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Friday, October 29, 2010
Scary, Scary, Scary (not because it's Halloween).
Before I lived in Toronto, I was in Fairfax Virginia for less than a year. During that time, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, and many of us thought things would be taking a turn for the better. Now, I live in Toronto. If I were still residing in the Washington DC area, you can bet your boots I'd be attending Jon Stewart's and Stephen Colbert's mock political rally tomorrow. After all, some of us have to stand up as Americans and prove the rest of the world wrong about the nutty Tea Party. Maybe Glenn Beck wants his America back, but despite the current mess, I think mine is much better.
But, Nava, you left. Yeah, I did. I have my reasons, but they really don't mean a hill of beans in the face of America reaching yet another frightening turning point with Tuesday's mid-term elections. And, Canada's political machine, such as it is, follows in the footsteps of the United States. This past Monday, the city of Toronto elected a new Conservative mayor who sounds scarily similar to an American Republican. Prime Minister Stephen Harper may think he's doing a "heck of a job", but in fact, he's ruling the greatest kingdom of obfuscation since Henry VIII's wives all started dying. North American politics has become more frightening than the all-time scariest movie (in my opinion), The Exorcist. Every time I see Prime Minister Harper on television, he has that look of depraved indifference that could mean his head is going to start spinning around, or he might be plotting the mysterious demise of some of his cabinet ministers.
In the US, John Boehner, and his perpetual day-glow orange tan, are on the campaign trail with a boner the size of a flag pole. I cannot even begin to imagine that man as Speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi turned out to be an unequivocal disaster, and I do believe Congressman Boehner has even less brain cells to rub together. On the other hand, some political pundits believe that a Republican House might benefit the US right now. If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you; and it's not the Peace Bridge.
Canadians are worried about the impact this election will have on our economy. There was a story on CBC's The National this week about how heightened security measures have all but neutralized NAFTA, bringing cross-border commerce to a grinding halt. It has become so difficult to get Canadian goods into the US that some manufacturers cannot afford to keep trying. I'm not referring to BlackBerries and hockey pucks; I'm talking about goods that keep both countries humming along without any of us giving them a second thought: things like caster wheels and other machine parts that most of us wouldn't know what to do with unless we held advanced degrees in engineering. Those are the people who are suffering - big time.
Regardless of what happens this Tuesday, there will be a segment of North America that will not be happy with the results. This is the very first time in my life as a voter that I will be missing a significant election. My vote didn't help elect the guy I thought would have made a pretty good mayor of Toronto, and the absence of my vote will not stop the narrow-minded and ignorant from attempting to "take back America". I feel like I've had my arms and legs chopped off.
"Yes We Can" was the rallying cry America responded to a short 2 years ago. On Wednesday night, President Obama was made to eat those words on The Daily Show by saying, "Yes we can, but not in 18 months." The American people don't want to hear that. As a dual citizen, I'm not crazy about it, either. But, what choice did we have? I'm not saying Barack Obama won by default; historically, change does not happen overnight. The events that bring about change tend to happen in the blink of an eye, but dealing with the fallout can take years. We got ourselves into some pretty big messes, and it's not fair to think one man can just snap his fingers and right them. We have to take responsibility for ourselves. Americans and Canadians both.
If anyone reading this is near the DC area tomorrow, go to the rally for me. Do an expat American a favour. There's a free Blackberry in it for you...NOT!