One of the more contentious political rallying cries among non-Conservative voters this election has been to hurl obscenities about Stephen Harper out into the void. This raises concerns that civil discourse within Canada is being eroded beyond mudslinging and into immature pettiness.

What is the value of language? If we look at the sentence, “Those fucking lazy Indians wouldn’t be getting murdered if they just got off their asses and got a job!” and compare it to, “One of the major drivers of missing and murdered aboriginal women is lack of economic activity, or simply put, a lack of a job” we can see that one really isn’t much different from the other. The phrasing is different and one is certainly more crass, but the content is essentially the same. In any dialectic, it is content that is most essential.

So what is the content of a “Fuck Harper” slogan? There isn’t any. It’s the name of our political leader with a strong negative connotation attached to it. It offers no reasoning, no evidence, and no point beyond what amounts to a dog growling at someone at the door. The “Fuck Harper” mentality is, at best, feral.

I want to go completely off track here and talk about the Vancouver riot. Remember that?

She really is just mooning the whole world, isn't she?

The ass-shot that lived in infamy.

What a delightful time that was!

Vancouverites were devastated by this riot, and many volunteered to aid with the cleanup the morning after. There were a few reasons given for how a community could riot over what amounts to the wrong team winning on Family Feud, and most of them centred around there not being enough control of the situation. Too many people in the streets, not enough police presence, not enough access out of town, etc. I think there is a better and more simplistic answer available. People riot because they do not feel connected to their community. A riot is an extreme example of this, but one does not set vehicles on fire if they believe they have a stake in the way their society operates. You don’t throw a brick through a store window if you consider the owner of that store to be your neighbour. People went downtown with the intent to riot, and while greater control might have alleviated the damages caused by the riot, it would not have eliminated the intent of the individuals who saw rioting as a meaningful endeavour to participate in.

If people are devastated by the riot and what it entails, the question must become: what caused the lack of community connection? There are several theories for this. Most businesses are not locally owned, so there is no possible way to form a bond with that organization. Contemporary government does its best to exonerate itself from the community by privatizing everything and approaching their constituents with a hands-off attitude. Government is a symbol of community, and if that government does not appear to care about its populace, then community will never be present. There are millions of reasons, but what it boils down to is people don’t care about their communities because for the most part the community does not care about them. This will always have the potential to lead to something violent and dangerous, as the Vancouver riot demonstrated.

Which brings us back to “Fuck Harper.” This isn’t a slogan of activism; there is nothing substantial behind it. It was not created to change anybody’s mind. It is a warning that dissent exists within communities that feel there is no connection between them and their government. You may even disagree with me that neoliberalism is the root cause of this dissent, but you cannot deny the mentality behind it exists as what I claim it to be. The content, which is paramount, of “Fuck Harper” is a country reaching its tipping point. It is a harbinger of resistance, bubbling to a boil beneath the surface.

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