It seems these days that I can’t live without Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, mainstream newspapers, and gossip of the political world. Is it because I have great hope for the future with the refreshing new face of Washington or is it because I delight in the demise of those I disdain? The new politically appropriate word of the day “transparency” dictates that I answer that with a resounding yes to both propositions. I take great delight in the passionate, humorous and unflinching attack on DICK cheney (as a Twitter friend insists he be referred to) because it is a clear road sign that Americans have turned a corner, at least in their dialogue and policy. Like everyone else – mostly Europeans as Cheney so disdainfully points out – I am enchanted with the new possibilities of open societies, stronger peace initiatives backed by indisputable logic and historic evidence, that are on offer from The Hill (not to be confused with The Hills).
I am taken by the American experience and thoroughly mortified by the current Canadian trek. Our own, ridiculously out of touch leader, Stephen Harper, made a tv appearance today basically to announce that Michael Ignatieff, the NDP and the Bloc are scheming to bring back, da da da da (doomsday music in the background) THE COALITION. Oh my God, the Penguin must be lurking behind the dark curtain of their nefarious organization. We are all meant to go running to hide under our venerable Prime Minister’s skirt hems in search of protection from these murky characters, (especially the one who is only using Canada to selfishly further his own personal goals). Protection that only he can provide. Once again, with this announcement, which, with its fact-twisting, brought to mind Cheney’s announcement that water-boarding and other forms of torture had spared thousands of American lives, Harper attempted to deceive all clear-thinking Canadians with obvious falsehoods. If only Mr. Harper could learn to argue the facts, debate the truly relevant and stick to what really matters, our parliamentary system might find a second wind and in that bring back true representation and democracy.
As I write this, in the background, on the television the obnoxious “Why is Michael Ignatieff back in Canada?” ad is playing. I want to throw my keyboard at the screen but I will not let even Harper come between me and the Twittersphere. Harper is, again, playing a game of duck and dive. Sleight of hand, sleight of word and slight of reasonable arguments. I despise his underassessment of Canadians’ intelligence (although their rush to believe that the formation of a coalition between the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc was somehow illegal does give me some pause). I can’t abide his un-truths about changes to the EI system that the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP envision. The spin he puts on his own EI policy leaves me dizzy but not blind. The Tories (and I use the word loosely because I sincerely believe it should still be Reform party) justify their own lack of action to equalize EI payments across the country by suggesting that Ignatieff wants to institutionalize easy, unfettered access to EI by what he implies are people out to leech off the system. Of course, he assures Albertans that they have nothing to fear, they will be looked after. But Ontarians, who unwisely made major contributions to his re-election, they can be ignored. Harper doesn’t realize that the tides of change, brought on by the economic crisis, have opened the eyes of the very people he wants to deny EI benefits to. The promises he made to them, the spiel he spun to win their votes lies dessicated in the wake of his own hypocrisy. As Keith Olberman said to DICK cheney, I reiterate to Stephen Harper ‘And let me again quote Oliver Cromwell to you, Mr. Cheney. “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”’