walls. They were mobbing and throttling something beneath them, and all the while a voice of uncanny measure and control urged them over and over to “Shrink it down so that we may drown it at last!”

My vision misted over then and instead of the tent I beheld a billboard so high that I could not see over it, and so wide that I could not see past it. I felt dwarfed by this giant illustration of Paradise, one so very like the heaven pictured in the old Watchtower magazines.

As its colours blazed out at me like the proverbial Hawaiian shirt, I recognized it to be a great sign indeed, full of meaning and portents. By it I was given to understand that for the tent people on the Hill, this kind of buttoned-down suburban garden party devoid of shadows and dirt, this then was their Paradise and ultimate goal. In it every animal is brought to heel, every insect eliminated and all of the earth’s bounty yields itself up for the eternal consumption of the saved.

And like a landscape illuminated by lightning, I saw all that this heavenly ideal implied.

It explains why it is now open season on the environment and its champions, and why there is a scorched earth approach to Canadian energy and resource development. Because the tent dwellers on the Hill are destined for life everlasting in heaven’s gated community, and the conflagration of the second coming will stop at those very gates, leaving them unsinged and triumphant. I am not a member of their exclusive country club and most likely neither are you, since their membership is capped off at 530,000  souls.

With paradise beckoning furiously, it’s no wonder that the radical right treats this world like dirt, and that ecotards like me are considered to be just so many obstacles on the way. In their eyes I’m lousy with sins, which are as follows: I commit sociology hourly, I refuse to spit in the face of the crucified thief and I won’t equate poverty with a moral failing.  Oil will never be my Eucharist and if the universe unfolds as my government wills it, one day soon I will sink up to my neck for all eternity in a lake of burning bitumen, choking on my last meal of neonicotinoids and dead bee husks.

Now of course I’m taking liberties when I portray the Canadian far right as colossal tools-of-the-lord, baring their crackling taser teeth at all comers before cleaving the foe in two with a flaming sword. But I trust that you won’t take me seriously as a full-on demonizer, certainly not in the metaphysical sense of demonizing.  Still I must insist on calling them the Antigovernment, because of their fervent pursuit of the public bad. They like to skip the Golden Rule, our Ironman triathlon of moral development. The rule is a challenge that crosses faith barriers and is as universal as it gets. Yet the radical right has a lengthening record of refusing to identify with others.  Any universal kindness that they’re forced to countenance in this country, health care and the like, they do with their noses firmly held in a vise-grip.  No less obvious is the pride-writ-large in their rigid division of the world, between those that partake in the oil Eucharist and those that don’t, between the saved and the lost.

The pride, the leapfrogging of “do unto others” and the claiming to be God’s elect, all are faults that humanize the powerful few, they are but poor forked creatures just like you and me. If we want to act on their object lesson and the spectacle of their political folly, then we have to assume an onerous civic duty today, and resolve to usher the radical right out of the corridors of power in Canada. Once they’re safely turned out and restored to plebeian life, I for one will embrace their befuddled humanity with tears of relief and the keenest of joy bursting my heart strings. Yes, it is possible to enlarge a garden-variety human heart to that degree.

Simone Gritty is an ecotard who writes like the devil and lives under a rock in central Canada. She is a proud descendant of the infamous Simon Girty.

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