The Rhinoceros Party was a testament to the power of ridicule in the political process that we seem to have totally lost in this day of “political correctness”. Today, it seems impossible to have any sense of humor in public life without terminal consequences to your life and career. Why have we become so pathetically accepting of a trend that “beautfies” reality and suppresses the one attribute – humor – that can reduce our tendency to take ourselves debilitatingly seriously all the time. Humor promotes humility, and we certainly need a great deal more of that in public life.
Time to revive the Rhinoceros Party.
The Rhinoceros Party was a registered political party in Canada. It was born in the 1960s and continued through the 1980s. It started with a French-speaking group but soon became the party of a ridiculous, but poignant, counter-culture in the Canadian political world. It was an effective fob to those who took politics, and themselves, too seriously. Its influence and longevity were testament to the public’s yearning for a more reasonable, sensible, and productive system of governance. A balance we are chronically short of today.
When asked by a reporter what the party platform consisted of, one of the leaders said “a plank of wood three feet by six feet”, which gives you a sense of the Party’s perspective.
Here are some examples of the written platform promises the party espoused:
- Never to implement any campaign promises.
- End crime by abolishing all laws.
- Put the national debt on Visa.
- Store nuclear waste in the Senate: “After all, we’ve been storing political waste there for years”.
- Eliminate unemployment by abolishing Statistics Canada, thereby eliminating the bureaucrats that measure unemployment.
- Repeal the laws of gravity.
- Make the Canadian climate more temperate by tapping into the natural resource of hot air in Ottawa – the seat of government.
- Declare war on Belgium because a Belgian cartoon character, Tintin, killed a rhinoceros in one of the cartoons. And then:
- Offer to call off the war if the Belgium government delivered a case of mussels and a case of Belgium beer to the Rhinoceros “Hindquarters” in Montreal. (The Belgium Embassy in Ottawa did, in fact, do this!)
- Instituting English, French and Illiteracy as Canada’s three official languages.
- Abolish the environment because it’s too hard to keep clean and it takes up too much space.
- Annex the United States as a third territory of Canada. (The party actually ran a candidate for President of the United States at one point).
- Tear down the Rocky Mountains so the people in Alberta could see the Pacific sunset.
- Provide higher education by building taller schools.
- And many, many, more perfectly reasonable ideas!
The party won some seats across Canada, and had enough signatures to stay on the Government’s official party-eligible-to-submit-candidates-for-political-office list for many years.
Long live the Rhinoceros Party and all it stands for. I recently wrote a blog on resurrecting the Northern White Rhino. Time to turn our efforts towards doing the same thing for its namesake political party.