I began to distance myself from the left about 5 years ago. There were three reasons why.
#1) I witnessed their racism towards black conservatives.
#2) I observed their contempt for the working class.
#3) I saw how vicious, mean spirited and unkind they were to anyone who thought for themselves, outside of leftist orthodoxy.
I had a shitty childhood but there are things I am proud of. My father immigrated to Canada in the 1970s and assimilated to Canadian life, quickly, learning English, buying a barber shop with the little he had, working 12 hour days, 6 days a week to feed five people.
He wasn’t always a good man, still isn’t, but he came from nothing, and did something with his life. More than I can say for most people these days who whine and complain at the tiniest inconvenience, myself included.
My father had no formal education, didn’t even complete grade school because he was raised in abject poverty, lost his father to tuberculosis when he was 10 years old. Lots of trauma. I know that’s a word people throw around a lot these days, but it used to mean something.
My dad didn’t have enough money to send me to university so I had to apply for student loans. What he taught me as a kid was invaluable. It was simple: think for yourself, don’t take shit from anyone and work your way to comfort, security and stability.
It’s because of him that I had the drive to finish school, travel, pay off my student loans, save enough money as a down payment for my first apartment.
I worked since I was 16. No job was too small. I worked at Tim Horton’s, as a produce clerk at a grocery store, the university library, a gas station, a factory making car bumpers, Thrifty Car Rental, you name it, I did it. Yes, often I was around individuals who I didn’t like. They were crude, crass, rough, and sometimes I was afraid of them.
But for me, there was never any shame in being working class. The working class taught me the value of a dollar, of work, of capitalism.
Here I am right now at the cottage, living a pretty luxurious life because I made smart choices.
I’ve always said that the smartest people in the world are barbers and bartenders. Not all, obviously, but if you listen to them, you’ll find they are wise.
The one thing, out of everything my dad gave me was pride. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’ve invested wisely, and I am comfortable. He is not a perfect man at all, but I am proud of what he accomplished, too.
I guess in the end it was for his kids, though he had a funny way of showing it.
It’s important for me to note that my dad wasn’t and still isn’t all that great also. He fucked up his kids bad. He’s racist, and homophobic. Like the real definition. Calls black people niggers and gay people faggots and doesn’t want them in his house. I don’t like using those words by the way. I write them in their entirety here to make a point. They are awful, disgusting words used to demean people.
There was various levels of abuse in my house. He taught us to fear adults, because he beat us when we did something he didn’t like. I’ve written about all of this before.
People are complicated, complex creatures. There is good and bad in all of us. It’s not so black and white. I live in the grey zone, a lot.
I remember that all I wanted was for him to tell me that he was proud of me. That never happened, but something more special did. I learned to be proud of myself, to find pride in what I accomplished.
I think more people who came from working class roots should reflect on where they were and where they are and take a moment to let that all sink in.
My dad is 66 now, owns the same barber shop he bought over 40 years ago, works 12 hour days still because he likes it.
That’s not very glamorous I know. But it’s the life he knows, and the one he is comfortable with. For me, there is a certain beauty in it.