Positively Ridiculous Day

news-of-the-day-for-september-13-2016I hereby declare September 9th Positively Ridiculous Day in Chatham-Kent. Today people can be as silly as they want to be and no-one will care. I promise.

And so it is with Positivity Day, the unofficial day (no Municipal dollars spent) to wear your best smile. The other 364 days of the year you can be a realist and get away with it. Chatham-Kent Councillor Darrin Canniff, also the Chair of the Prosperity Roundtable, whose aim is to reduce poverty locally, wants CK to see the upside by spearheading efforts to bring a global Day of Positivity here. Some real-world results have taken shape due to Positivity Day in the form of a free community BBQ on the parking lot of the OPP detachment on Park Avenue on September 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Spare Change and canned food donations for the Outreach for Hunger will be accepted at the Chatham-Kent Fire Service, the Rotary Club of Chatham, Real Canadian Superstore and at Tim Hortons. The United Way is exchanging coffee for your gently used coats during the same hours on McNaughton. In Wallaceburg a flash mob is planned for the Wallaceburg Wolves baseball game at Kinsmen Park for 6 p.m. A lecture takes place by Dr. Lalit Chawla at the Capitol Theatre on the power of positive thinking, doors open at 5:30 p.m. and it’s free. All good.

Given this is Positively Ridiculous Day, it’s time to look at the silly. Canniff also co-produced a series of videos that depict a live-action cartoon character called Captain Positive who is essentially tasked with taking on his nemesis Negative Ned. The videos have been panned by many on social media, including myself. While the videos themselves are a farce, they are supposed to be cheesy. That’s the draw to them, well, supposed to be the draw. Where Positivity Day gets ridiculous is in expecting taxpayers to feel positive for no reason at all. It’s ridiculous to think those seeking economic relief from under or unemployment, depression, illness, addiction and other problems should “think positive thoughts friend” and they will magically be better off. They know better. They also know when their problems are being trivialized.

It’s ridiculous to expect poverty is taken seriously when Canniff makes videos that offer no path to prosperity other than to tell you that you already have it. For our local neighbours and friends who look to hope from those accountable to reduce poverty, the message is clear. Just be positive! What the videos didn’t say is “you are on your own”, except to the people who need help. For every person who needs that food and money from the Outreach for Hunger, they will still have that need quite independent of how positive their outlook is. For those who received nothing but need some help, the message is “smile, you’ll feel better”. They promise.
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