It’s my birthday (sort of)

I celebrated a birthday earlier this week and in the Soapbox household birthday celebrations go on forever. Which is why there is no blog today.

I’ll be back next week. In the meantime I’d like to leave you with a thought. This comes from an interesting new book called Bucking Conservatism: Alternative Stories of Alberta from the 1960s and 1970s which argues that grassroots opposition to conservatism has existed and continues to exist.  

The book describes the contributions of “defiant radicals, rabble-rousers, and heretics” who were able to make change because they had like-minded people around them.

It urges us to find our people, build our community and organize in solidarity with others, in order to “break down the myth that living in Alberta means [we’re] resigned to a past and a future of conservatism.”

The thought cheered me immeasurably. I hope it inspires you, my community, as well.


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44 Responses to It’s my birthday (sort of)

  1. Dawn Friesen says:

    Birthday wishes to you. Cheers! And thank you for the inspiring and optimistic recommendation for reading. We need optimism in building our community – we are not resigned to what is.

    • Thank you Dawn. I just ordered Bucking Conservatism from my local bookstore. I’ve got an online version but when I’m reading a good book I like to make notes in the margin. I’ve done this for years. It drives my husband bananas!

  2. Duncan says:

    Happy belated birthday,Sue!
    I really enjoy reading your blog every week. Even occasionally makes me think the ones running the circus out here in Fruit and Nut land north aren’t that bad, sort of.

  3. Greg Spaetgens says:

    Hi Susan, a belated happy birthday to you. I look forward to following up on the literature you have mentioned. Cheers.

  4. says:

    We wish you a very Happy Birthday!


    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Michael Klein says:

    Ever hopeful Happy Birthday indeed!

  6. Terry Korman says:

    Happy Birthday Ms Susan-on-the-Soapbox!

    May the best of your past
    be less than the worst in your future,
    and many returns of the day …

    And upon your marking days
    (and for all that you bring to the world)
    a thought (or several :~):

    Earth Laughs in Flowers!

    What lies behind us and what lies before us
    are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
    The purpose of life is not to be happy.
    It is to be useful, to be honorable,
    to be compassionate,
    to have it make some difference
    that you have lived and lived well.
    To laugh often and much;
    to win the respect of intelligent people
    and the affection of children;
    to earn the appreciation of honest critics and
    to endure the betrayal of false friends.
    To appreciate beauty;
    to find the best in others;
    to leave the world a bit better
    whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,
    or a redeemed social condition –
    to know that even one life has breathed easier
    because you have lived …
    THIS is to have succeeded.
    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882
    (with some questionable – and creative, attribution)

    Happy trails,
    and may the journey be loving and long …

  7. Sandra Hamilton says:

    Happy Birthday and thanks for re-igniting my hope and resolve Sandra Hamilton Sent from my iPhone


  8. Donna Horvath says:

    May I copy and share.

  9. Carolyn says:

    That is, indeed, a ray of hope. Let’s find our people!

    And HAPPY birthday.

    Cheers, Carolyn

    On Sun, Nov 28, 2021 at 7:24 PM Susan on the Soapbox wrote:

    > susanonthesoapbox posted: ” I celebrated a birthday earlier this week and > in the Soapbox household birthday celebrations go on forever. Which is why > there is no blog today. I’ll be back next week. In the meantime I’d like to > leave you with a thought. This comes from an interesti” >

  10. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I hope you have a Happy Birthday! Here’s the thing. We had a type of Conservative government in Alberta for decades, and it was called the Social Credit Party. It was an intense brand of Conservatism, and was the forbearance to the Reform Party. Peter Lougheed wanted to do away with the Social Credit Party, and their backwards thinking. Peter Lougheed was more of a centrist, forward thinking and practical type of Conservative. He was concerned about all Albertans, the environment, infrastructure, healthcare, education, and the province’s financial well being, hence the creation of the Heritage Savings Trust Fund. After Peter Lougheed ceased to be premier of Alberta, Alberta once again went backwards with the Alberta PCs, and with the UCP. Peter Lougheed wasn’t satisfied with Ralph Klein either, and I don’t think he’d be impressed with the UCP either.

  11. Carlos says:

    Happy Birthday Susan – we must be just days apart
    Mine is on the twentieth

    • Carlos, you’re just ahead of me on the zodiac. I decided to look up our signs (not that I put any stock in this stuff). Apparently I’m “mutable” (Sagittarius), whereas you’re “fixed” (Scorpio). God only knows what that means but one thing is clear, we share many of the same political views.
      Hope you had a lovely birthday!

  12. Vickie Argals says:

    Happy birthday Susan.
    And thank you.
    I’m glad to be part of the “defiant radicals, rabble-rousers, and heretics”.
    Makes me feel a bit less like I’m yelling into the void…

    • Vickie, I’m honoured to be a part of the “defiant radicals, rabble-rousers, and heretics” in the province. We will continue to make our voices heard until we change government in 2023. Then we’ll have a big party and once that’s over we’ll push the new NDP government to deliver on the promises they’ve been and will continue to make. It will take a lot to rebuilt, but we can do it.

  13. Survivor says:

    I’m wondering if there isn’t a basic cruelty, psychopathic aspect in our premier. This goes back to his religious, college work to deny supports for those dying of AIDS of which he still seems proud of. Caring for the weakest among us defines us. JK seems to only care about the rich and the powerful.

