By G.D. Maxwell
I have seen the error of my ways and I am ready to throw in the towel. A political junkie since the Kennedy-Nixon debates brought politics to television, Ive had enough. Heard enough. I am ready to forsake the intrigue and fevered pitch of the political arena and give myself over entirely to reality television, cheap trashy novels, processed food and a world view so circumscribed it doesnt quite take into account even Squamish or Pemberton. Black Tusk? Emerald? Maybe.
I am totally repulsed by the polarized, he-said she-said, simple thoughts for simple minds, my guns bigger than your gun, screw what the rest of the world thinks, whats in it for me, if you vote for my opponent youll die attitude prevailing among apparently not only the politicians but the electorate south of the border. Im ready to mail my U.S. of A. passport into the State Department along with a request to purge me from the citizenship and Infernal Revenue rolls. Better the inept, second-rate sleaze, Gong Show grandstanding, federal-provincial pissing match that passes for Canadian politics and at least sleep soundly at night knowing Im part of a somnambulant underachiever with no desire to rule the world.
Better still, a man without a country. At least until Whistler declares its independence and hives itself off as a stand-alone city-state - Motto: Go Big Then Go Home!
Not having any passport might pose a problem though. At least until my saintly parents are called to that great shopping centre in the sky. The Patriot Acts dont contain any humanitarian exceptions.
But the Bush-Kerry fiasco is, I believe, the final straw. So wholly transparent, so shamelessly pandering, so full of lies, half-truths, distortions and simplifications, so built on foundations of scare-mongering and character assassination, and so bereft of any vision of how my home and native land may once again become a beacon for freedom, good deeds and hope for the future are the campaigns of the president and the challenger, that Im almost ready to fly planes into buildings myself. A pox on all your houses ranches, ski chalets, summer homes and villas.
Theres no doubt the current Bush presidency has been a disaster. Hes governed as though he had a clear mandate instead of a tenure in office awarded by the Supreme Court. Hes surrounded himself with a cabal of insiders who have gutted the Constitution, squandered the goodwill of the world after 9/11, run the countrys books into an abyss of debt and deficit, transferred unconscionable wealth to the already wealthy and corporate interests, started an unnecessary war and provided no indication he has any smart ideas to end it.
His opponent has vacillated, pandered, failed to attack, failed to defend, spun a bazillion multi-point plans and been unable or unimaginative enough to give the dazed and confused - and yes, patently stupid and greedy - populace any good reason to vote for him.
If this aint the decline and fall of the empire, or at least a good beginning of it, it sure is an impressive imitation of the real thing.
Before I wash my hands of all politics other than local - Cmon Hugh, you didnt think youd get off that easily, did you? - Id just like to offer our own clueless leader, Little Pauly Martin, two more ideas to ignore, three if you count legalizing pot.
The first has to do with drugs. The U.S. has a drug problem, several actually. Ironically, the two major, campaign-related drug problems so neatly embrace the woes and drawbacks with the Republican and neo-conservative views of the world, they shouldnt go unheralded.
The Johns - Kerry and Edwards - have made an election issue out of moving towards salving seniors drug woes by letting them legally import their prescription drugs from Canada. Canadian drugs are cheaper. Theyre cheaper because the Canadian government twists the arms of Big Pharma to keep the prices down. Theyre expensive in the US because Big Pharma has Big Phriends on capitol hill bought and paid for by campaign donations. The thought of, say, the US government stepping in and actually regulating drug prices in the US is anathema to the conservatives blind belief in the power of free markets. It also raises the spectre of SOCIALIZED MEDICINE! Given the choice, the Republicans would rather have sleeper cells in every neighbourhood in America than socialized medicine.
So Canada, through its Internet pharmacies, finds itself playing the role of enabler in the codependent relationship between Us and Them. Clearly the only honest thing to do is cut them off, completely. Harsh? You bet. But this is clearly a case crying out for tough love. If Canada doesnt cut the U.S. off from cheaper Canadian drugs - which, until just recently, the Big Pharma Protection League, a.k.a. the Republican Party, has argued strenuously are UNSAFE - then the U.S. will never tackle its own free-market, laissez-faire drug problems.
These are, coincidentally, the same problems that have left the U.S. populace clamouring for, bargaining for, pleading for the flu vaccine. The outsourcing of production - outsourcing is good for the economy, isnt it? - gives Americans the chance to develop those 21 st century jobs the Bushling keeps babbling about. And concentration by Big Pharma of production in a few, poorly regulated plants has left the Americans about 50 million doses short.
Dull, plodding, socialist Canada, meanwhile, insists such things as necessary vaccines be produced in this country. This pig-headed, stuck in the old ways view of things has the now enviable side effect of supplying Canadians with enough vaccine. More than enough actually. The US is now making entreaties to purchase Canadas surplus. And being good neighbours, we wont hold a grudge over the US unfair, protectionist softwood duties, cattle importation ban the list is longer than I have space to fill.
Sell 'em the vaccine but cut off the Internet pharmacy supply.
The second bit of advice Id like to offer concerns immigration. Canadas been built on immigration and immigration is, overall, a good thing. Occasionally, really good deals come along on immigrants. Wars, famines, brutal oppressive regimes, all lead to brisk business in skilled, qualified immigrants. That Canada lets professional licensing bodies squander those immigrant sales is another story.
But realistically, theres a very good chance, unbelievable as it may seem to the rest of the world, George Bush will be re-elected. Judging just from my small circle of friends, I wouldnt be surprised to see Canadian immigration centres swamped with applications from Americans who still consider liberal an honourable word, not an epithet.
Be prepared. Fast-track these people. Itll be good for the economy and good for the vitality of this country. Welcome our downtrodden, ACLU card-carrying, quiche-eating, closet socialists from the south. They have professional skills. Theyre entreprenurial. They speak English. And, theyll be eternally grateful.