This may be the greatest poem I, or anyone, has ever written. I wrote it for the anti-Harper facebook group Stephen Harper Poems, where I was the conservative poet-in-residence. Sheer propoganda – I even worked in Harper’s primary election message, that he stands up for the people who “work hard, pay their taxes, and play by the rules”. For authenticity points, I tapped it out on my cellphone in spare moments at work. It’s more than a little snippy, but hey, at least I didn’t call anyone fascist for increasing arts funding insufficiently.
People like to say Harper was divisively making a play for the votes of a particular section of Canadian society at the expense of a group unlikely to vote for him. Considering that he was painted as such for a general increase of arts funding it seems to me that the pointy edge of this wedge we hear of actually faces the other way. What really bothers me about it is that there are people who work brutal jobs in the oil patch – away from home a week or two weeks at a time – and their tax money goes to fund artists doing work that they don’t value and that for many people is a hobby they’d like to have more time for. I don’t care to cut arts funding, although I think there’s a lot that could be done to improve it. But even considering the point of view of that guy in the oil patch is automatically “divisive”.
That guy gets the short end of the stick in Canada every time.
“works hard” Steve they’ll be floggin’
they live in channels straight and narrow
blind hostile to neighbor harrow’s
call classic liberal evil monster
needed foil to the Good People
he honoured Dalai to Stronach’s sigh
“play by the rules” and no one gets smeared
now wonderin’ just what’s so progressive
’bout paying for Statements
with my labour’s sweat
and livin’ off middle class “pay their tax” fascists.
Say come to Alberta, welcome able body
Try a hand with your hand
Try labourer’s sweat
Make a working man poetic
Say skip The Dialectic!
Taste the other narrative
And then make comment