Tag Archives: Politics

Fat and Me.

I have been obsessed about my weight for sixty years, since the age of 7. In my political and work life, I worked hard at pretending that my size was irrelevant.

Two instances have led me to finally talk about my size. As you know, I had difficulty advocating for a CTscan for my husband who was losing a lot of weight. I felt that I wasn’t believed by the doctor because I was a fat woman worried about my husband who was not overeating. This may not be true but it is how I felt. It did not come out of nowhere.

A surgeon refused to fix my hernia that was the size of a basketball unless I lost weight. As usual, no suggestions on how I would do that. The wonderful surgeon who eventually fixed my hernia and twisted bowel during emergency surgery has told me to come to her as soon as the hernia reappears. Three years and it has not.

Fortunately my husband did get the CTscan, unfortunately his weight loss did mean that he has cancer. Thank you for all your prayers.

Secondly, my dear older daughter’s post was taken down on a feminist progressive Facebook site for saying a cartoon of a very fat Trump was fat shaming. People have also complained about Anderson Cooper calling Trump an obese turtle. The point being that rather than talking about Trump’s many nasty faults, people laughed about his big stomach or big butt.

It is of course not just Trump who is called out for being fat. Stacey Abrams and other female politicans have had their share of fat shaming.

For me, the first instance of fat shaming as a politician occurred when I was a school trustee on one of the first chat rooms about education during the Harris years. A man on that board posted a picture of me where he had photoshopped me fatter than I actually was at the time. The idea being, I suppose, that if you are a fat woman, your opinion means nothing.

The second instance was at Regional council when we were approving the extension of Westmount Road from Lakeshore to Beechwood. A delegation called the road “My (Jane Mitchell’s) big fat road project.” Behind him, one of his supporters called out “Why don’t you try walking!” Fortunately Angela Vieth, now a long time Waterloo councillor, pointed out in her presentation for the road that she often saw me walking.

Overall, though I know people comment about my weight behind my back, I went on to become Chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority and a long time Regional Councillor and people generally listen to my views.

Like smoking, taking drugs and alcoholism, there is a difference between making fun of a problem and working with compassion to help people solve it. I well remember how funny Dean Martin was in the 60s as a drunk, and the slapstick of drunks falling down. You don’t see that anymore.

I was skinny until I was 7 years old. We moved to an apartment while waiting for a new house to be built. Less exercise and I suddenly developed an appetite. It was the 50s, my thrilled mother gave me two hamburgers every lunch and I quit ballet when a little kid said, “Look at the fat dancer.” The lifelong struggle began.

In my teens and twenties, I was slim but I did not know it. I could have slipped into anorexia. I thought I was fat after my second daughter was born, but I wasn’t. I jumped on the scale three times a day and tried every weight loss scheme going. The weight loss industry made thousands off me. What did I learn? Diets make you fat. It is very difficult or impossible to lose weight. Please don’t tell me to push away from the table or take up running.

Obesity is an epidemic in North America. So is type 2 diabetes. Everywhere we look there are cheap high fat, high sugar and high salt foods, the triple threat humans are designed to crave. Our cities are built for passive car driving rather than active walking and cycling.

I have had a lot of stress in my life, from family members with epilepsy, parents with cancer, to the good stress of politics. Dear departed Mayor Lynn Woolstencroft once told me that many Mayors and senior level politicians become alcoholics. Some of us eat.

I continue to struggle with my weight, but I am working on a new change. Lifestyle. Retired, I am walking the dog, learning piano, writing and taking a diabetes course from the YMCA. Lots of at home exercise ideas in this time of COVID. This means accepting my body as it is.

I have learned from my daughters not to jump on the scale and to enjoy a new lifestyle. This does not mean that my own daughters have not struggled with body image. That is our society. I worry about my 7 year old granddaughter when she wants ice cream with her pancakes, yet she is thin and bounces on her exercise ball, not a care in the world. I don’t want her to grow up worrying about her weight and how she looks.

