Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Let the nail biting begin

My first exams of the year are almost here (one tomorrow, one on Friday) and I am feeling that impending pressure of still having quite a bit to memorize (thanks Team Medical Dragon...). My professor today offered this inspiring bit of last-minute advice:
To those of you who have been working hard all along, I'm sure you'll do fine. To those of you who have not... I'll see you soon.
While I most certainly have stepped up my prep (contrary to what you might believe), it still haunts my waking life that somehow I might walk into that exam room and know nothing... walking out with that infamous "yellow-sticker of death".

In other news, today the Star rans some comments from readers in response to the (potentially life-threatening) vandalism against Liberal supporters the other day. I found this comment particularly poignant:
I'm not surprised that anti-Liberal vandalism is taking place here in Canada; only that it is so malevolent. I moved here from the U.S. a few years ago partly because I wanted to live in a free country again; instead I found that Canadians had seemingly grown as weary of democracy and civil rights as Americans. Our Bush Lite prime minister looks to the south for role models, mindlessly imitates our failed American anti-crime policies and monkey-see, monkey-do Canadians are going to give him carte blanche to continue ruining Canada's reputation abroad and eroding our civil rights and social safety net. While I was in the States I had anti-Bush bumper stickers, and my tires were slashed four times. It stopped when I removed the stickers. Many Canadians don't bother to vote, just like Americans before things got really bad. My Canadian friends, you really are no different from us.

Nicole Chardenet, Toronto

It was an interesting comment comparing citizen attitudes between Canadians and Americans, given how prone we are to looking down on our neighbours to the south. The sentiment was echoed today in spot-on editorial:
The Liberal leader may be the smartest guy in the room, but he's the invisible intellect.

His low wattage can't compare to the lightning bolts coming from Sarah Palin, who electrified a nation until she started flaming out. Canadians snicker at America's celebrity culture for worshipping the likes of Palin and George W. Bush, who shamelessly play the anti-intellectual card. We shake our heads at a political culture that emphasizes negative advertising and character assassination.

But we Canadians are conflicted – if not hypocritical – about our own politics and politicians. Here we have a serious party leader offering serious policies on, for example, the environment. Yet we're dismissing him the way Americans dissed Al Gore.

Voters seemingly lap up Conservative disinformation and character assassination. We lapse into easy prejudices about Dion's personal idiosyncrasies, even though his values and policies more closely reflect majority Canadian sentiment. And we give the steely-eyed Harper high marks for "leadership," while ignoring a personal political agenda, never hidden, at cross-purposes with this country's ethos.

I admit Dion seems a dweeb (defined in the dictionary as a studious or boring person). Like Al Gore, before he won a Nobel Prize.

Get over it, Canada. We need to look beyond personalities and ask ourselves not just what we want in a politician (brains plus charisma) but what we need from our politics.

Who can provide integrity and empathy? Economic growth? Stewardship of our finances? Movement on the environment? Safeguard our social programs? Protect Canadian culture?

Canadians feel trapped between a Prime Minister they distrust deeply and an opposition leader they disrespect deeply. So far, opinion polls suggest voters are favouring the ├╝ber-politician over the anti-politician.

And choosing sweaters over satchels. We may regret the missed opportunity.

1 comment:

sandlot said...

You have an exam tomorrow. I'm watching you study. I love you. I'll give you a sticker. A gold star sticker. I won't disclose where I'll put it though. Heh.