One of the hallmarks of our modern democracy is that our leaders consult us frequently and vigorously on non-essentials, and try hard to ignore us on topics that really matter.
Do you think we should have a wild rose on our redesigned Alberta license plates, or some other symbol, perhaps a bison or an oilcan? By all means, let the government know what you think. Indeed, they will facilitate the process, running for months a Web page soliciting all our opinions on this essential matter. Stand by for a news release from the government on what we have asked for. (Indeed, the news release production of the Stelmach government since the March election is prodigious. The actual news contained therein? Very little.)
On the other hand, if you think development of the Athabasca tarsands a matter of actual importance to the future of our province, is not worth the environmental risk, well, the government would be just as happy if you’d shut the [BLANK] up, thank you very much! Moreover, they’d like you to know as little as possible about what’s happening up there just in case you might develop an opinion contrary to theirs. (Chinese “guest” workers being robbed blind by … uh … someone. Oh horrors! We had no idea … and neither should you!)
Of course, our modern democratic leaders fear our opinions. So while they strive to keep us in the dark and feed us you-know-what, like the proverbial mushrooms, they also spend a lot of time, effort and treasure polling us to find out what we think. They want to know not just things like do we support public health care – it’s pretty obvious that most of us do – but are we onto them yet. That is, have we figured out what they’re up to (again) in that department? If we have, well, like that previous premier whose name escapes me at the moment, the Third Way gets dropped for a while, until the moment seems propitious to introduce the Fourth Way.
So, in the spirit of modern democracy, I am going to poll my loyal readers about something appropriately trivial, but important to me. To wit, the state of my facial hair. (This concern reflects the times in another way as well: it is thoroughly narcissistic!)
Two weeks ago, in a weak moment, I chopped off a beard of 30 years’ duration. The results were … uncertain.
Alas, my profound hope that my 26-year-old face would emerge was dashed. As a result, I am not sure whether to return to the status quo ante tonsor, as it were, or to go the whole way and remove the mustache as well.
And so, dear readers, I refer you to the poll at right. Please examine the pictures above and cast your vote. Should I leave things as they now are? Re-grow the beard as quickly as possible? Or lop off the sorry mustache that remains?
I promise you this. I will pay serious attention to your vote. And, like Stephen Harper or Ed Stelmach, I may even do what you suggest…
You have until one minute to midnight on Aug. 1 to vote.