When I talk about stopping the fat shaming, I am not asking you to be politically correct. It is like Trump telling Laura Ingraham she was being politically correct for wearing a mask. I am asking that people be civilized and try not to hurt other peoples’ feelings.

As the meme going around social media says: Be Kind.”

Some good resources about women’s body image and fat shaming.

Fat is a Feminist Issue: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/468872.Fat_Is_a_Feminist_Issue

The Beauty Myth: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39926.The_Beauty_Myth#:~:text=It%27s%20the%20beauty%20myth%2C%20an%20obsession%20with%20physical,impossible%20definition%20of%20%22the%20flawless%20beauty.%22%20More%20Details

When You Talk About Donald Trump, Every Fat Person Hears You: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/anderson-cooper-donald-trump-obese-turtle_n_5fa5a221c5b64c88d4005111?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003&fbclid=IwAR0m6NV6VO9IJPcyq4BPKP0vEiSLvABjGMmVaLOCFRlDONyziienN9ms4fE

The Left Has a Fat Problem: <a href=”https://medium.com/@thefatshadow/maralard-ss-and-the-lefts-fat-problem-4dc57c498252″>https://medium.com/@thefatshadow/maralard-ss-and-the-lefts-fat-problem-4dc57c498252</a>

How to Torpedo Your Chances of Getting Political Change.

A great post I saw on Facebook over my objection to a truly awful, sexist comment against one of our local female columnists was one that suggested using Clippy in Word to warn a writer:

hilltodieon

As a politician, I deal with angry people all the time. Anger can be good. It tells you something is wrong. It gets people advocating and politically involved. It’s how you channel and work with that anger  that makes the difference.

First, do your research. Let me say that again, “Do your research.” Maybe what you are enraged about is not true. Maybe the issue is already being worked on. Maybe there are very good reasons it is not being addressed. Maybe what you want interferes with the life of everyone else. Maybe what you want is a good way to go or even necessary, but people are happy with the way things are.

What are the reasons people and politicians don’t agree with you? It’s not always obvious. For instance, cyclists ride on the sidewalk because they feel (and frankly are) unsafe on busy roads. Pedestrians dislike cyclists on the sidewalk because they feel unsafe on the sidewalk (One of my dogs was hit by a cyclist as we were walking on the sidewalk). This can come out as, all cyclists don’t obey the rules of the road.

So you have done your research and you have good reasons for your cause. Your opinion is not everyone’s opinion. You have arguments and solutions to counter why your change can’t be done. Now you are ready to figure out how to present your arguments.

We live in a democracy. Do you know how important a free press is? Look at the Arab spring. The dangers of climate change. The local Uniroyal water scandal in the 90s. All covered by the media, both social and traditional. It’s not idle chatter that people are concerned with the shrinking of the local newspapers and the loss of investigative journalism. There are reasons why journalists and bloggers are jailed and killed. They expose the truth.As the founder of the Toronto Star once said.”The role of the journalist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”  They create discussion.

The Oxford English Dictionary says that the two swearwords that begin with a “c” and a “n”, are the most offensive at this time. You are trying to get the press onside for your issue. Swearing at a journalist, belittling them, saying negative things about them on social and other media does not help your cause.Don’t be personal, stick to your issues. Other people you want to support your cause are listening.They may belong to the racial, sexual or income group your words attack. Some of them are the people who can make your change. I’m talking about politicians.

Let me emphasis again: In a representative democracy you want to convince politicians that your cause is right. Like the media, politicians are people. We are your neighbours, your friends, family, co-workers.We pay taxes. You and your neighbours elect us. We aren’t aliens or nobility or dictators.

It does not help your cause when you swear at politicians, shout at us, call us names. Do not say that we are on the take with the other side or feeding at the trough. No matter the party or if I agree with them, almost all politicians I know at whatever level, are, yes, honest and there to help their community. Why would you do this if you are trying to get someone to support you and invest a lot of money in your cause?

