Sunday, February 7, 2016

The #kudatah will not be televised

Kudatah hoonta leader George Clark, standing up to the soshulizums. (Source: VICE)

I'm sure most politicos have seen this by now, but the 'kudatah' phenomenon is absolutely hilarious.

And it isn't just for the amusing spelling mistake. The 'kudatah' or 'kudetah' (I've seen both) is an actual movement going on, a push by right-wing crank George Clark (not to be confused with Greg Clark) who is also known for being a serial purveyor of strange 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon-style conspiracies involving the Notley government, Facebook lists about how to 'resist' the evil socialists, and posts about how Notley is personally killing off Alberta's avian population.

The kudetah plan is a strange, obscure thing involving "plebiscite powers" and petitions to the regal representatives. His Facebook post detailing his plan is a wall'o'crazy, and it is simplified if you read VICE's article on the movement. Essentially, he plans on collecting signatures in the effort to use an obscure election law to defeat some legislation of Notley's government, the carbon tax or Bill 6 or whatever, and if that isn't recognized then he will use some sort of clause to force the NDP government to resign. What clause George won't tell, but oh boy will he ever use it!

At its core, the idea is basically to collect the signatures of, what, 80,000 people according to Clark, and use that to overturn a government elected by some 600,000 people. And if that doesn't work, well, uh, Clark will magic the government away I think. Makes as much sense as anything else he says.

The VICE article is just one example of the many media profiles about Clark, from the National Post down on to local papers like the Taber Times. All this attention has lead to an outsized presence and reaction to a fundamentally undemocratic movement and plan that has little basis in reality.

Still, the attention is legitimizing an illegitimate idea. There are businesses in Alberta that are putting up Clark's ramblings in the storefronts, and that is horrifying. Sure, I doubt most business owners and people even realize that Clark is proposing a kudatah, most probably believe it to just be some basic petition to let Notley know they're unhappy, for which they have every right to be. 

But the angered masses will have to wait. The original date for the kudatah was February 9th, though signature collection has been extended to March 8th because, well, he wants to do a victory lap first. I guess that means its going well.

Or, well, given the angry reaction Clark has to practically everyone on Twitter, maybe not.

Yes, it won't work and Clark's secret kudatah clause is make-believe. Yes, every government has these weirdos that come out of the woodwork with crazy ideas about how get rid of them outside of an election. Yes, there will be a lot more silly misspellings and nutbar postings and we'll all have a good laugh at Clark's expense. Heck, check out if you need a chuckle right now.

But there is something very disturbing about the idea that this movement has gained any traction whatsoever. While it is nowhere near as potent as Trumpism, these reactionary movements seem to be popping up everywhere lately. It took barely a day for the first anti-Trudeau pages to go up, and they're constantly fueled by extremist media sources like The Rebel, just as Clark's movement is. Let's not even get into groups like PEGIDA Canada, whose vile racist tone, however denied by organizers, is chronicled by groups like ARC weekly.

Was it always this bad, and the internet has just amplified it - or are people really turning to unrealistic, half-baked movements and communities like these? Why are they? Do they not believe in elections anymore, and do they hold disdain for democracy itself because they know they're in the minority?

The unfortunate thing is how they're roping in people who are probably just frustrated with the government, but not part of the true-believing fringe that Clark represents. I'm not calling those people crazy, but their presence does legitimize the crazy.

Well, at any rate, currently the kudatah is just an interesting sideshow and it will stay that way, eventually petering out. The thing about delaying the kudatah is that the longer you go, the more interest wanes. Sure, the true believers will stick around, but they'll be pretty lonely at the end of the day, with nothing to show for it but their limp petitions in hand.

However, it does make one wonder where these people come from and where, when Clark's putsch fails, they will go next.

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