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OPINION Bill Walton, Enablers

Even feral piglets love and thank their mother for enabling them . . .
20180618 feral pigs walton

Most of us need an enabler: a relative, a mentor, or some organization to help us achieve a level of success (or failure) in life. Acceptance speeches usually thank our mother or father, siblings, or teachers for starting and then supporting us in our efforts. Or blaming them for our failures and why we ended up standing before a court of our peers. No matter how successful we might have been, we did rely on other people to help us.

Some people use others as stepping-stones and soon forget the enablers who acted as rungs on a ladder, discarding them as quickly as they can find a replacement. Others garner enablers by promising them a reward or favour in the future. We all know people who game the system and we either admire them, envy them, or we wonder how the heck they got to where they are with the meager credentials they possess.

How in heaven’s name did Elizabeth Wettlaufer manage to kill so many people and apparently perform poorly in her job without the assistance of enablers? In her case, her enablers were apparently administrators, fellow workers, and a union. At some point, psychiatrists will look into her past for an explanation on what went wrong in her life and find a number of troubling things. For privacy reasons, we may never know what caused her despicable actions but the question we need to ask is what were the problems with her enablers.  Are there more ‘problems’ out there whose deficits are being covered up by enablers?

In the political arena, there are even more examples of enablers supporting bad or poor decisions by the leaders of political parties and organizations. It was very easy to blame Wynne for the mess she and the Liberals made of Ontario finances, but who enabled her? She did not do all this on her own. Her enablers supported her when she (and they) sold Hydro One. The voters who returned the Liberals to power after McGuinty lied to us in his first election, enabled ‘them’ to do all sorts of mischief with gas plants, Green power, and Health. Those enablers are still out there, lurking around Queens Park, ready to stick their hands out for a reward.  Our new Premier will no doubt bring his own enablers, supported by some 40 per cent of Ontario voters in the recent election.

Already candidates for our municipal election this fall are popping up, seeking enablers. Bill and Tanya have each other for enablers but what about the newcomers and repeaters? Some bring baggage with their eagerness to serve; others may again be looking to social media for their enablers. The Taxpayers Association, the media, the bureaucrats at City Hall can all be enablers willing to back a candidate with advice, votes, or financial assistance.

The most obvious example of enablers is south of the border. You may think that Tweeting Donald needs no enablers to disrupt trade, diplomacy, the environmental movement, and eventually world peace, but he has strong support from his enablers. Safely ensconced here north of the yet undefended border, we can scoff at the NRA, climate deniers, anti-environmentally unconcerned coal miners, Fox News, and his greatest enablers, the Republican Party. The world is likely going to pay a price for this #*!@~$. The scary thing is that this may be the future model for government leaders as populist candidates are ‘voted’ into power.

It used to be that a person had to bring some credentials to a job. Now all you need is a quantity of ‘likes’ on social media to be a star. Tell some lies, fake some pictures, throw away any pride you might have had and you can find sex and happiness on the internet – enabled by advertisers who pay for the sites. Shucks, they can even give you new ancestors just by testing your DNA. Contestants in song and dance can be winners by garnering votes from anonymous enablers. Come up with a winning slogan, fool your enablers and you are on your way.

Okay, maybe that was a little cynical.  We Canadian enablers are not so easily duped. Educated and thoughtful, we only enable those who deserve it. Or somebody that offers us a prize of say, lower taxes, cheaper gasoline, beer for a dollar in the corner store, and free tuition and health care. You can’t fool us with fake news and phony promises.

Meanwhile, out in the Florida wetlands, a mother feral pig is doing her best to enable the kids. Little does she know that some fellow has promised to drain the swamp and turn it into a feeding trough for all his enabling friends . . .