In Canada, we do not have a bribery culture. It is very rare. All politicians ask for when they fund or support your cause is a handshake, an invite to your opening, a thank you, and a picture for their constituents. Yes we like positive publicity. People need to know what we are doing for us to get re-elected!

A comment on my objections stated sarcastically, “Oh dear, you have lost a politician as a (Facebook) friend”. Because, you know, elected politicians are bad.  Is that really a good thing when you want us to support your cause and listen to what you have to say?

And by the way, if you don’t like what politicians are doing, make sure you vote in the next election.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I’m Running for Re-election.

A constituent was worried because my press release mostly states my qualifications for my position, as most press releases do. Here is a paragraph from another blog that really hits home for why I am running.

You should run because you wish to serve your community, to provide good leadership, to plan and build for the future. You should run because you have a contribution to make, ideas to be shared, passion that won’t abate and a commitment to do the right thing no matter what. You should run if you understand that you will have to sacrifice popularity and family time, and that you will have to sometimes make decisions that benefit the community as a whole but don’t benefit you personally. You should run if you want a better future for your grandchildren, and your grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Wow.Pretty much sums up why I do what I do.

The two links below are to a couple of very good blog posts,the first of which had the above quote.

http://danikloo.com/2013/09/23/five-terrible-reasons-to-run-for-municipal-office/

http://danikloo.com/2013/10/01/six-awesome-reasons-to-run-for-municipal-office/

 

Hello On-line Voting, Good-bye Secret Ballot

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump vote at PS 59 in New YorkSo according to some, I am a Luddite because I oppose electors voting through their Smartphones or computer. Nope. I have no problem with electronic voting. My problem with on-line voting is the end of the secret ballot.

The secret ballot was first introduced in the 1850s in Australia, then spread to the United States and Canada. Before the secret ballot, voters had to declare their vote publicly. Fights broke out and voters were bribed or paid for their vote. A man might not vote for the man of his choice because his employer could know.
It is interesting that with the coming of the secret ballot, the number of people voting did drop. But for what reason?
Sasha Issenberg in the Atlantic suggests it was due to the reduced social pressure of neighbours not knowing if a person voted.Abolish the Secret Ballot

What has this to do with on-line voting?
On-line voting involves a person using a pin number to enter the voting system on-line and cast their vote. The problem is not with the security of the computer system or the Smartphone (Hello Blackberry, the secure Smartphone). It is not even that someone could gather pin numbers and vote instead of the particular voter. That could be solved with a thumbprint, face recognition, test question or other methods.
It is the simple fact that a person can look over the voter’s shoulder or at their computer screen when they are casting their vote.
This means that, for instance, in a home, all members of a family could be forced to vote and vote a certain way by the member of the family who rules it economically. (I am trying to put this in a way that is not sexist or culturally insensitive)
Voters could be gathered together by an employer or landlord or powerful politician and made to vote a certain way. The bribery and fights would return. Elections could be sold.
And yes this is also possible with mailed in ballots that are becoming popular in rural areas.
If you don’t think this could happen today, I have one word for you, Robocalls.
The only way at this time to prevent abuse of the vote is to have people go to a polling place and vote in the privacy of the voting booth.
Do we want to increase people voting at the expense of free and fair elections? I vote “No”.

Voting in Early Canada

Ignite Waterloo: Great Topics in 5 minutes

Ignite Waterloo holds presentations on any topic with 15 slides and 5 minutes. The last one was at the Children’s Museum on March 3. The next is July 7th. For more information go to www.ignitewaterloo.ca.

If you are like me, and uber busy and can’t go, videos were taken of each presentation and they are a blast.

Here a couple of them that are loosely to do with municipal affairs. They will lead you to the others, like the one about the Evolution of Sex!

How to Change a Politician’s Mind.

In a Roundabout Way

Policing in 2009

Nudging People Onto Bikes in the Age of the Automobile  Shows the Bike Couch! I rode that once in a commuter challenge!