Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Power September 4, 2012

Filed under: Commentary,Literature — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:14 pm
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Power will also end up with the sort of people who crave it.

Orson Scott Card.  Ender’s Game NY: Tor, 1991. p. 239

People who crave power, ensure they get it eventually, in one form or another. Be it business or politics, if they have the desire for it, they will make it happen.  One hopes that with the desire for power is an instinct or training for leadership as well.  Fair leaders with wise attitudes are rare, I think!  (Though I have come across many quite impressive leaders in schools over the years).  Benign dictatorships are the most effective governments for a reason.  Most people can’t be bothered with all those fine details.  I often wonder if the heinous voter turn out in the US elections relates to the sheer volume of things on their ballots?  How can Joe Everyman possibly make informed decisions when voting for everything from president to dog catcher, and complex referenda?  It would require far too much research! It makes me glad that we don’t have this system in Canada.  Sometimes excessive democratization of decision making is anathema to intelligent decisions!  Joe Everyman generally will not have enough facts to make a sensible choice, and if he’s voting based on looks, popularity, or the dollars spent on spin, he is unlikely to get the best leaders, is he?  One hopes power isn’t purchased, but is earned after demonstrating prudent wisdom.  But when you consider that “cream rises to the top,” remember cream is really just fat. What’s floating at the top isn’t necessarily what’s the best thing for your long term benefit.


i choose April 28, 2011

Filed under: Commentary,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:40 pm
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I choose

to believe.


I choose to believe

that my one vote

can make a difference

like a single pebble


to the edges of a still pond


I choose to believe

that my choice

provides the fuel for the future,

that in exercising my franchise

my small voice resonates.

I do not have to stand

in the street and shout

to make my opinion heard.

I walk into my polling place


and cast my vote fearlessly.


I choose to believe

that my vote matters.

I choose to believe

that leaders want to govern


that they care about the people

they represent,

that they want to make a difference.

I choose to believe

in the hope of a better tomorrow.


I choose to make a difference.

to be a pebble in the pond

of democracy,

and so

I vote.



young voices April 27, 2011

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:52 am
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I’m feeling hopeful that things are changing.

The Powers That Be don’t try to attract the youth vote, because they say youth don’t vote. I’m a little confused about that, because I voted when I was a youth, as did my friends.  My students all seem very excited about the possibility of voting as they leave high school. So what happens? What makes them drop out of the voting process?
On Facebook right now there is a status floating around that goes, “Out of 23.6 million electors in the last election, only 5.2 million voted for Harper’s Conservatives. That’s 22% of eligible voters, and 16.2% of the total population. There are 5.65 million Canadians aged 18-29. In the past, this age group has voted so little that politicians don’t bother with them. If all of Canada’s youth voted, they would rock the whole political system!”
I didn’t check the facts before I reposted it, but I like the message. The youth have power, if they choose to use it.

Somewhere else I heard, “You wouldn’t let your grandparents choose your music, why do you let them choose your government?”  😉  I like that one, too.  It appeals to that rebellious streak in me.

I decided to conduct a little poll on Facebook. Most of my Facebook friends are former or current students, so I asked,  “Are you voting in the federal election?” Over 84% of respondants said either yes or that they would if they could.  That’s a positive situation that doesn’t seem to echo what the government believes.  Of course, my highly scientific poll was a rather small sample (13 total) so perhaps it is meaningless.  I choose to believe it shows that within my circle of influence, at least, young people want to have a voice.

We all need to contribute to the exercise of democracy.

Over the years I think I have voted for every party from Reform to Green. I tend to study the candidates and choose the one that seems most intelligent and well spoken, as opposed to the one who is most likely to have his/her party form the government. My husband doesn’t think this is very strategic, but I try to believe in the power of my one vote.

Voting is an exercise in hope. We trust that we will have a government that listens to us and makes wise decisions. Most of the time, we’re pretty lucky, compared to most places in the world. I like to think that’s because we’re watchful. Young people on the other side of the world are dying these days to get the right to have the government of their choice.  I hope our young people take advantage of their franchise, and don’t let their grandparents make the decisions without their contribution.


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