I came across this quote today:

‎”We’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit.”
— David Suzuki

While I assume Suzuki’s comment is directed towards environmental efforts, I couldn’t help but think that it applies to all Canadian politics.

Social issues are often thrown around the House without much weight. You can see it in the eyes of some politicians when they stand and declare their stance on whether the group of people that would benefit from a policy or service deserve it enough to pass it through. People hop back and forth and draw out the debate without thinking about the consequences. There is no sense of immediacy. The proposal is often chewed up and spit out without making the issue human – if it were seen as having a human face, chances are this would lessen the debate.

Rather, debates on social policy have become this kind of dance, similar to the crowd in the clown car switching their seats as it sends the passengers rushing towards their fate. Is it best to sit with those who optimistically decide to turn the car in a new direction, or those who think the effort is a waste of time and money, and so keep the car heading straight towards the brick?

In discussing social issues,  few are truly listening when someone suggests the car should turn left or right. Everyone else is too busy switching seats to make a decision, and so the wall hits and everyone suffers; it’s too late to do anything, and the damage has been done.

 

There’s a big debate going on at Carleton University right now surrounding the Pro-Life clubs on campus. To sum it up quickly, there has been a motion put forward to ban clubs like Lifeline which use (in my opinion) inaccurate, triggering, and ignorant material to promote their anti-choice views.

While I would certainly vote for banning discriminatory and oppressive material on campus, I also understand the club’s right to freely defend themselves to ensure a fair vote by the student body.

What really bothers me is the media coverage surrounding this debate. Not only do right-wing media outlets like SunNews (and previously LifeSiteNews, until they corrected their publication), spell the name of the university incorrectly, but they also are combating the issue with the same tactics they find problematic.

In response to this video on SunNews’ website, I wrote:

“I would like to point out a few errors with this video.

First, Carleton is spelled correctly within the video itself, thanks to information provided by students, however SunNews has spelled it incorrectly in the description below the video. 

Second, I find it comical that this discussion aims to criticize Carleton University for asking “leading” questions, when throughout this clip, and numerous others on your website, your reporters and broadcasters engage in blatantly biased dialogue. 

Perhaps SunNews needs to fact-check both its material and its presentation of information before publishing, broadcasting, or criticizing other organizations for holding or promoting an opinion (unless, of course, SunNews would like to acknowledge its own politics).

Regardless of the controversy surrounding this debate, it is a shame that in SunNews’ efforts to promote their own right-wing agenda, you neglect to at least do it accurately.” 

I would also like to point out that one of the leading headlines on the SunNews page is “GOSSIP MAKES US STUPID?”

Sigh.

Reflecting on 2011 is by no means a strenuous task. It wasn’t a particularly difficult year, being that there was no major crisis or horrendous misfortune thrown my way (thankfully). I worked two to four jobs at a time, and seemed to balance an active social life and numerous extra-curriculars while still having time to either eat or sleep.

It is reflecting on where I have been and what I have done to help guide my next steps that the annual end-of-year anxiety kicks in. This is especially heightened by my (hopeful) graduation in April, which will be throwing me out of the comfortable bubble-wrapped answer of “Well, I’m a student,” to the worst question ever, “What are you doing with your life?”, and into the (gasp) real world.

I am far from traditional (in the words of one of my more conservative friends, “Layla, you will definitely live an… interesting life”), but I’ve never really understood the whole pouring one’s soul out on the internet for all to see thing, or the competition that seems to be growing for generating a virtual audience that you don’t actually know, but who somehow have the right to get to know you. However, I am beginning to realize that in order to survive in today’s society, one most brand oneself into a neat little package for all to consume.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I should try to a) condense my life into something understandable, or at least rational, b) learn to describe myself, my goals, dreams, desires, and experiences in 140 characters, and c) invest in a smart phone that all the cool kids have had for a few years now. Then, you take all that and spew your life out into the Twitterverse and see who bites.

But branding myself is more than what it would cost ($17/year) to turn my blog from laylacameron.wordpress.com, to laylacameron.com. (And still being on a student budget, I can prolong this added expense until someone else buys the rights to that web address and the opportunity is gone).

The challenge for the last four months of my undergraduate degree may just be to try to narrow my lists, clean up my life, and present it in one tidy portfolio to the world (while keeping my marks high enough so that grad school is still an option). I need to figure out who I am exactly. I need to pick and choose which causes I can throw my efforts behind. I need to learn how to properly work a calculator and figure out how I’m supposed to pay rent and utilities to avoid contributing to the statistics about university graduates who move back home.

Perhaps because I am a commitment-phobe, or perhaps because I can never seem to value one item on my bucket list over another, or maybe even because actually working towards something tends to remind me for some sick reason of my own mortality (another fear of mine), this task of branding myself and narrowing my vision for my future has been overwhelming and has led to a lot of procrastination and stress-induced naps. There has been a lot of list-making and internet-searching, but I still have yet to make the roadmap towards some kind of destination. Do I go to grad school? How do I pay for grad school? So I should work. Where? When? How long? Screw it, I’ll travel. Where? When? How long? I should do school first. Maybe I should just write.