Lately I’ve been receiving a barrage of emails from the incumbent civic party reminding me how wonderful food carts and backyard chickens are. Also: send money.
The latest arrived just before Easter, that geegawed Rite of Spring, the festival of rebirth and renewal.
A self-deprogrammed “Polish” Catholic I may be, but the faith has long and tenacious tendrils –like a freakishly oversized and invisible Portuguese Man-of-War. Over the weekend I was stung by a confessorial nematocyst, if you will.
For the record, I last attended confession on Holy Thursday, 1982. As I recall, I confessed to a priest that I had borrowed a move from Onan’s playbook and the subsequent barrage of creepy questions regarding my motivations set me promptly on the path to atheism.
But there’s something that’s bothering me –bothering me enough to make me want to end my long confession-free streak. Something for which I am profoundly ashamed. For the good of what I could describe as my soul, I feel the need to confess this transgression, and I feel its necessary to confess specifically to you. Just so we’re clear.
In the 2008 municipal election, I supported Vision Vancouver.
By “support” I don’t only mean that I voted for them –although I did that, too.
I bought a party membership.
I attended several fundraising events.
I volunteered to call potential supports to secure their vote.
On the eve of that vote I went knocking door to door in my neighbourhood.
I wrote a cheque to one candidate in particular for an amount that was –given my circumstances- pretty generous.
At a gathering I hosted to mark what became the occasion of Barack Obama’s election as President of the United States (the subject of a separate confession), I actively solicited my friends to lend their support.
And, yes, I voted for them.
And I attended the victory party. It was there, on the first night of the new regime, that I had an inkling of my moral error: I didn’t like the crowd, a bunch of corporate squarejohn types; the political clichés rang pretty hollow; and, it dawned on me what a bumbling speaker the newly elected Mayor was –a graduate, with honours, of the Paul Martin School of Oration.
I had believed them, and that was my sin: I was naïve, a sucker, willfully ignorant of the face of power and its proxies.
My support is long gone, and only the emails remain. They serve as a kind of scourge and a reminder that I need to atone.