I remember in seventh or eighth grade I went to a friend’s house and we all ordered pizza to watch the inauguration of Pres. Obama. It was weird for me, at that age. I looked around, at the random group of boys and girls with eyes equally hungry for the pizza as the president. It didn’t give me hope per se, but it did fill me with warmth. A kind of pleasure at the man on tv uniting some random middle-schoolers in Toronto. Most people, whatever their politics, recognized that our friends south of the border had done something right by electing Barack Obama.
Perhaps, it is good I didn’t feel hopeful at that event. Surely, it would’ve been a false sense of hope. For a supremely selfish example, the world has been jailing journalists at a rate unseen in nearly thirty years according to The Economist. Who’d’ve predicted that eight years ago?
I didn’t know when I was watching the inauguration that I’d end up writing for a living. I’m basically on my way to a life in journalism. But, there are many people who have been blessed with the freedom of a childhood marred by not much and this has allowed them to explore what they wish to contribute to society. How they want to spend their days besides chasing peace and happiness. And for them, I am worried.
In Canada, our political climate is always slightly ridiculous given the company we keep. In the G7, we are unmatched in that we are so small and yet so impactful. We are basically half the size of the next smallest countries – France, UK and Italy all sit around 60 million people.
A recent topic of conversation in Canada has been the cost of repair of official residences. Paltry sums given the nearly trillion dollars the U.S. spends on defense and yet that’s what we were talking about as national news not so long ago. I can’t remember ever caring about a Canadian election quite as much as the one Obama won.
But, politics fascinate me all the same. The “leaders” of the world. I took this at face value when I was younger. I was very dumb as a child, I took a lot at face value. But more and more, you have to question who and what is led when we elect someone to the highest office in the land. What values are being represented.
On the Canadian Politics branch of twitter, there’s much hoopla being made about Trudeau’s everflowing tears. He is being criticized for showing emotion and well fuck that.
I cried at my dad’s funeral, I have cried about a lot of things. I cried when I learned of what Eichmann did to the Czech Republic and how visible these scars remain 70 years later. I just don’t understand people I think. How can we tell kids to be more in-tune with themselves and castigate our Prime Minister at the same time for the very same thing?
It is the irony of compassion. Or something like it.
I thought, naively, that when I was older the world would’ve been shaped and made wonderful by Obama. He was like Socrates or Plato. This man I’d just discovered said the same things as brilliant men thousands of years ago. To me, then and now, that makes him right.
Now I am not saying Trudeau measures upto in the least to that great leader, but they share similar values so that must mean something.
I think the only person worth listening to anymore is John Ralston Saul. He very astutely points to corporatism and the gash of the managerial hierarchy as the ills of today. It is not Trudeau’s tears or whatever else. It is the idea that people are something other than what they are. That’s vague but honestly listening to people today requires such words. Such vagueries.