Cheaper than a ticket to a haunted mansion, less dangerous than juggling chainsaws, more powerful than a protest march, Canadians are giving themselves a vicarious thrill and getting all goose-pimply over the outcome of the upcoming federal election.
It’s understandable really – nearly everyone loves the thrill of the roller coaster… the heart stopping terror of the horror film… even the naughty pleasure of imagining themselves to be an entirely different person - the kind who with a sociopath-like consciencelessness does whatever it is they want with neither thought nor concern for the ones trailing behind. Or worse – has the crust to suggest they possess the necessary gnosis to decide what’s right, and perhaps more worryingly, not right. For everybody.
Because what other reason - besides scaring themselves silly for the thrill of the experience - can explain Canadians considering the notion of extending the right wing agenda north of the 49th? A Conservative (slash Alliance slash Reform) government represents membership in the Coalition of the Willing. We’d be extending tacit support to a President who just the other day denied the findings of the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission (which after exhaustive study was unable to come up with a single creditable link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda) with the rationalization that there was a link between Hussein, Bin Laden and Al Qaeda because there IS a link between Saddam etc, etc. He must have an instinct – maybe a feeling… possibly even an inkling; he must have. Because he offers precisely no proof for this conviction whatsoever.
I don’t know how so many of us are finding it so easy to ignore what we used to know to be true: that the far right wing of the Conservative party – a disturbingly large, distressingly angry group of people – if given support and representation would finally begin to demand all those things they used to demand before they were within voting distance of 24 Sussex.
The lid has been pretty tightly fastened down on those voices, with only a few squeaks and squeals escaping over the past few months – and doesn’t that worry anybody? This is the party of homo-hating, abortion-denying, immigrant loathing individuals whose marked silence says more about getting in than getting real. It should be remembered that the ‘Paul Martin Supports Child Pornography’ (cute little question mark notwithstanding) memo-sending, Ralph Klein (bless his cotton socks for telling the truth!) “We’ll wait ‘till the election is over, then overhaul Health” announcing, agenda concealing party was just a very short while ago, scrabbling and scrambling for simple legitimacy. And voters, pissed off with the sponsorship scandal – a gold-plated, diamond-studded gift if ever there was one – are willing to roll the dice and pray that that party doesn’t exist; that the reasonable-sounding one fronted by the reasonable-sounding guy (that they don’t have anything specifically against at this precise moment) will show the handful of Liberal cheats and creeps who created the scandal under a different Prime Minister altogether that they mean business.
I’m not suggesting that Paul Martin is perfect – or that there aren’t enough rotten apples within the Liberal ranks to host a well attended Wormapalooza – just that their agenda, imperfect as it is, isn’t based on hate and fear – not to mention the distinct possibility they’ll find a way to tinker with Charter of Rights outside of the courts.
The world needs Canada. It needs our peacekeeping skills, our ‘sober second thought’ reputation, and possibly even our boring, trying-to-find-the-middle-ground mentality. It needs our balance. And by veering to the right, the scales threaten to sway in a very dangerous direction indeed.
We need Canada.
Get your thrills at an amusement park – but politically, let’s get off this crazy ride.