Who Cares About Politics

           

I was chatting with a very nice fellow the other day and he was congratulating me on my website which features political satire and parody, and was amazed at how I have always been a writer and performer of political satire (which isn’t true, of course. For example I once prepared tasty meals for passengers at the Toronto airport, but that’s another story). He said to me “I don’t follow politics much” and I’m like “Well, you should!” I didn’t really mean to write that. It’s just the way people talk these days. Using the words “And I’m like…” means you never actually said those words, you’re just trying to impress someone that you had a wicked response to some other dumb person, making you sound like a real sharp daddy-o (and that’s a word I haven’t used since I tried to do an impression of Maynard G. Krebs when I was 12 years old). Nevertheless, his comment, “I don’t follow politics much”, is worthy of discussion.

   As Canadians, we live in one of the most enviable countries in the world, and it got that way because of politics. More precisely, it got that way because of our governments which require politics to form parties in order to govern. And that requires citizens to go out and vote every four or five years (or every four or five months if Stephen Harper’s in charge) for the candidates which, they believe, best represent their philosophy on how a country should be governed. Shockingly, we have reached a depressing stage in our history where people, like the nice man I was chatting with, don’t think that’s very important anymore, and, as a result, they ignore elections, preferring to stay at home and polish their car. So, I have to ask; if a candidate, for example, said, in his campaign speech, that he, after being elected and becoming prime minister, would enact the massacre of the innocents, you would, surely, want to put a fat ‘X’ beside someone else’s name, right? That, of course, was King Herod I was referring to, not Stephen Harper, and Herod was, unlike Stephen Harper, an unelected king, although Stephen Harper does seem to harbour similar fantasies these days. What if a candidate promised to make gardening illegal, or declare war on Norway, or sell PEI to pay off the deficit? Wouldn’t you want to try and stop them by voting against them, unless, of course, you felt that the Peer Gynt Suite contained subliminal messages that made you want to change your name to Knut and that a dive bomber attack on Oslo was the only way to stop it, then, okay. Also, while I’m thinking about it, I think we could get billions from selling PEI, like, say, if the Disney Corporation wanted to make it just one big Green Gables ride. Think about it.

   Anyway, if Canada is, as many believe, an enlightened country, it got that way because legislation was enacted by governments, made up of politicians, who were voted in to office by people in a school gymnasium standing behind three foot cardboard walls, instead of staying at home and polishing their car. But that was in the past, when Canadian governments enacted things like the right for women to vote, the end of capital punishment, the right to medical care, regulation of banks, civil rights, etc, etc. In our last federal election we hit a record low turnout of 59.1% of eligible voters! The polling places were pretty empty, but boy we did have a lot of shiny cars that day!

   Canadians, like the nice chatty man, seem to think there’s nothing they can do about the government so they don’t bother to cast a vote, and that’s wrong. Canadians also think that politicians are nothing but a bunch of sleazy promoters, out to line their own pockets while using public office, and that’s wrong, too…well, okay, there might be a little more of that than there used to be, but, as the old expression goes, “into each life a little Jaffer must fall”.

So, what to do about voter apathy in Canada? Well, there’s always the Chinese system. No need to “follow politics” there. And if you don’t go to vote and, instead, stay home to polish your bicycle, well, you’ll still get that great communist government you’ve all been hearing about when the trucks go up and down the street with the loud speakers blaring. But this is Canada and I know there’s one thing that gets Canadians talking and all fired up about voting, “So, You Think You Can Dance Canada”. Here’s something that makes Canadians stop polishing their cars. They watch this thing in droves, like 2 to 3 million at a time. Here’s what you do; match Stephen Harper and Bev Oda (Oooo, there’s a handsome couple!) against Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae. Make them rumba ‘til they drop, then vote one of them off. Bingo, you’ve got your new prime minister. No fuss, no muss, no Carnuba Wax required.

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