Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TM4PM?

A friend of mine invited me to go watch Tom Mulcair speak last Thursday. Having never attended such an event before I decided I'd give it a shot and see once and for all what this orange Kool-Aid tastes like.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sad to report that the NDP Kool-Aid tastes an awful lot like all the other sugary soft-drinks out there.

Let me preface this by saying I dislike all four major political parties, though not equally. The Northern Republicans are clearly the worst but I don't see any other party doing great. There are flashes of competence here and there but far too few in my estimation.

When you can count the number of good MP's in the house of commons on two hands, you know things are bleak.

That's why the upcoming election isn't about picking the best: it's about not picking the worst.

Thankfully I think most of us know who that is.


As we were walking out of the rally I told my friend: "We've given the Liberals and Conservatives numerous opportunities to lie, cheat, and steal from us: now it's time we give the NDP a chance to do the same."

In this vein I'll gladly root for Tom and the NDP.

If that sounds cynical, I apologize. Note that I didn't say whether they will lie, cheat, and steal, only that they deserve a chance to be in a position to do so.

I just can't bring myself to trust a party or candidate on words alone since, as we know, there is no incentive or mechanism in place to ensure they make good on their promises. 

They can literally say whatever they think Canadians want to hear in order to solicit that sweet, sweet vote.

And that's precisely what Tommy did here last Thursday.

Reading his speech off three large teleprompters set up behind the audience, he delivered his empty rhetoric like a good little marionette. With artificial smile in tow he followed the script with the expertise of a trained actor.

...
Who knows? Maybe that was the real Mulcair up there. Maybe he always has speaking notes and teleprompters around so he knows how to say what he means in just the right way.

"Hey honey, are you ready for bed?"

"You know what I'm ready for, honey? I'M READY TO BRING HOPE AND OPTIMISM TO CANADIAN POLITICS! I'M READY TO REPEAL C51! I'M READY TO GIVE YOU CHEAP DAYCARE AND A $15 MINIMUM WAGE! ARE YOU WITH ME? (look at audience)."

The entire event felt so artificial, so disingenuous, so contrived! Afterward my friend looked very concerned. "You seemed like you wanted out of there badly," he said.

Badly doesn't begin to describe it. 

More than anything I wanted to have a shower.

The orange signs, cues to applause, scripted speeches, and feverish zeal made me feel dirty. 

Why can't we have real, authentic people in charge? Why do they have to pander to the crowd? Why do they need speaking points? Don't they know what they stand for? What they'll do once in power? 

Clearly I expect too much from these politicians. I guess I just think we deserve better. No, I believe we can do better.

In any case this doesn't change anything. I still hope the NDP wins, if only so we can say we gave them a shot. 

One last observation. 

Speaking before the main event, MP Randall Garrison had the audacity to say that Mulcair was the first leader to stand up to uncle Steve and oppose C51.

That's rich!

Elizabeth May was in fact the first to publicly oppose C51 with Mulcair coming in a very distant second, but who cares about verifiable facts? It's all about one-upmanship and the art of spin. It's not about what happened but what you can convince the public happened. 

Is it just me or does it seem like the NDP is taking a page out of the Northern Republican playbook here? 
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