Watching what is going on in the US right now, it's tough to not to draw comparisons right here at home.
For the most part, we don't have gun toting crazies assembling at town halls, though I'm sure it's happened in certain parts of this country. There are some similarities to be drawn though.
Let me preface this rant for the benefit of people who don't read me often with this. I am not anti-conservative, in that, I think it's important to have a balance of opinion in all things and as it relates to government, I think Foreign Affairs, the Economy, Health...and more, are all issues that I believe deserve a vigorous, fair debate. I think in doing so we can come to a consensus that fairly reflects the make up of the country. In effect, we have accomplished that here, in the past.
Contemporary times present us with a different dynamic though. The Conservatives we face in this country are no longer made up of, or led by, what we have traditionally known in Canada. Sadly, most Canadians don't know this and for a reason that completely eludes me, the media has spent no time explaining same. Dropping the Progressive from their name was far larger and more meaningful than a need for a new logo. It was a statement that should have told Canadians that they were not a mainstream party. They were not interested in consensus. They are a group that have felt marginalised, (rightly so, some would say), and they found a way to 'get in' the front door.
Why the media bought this, is truly beyond me. Perhaps I should rephrase that. I'm not sure they have bought it, but they seem incapable of putting it into words that don't resort to hackneyed terms. Rather than think, they are now busy telling us 'see, Harper has moved to the centre...', which of course he hasn't. He has a minority and is playing the game out front that looks innocuous, all the while behind the scenes, changing what the country is.
There seems to be a sense out there that the only frame in which to place this reality is a 'scary' one...but that is not true. Facts, in their simplicity, will do. Harper and the Conservatives are who they are. Do you really think spending the coffers dry is antithetical to who he is? Antithetical to what he wants for this country? Of course not. This economic downturn was a gift from the gods for this man. What better way to render government impotent than to leave it without funds?
Okay, back to the present. The crazies in the States are certainly fueling the nuts up here. Some right wing bloggers in Canada are hell bent on proving that climate change is a hoax, they concur that Obama is a Communist and they approach the 'Birther's' nuttery when they question Ignatieff's credentials. True, it's more genteel than some of the Birther claims, but it's no less insidious.
The strategy of these claims is precisely what was fed to the Birther movement in the States. It's not based in fact, but rather a plausible conclusion of what bent facts could mean. In other words, a hypothetical is pushed out with a false conclusion and it's sold as fact. It's related in simple terms to appeal to simple people and sadly, both countries seem to have many of those.
Take what John Baird had to say today for instance.
“This guy was a university professor at Harvard, I don’t know a single person with any experience in (government) who would believe him...of course, elections will cause instability,” Baird said.
Note the incongruity. He brings up Ignatieff's past as if he's not experienced government in flux, government in the midst of an election, government throwing us into an unnecessary election and last but not least, the current government proroguing in the middle of a worldwide economic meltdown, claiming all along that the country was stable...not a problem.
None of that mattered to Baird of course. No, his intent is to get you to focus on the fact that Ignatieff taught at Harvard (oh no!) and that would of course negate all of his more recent experience in this country. Completely idiotic, completely illogical, but that is what this crew banks on.
I think it's clear that about 1/3 of this country buys the lie, or at the very least are willing to perpetuate it to maintain power and in my view, we are a weaker country for that.
If you strive to convince through lies, you stand for nothing, mean nothing. You are bereft of ideas that will stand on their own and therefore send one clear message. You are not a leader....unless of course you consider those who lie to the masses in order to condition them to follow, leaders. Uh, who comes to mind there?
For the record, Baird is full of it. During an election, allocations will continue to be made and the country will be funded as is required. It has always been thus.
What Baird meant to say is, "Holy *#@^! If we have an election, our seats across the country may not be stable! Must...stop...this!"
Bluster is meant to baffle brains. Brains are meant to provide a baffle against the bluster.