    • Survivor, I’ve asked my friends who are specialists in mental health the same question because Kenney’s behavior seems extreme even for those who profess to be true blue Conservatives. In the end I fall back on something I learned from an industrial counsellor who provided psychological advice to business organizations. He said it doesn’t matter what drives a person, all we can do is judge their behavior and if their behavior is lacking sometimes the best thing to do is part company with them. It was good advice for the workplace. It is equally good advice for our governmental representatives.

  14. GoinFawr says:

    Susan and Carlos:
    Happy Birthdays to you both!

  15. Carlos says:

    Trying a second Time to post

    I believe this book is right at least where it relates to the failure of opposition parties to grab the provincial support. I find that political parties especially the NDP have done a very poor job getting those of us in the trenches against the miserable Conservatives, to join them and participate.
    The Alberta Party is a very good example of that failure.
    Political Parties in Canada in general are only active during elections and once that is done they could not careless about the supporters except maybe for those who are directly involved in the door to door business. There is a very poor osmosis between supporters and the caucus, which to me translates into thank you for the ride but from now on it is our way or the highway. Parties lose their legitimacy and support as fast as the wind changes. Furthermore that lack of idea movement between the top and the bottom accelerates and people get discouraged and stop participating.
    People are only part of the party if they serve it, otherwise you are not important.
    That is a big mistake but it is part of the process in our political system. Almost like temporary contract while the election is on. After the election, one gets bombarded with requests for donations and that is the extent of one’s involvement in the party. Summarizing, there is no party life whatsoever.
    Politicians seem to be ok with this very tenuous relationship because unfortunately all they want is to be in power. It is a boss/servant relationship although they all make amazing speeches thanking the servants. I am no longer a servant. I actually try my best to kill this system. I cannot see we being able to solve the problems we are facing with this kind of political system.

    • Carlos, you raise a very interesting point. I’ve heard various politicians talk about the importance of staying connected with supporters throughout each election cycle, not just during the run up to an election. I’ve seen the NDP do this somewhat, they’re out there door knocking and they’re certainly fund raising to beat the band. I’m not plugged into the UCP so I don’t know how this works in that party, but if Drew Barnes and Todd Loewen are correct, then the UCP is not doing a good job of connecting with their constituents.
      In any event, it would be good if political parties held more town hall meetings and small group gatherings as a way of reaching out to their supporters and gettig their input. Hopefully this will be something they’ll consider when we’re past the worst of covid.

  16. Carlos says:

    I can venture to say that political reform is our priority right now because otherwise we keep falling from problem to problem without much of a resolution.
    We see the example of climate change – whatever we are doing is failing because we have one party (Liberals) which believe in climate change and the Conservatives who do not know what they believe on and which only purpose is not to participate in the political process but to oppose it – well how is that going to fix the issue? Can anyone see this kind of system being productive other than to whoever created it? Climate Change cannot be dealt with by this kind of political garbage. We are in the 21 century and we have to move our brains forward. We are not dealing just with abortion or financial issues, we are disrupting the main arteries of the planet, we are polluting the water we are made of and the air we breathe and we will destroy our species PERIOD.
    We have to wake up of our Brain Stuck aloofness disease and move fast.

    • Yes, Carlos, I agree 100%. Political reform should be our priority. The power of a few to dictate the agenda for the many–I’m thinking of broad support for climate change but only so-so support from the UCP and the federal Conservatives as an example–show how important political reform is.

  17. Carlos says:

    One of the great consequences of this blog is the fact we can circulate information between us.
    I just recently watched a documentary titled ‘H2O the Molecule that Made US’ created I believe in May 2020. You can google it you will see right away. I got mine from the library and I think every one of us should watch that series of 3 episodes. A lot of new stuff on water and life that is fascinating and it clearly shows what we need to do if we care about more than just being wealthy regardless of what we are doing to ourselves.
    I would say that at the end of that series you will have a different concept of water and the importance of it for existence. I do not mean just the sadness of what is happening but also an uplifting feeling of hope because we know what is going on. We know what the first steps are if we want to become sustainable. I do hope if you see it, you enjoy it

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: Happy belated birthday to you. There still are people who do not understand that water is the most crucial thing for all life on this planet. Without it, we cannot survive.

      • Carlos says:

        Thank you Dwayne – I did not mean to make my birthday but after reading Susan’s post I thought we had the same birthday and I mentioned it.
        Yes I believe that most of us believe that water is the fabric of live but also most of us have this disrespect or better we take it for granted and do some horrific things.
        That is the reason why I think that this series will for sure change or add a lot of a different perspective that I think it will surprise you.

  18. Carlos says:

    Susan I tried to enter this post as a reply to your comments about our birthdays but it was not working so I enter it here as a separate post

    Susan, thank you and yes we share many of the same political views but despite the fact that I am more radical than you does not ever stop the dialog and great conversations because we are both good democrats. I think that is the most important of all political expressions and in my opinion the only base a true and free society can prosper.
    Democracy is being challenged not just by outside tyrannies like China and Russia but by our own politicians especially the Conservatives.
    It is that dual respect to discuss and get better at understanding other views is what makes us not just Democrats but human beings. I thank you very much for allowing us every week to comment on your excellent work and have some side discussions. This is what we need in our society if we are going to save this planet and reinvent politics for a new world.
    I do not know the reach of your blog Susan but I think that it is already something I have to do every week and I have to try to post useful thoughts. It is important for many of us people that enjoy a good respectful conversation.

    Happy Birthday again

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