becoming canada-ken dryden

the atmosphere of the advance polling station in my riding (parkdale, whut?!) on monday night was electrifying. i was considering spoiling my ballot, or voicing my support of the “system is broken” camp, but the sheer jubilance of folks embracing their right to vote moved me to vote for my heart-yes, i’ve been a party voter the last two elections, but only because i’d like to see someone else have a go at it for a minute. but for the insight into the same same but different:

“Harper doesn’t need an election in the fall of 2010 to do what he wants to do. He can do that now. He doesn’t need a majority. From his point of view, he is better off without one. Without a majority, he can keep his most radical supporters at bay; he can keep the public discourse non-ideological. Harper needs an election in the fall not to do what he wants to do as prime minister. He needs an election in the fall to keep the Liberals in disarray.” (172)

“As prime minister of a minority government, Harper might have been expected to extend a conciliatory hand here and there to some party or another, to get their support to keep his government in power. Yet he hasn’t done this. He knows that his best possible position, short of the complete disintegration of the Liberals, is having a minority government where the Liberals are too weak to win. This situation is even better than having a massive majority of his own. The New Democratic Party and the Bloc will not form a government. His job is to keep the Liberals as his own punching bag. If the Liberals are too weak to win, he can have a minority but act as if he has a majority, making himself appear strong and tough, making the Liberals look pathetic and weak. Conversely, the Liberals, with the other opposition parties, have a majority but have to act as if they have a minority, not being able to bring Harper down and win, making themselves look weak, always blinking before Harper’s stare, and always losing the day. To the Liberals, Harper is saying in effect, You have a choice. Support me or bring me down.” (100)


2 thoughts on “becoming canada-ken dryden

  1. further:

    “Harper has been calling Ignatieff’s bluff because he does not think Ignatieff has a vision that he believes in, and because he doesn’t, Harper doesn’t think Ignatieff will have the guts to call the bluff of Canadians. As Canadians, as human beings, we all have our good and bad sides. Harper believes that in a battle between our selfish selves and our unselfish selves, our selfish selves will win.
    Harper is saying to Ignatieff and the Liberals, If you act like liberals, the public will kill you, and I will win. Or if you do not act like liberals, you will kill each other, and I will win.
    George W. Bush made Obama possible; Harper is now making a great liberal possible because he doesn’t believe there is one around.” (150-1)

    “Multiculturalism was the right story for another time, but it is not the right story now. Multiculturalism makes the weak strong enough to survive, but multiculturalism makes the relatively strong formidable enough to weaken and divide the whole. New immigrant people need not give up their old stories, but they need to find new ones too, in Canada, stories that include and excite them, in which they can see themselves and see that they matter.” (214)

  2. false idols and icons:

    “During his first year as president, at times Obama had the look of a cartoon character being chased off a cliff, where, up in the air, with nothing visible beneath him, he just kept on running. And if, like a cartoon character, he kept on running and didn’t look down, he /could/ keep on running, discovering as he did that there was more in him and more in others than anyone had ever imagined; as if the cliff had wondrously extended out beneath him. For Obama, the cliff was the always solid ground of “America.” (31)

    “In today’s world, irony is everything we have come to love; it seems clever, and is always right and funny. Delivered without emotional commitment, it comes with no risk of pain. It makes the ironist the smartest person in the room and more important than whatever the ironist is supposed to be speaking about. Letterman and Leno, Colbert and Stewart, Walsh and Feshuk are funny, but they aren’t talking about Obama and McCain, Harper and Ignatieff, climate change and economic meltdowns. They are talking about themselves. Irony is about “me.” /The world is wrong; I can’t make it right, so I see myself as better than the world. It is how I live with myself./ In an ironic world, the medium is not the message. The messenger is the message.
    Irony offers distraction and escape. It allows us to ridicule those who take on the hard stuff, like climate change, who believe and try. Irony is giving up. As a diversion it is wonderful. As the attitude of an age, it is a disaster. We live in a post-ironic world, and a post-ironic world is about ‘us’.” (55-6)

    ironically, i learned of this book because he was on the red chair.

    “There is nobody better than Canada at explaining the United States to the rest of the world, and nobody better than Canada at explaining the rest of the world to the United States. This Canada, with greater global self-awareness and greater understanding of its own importance, can play an even more significant role.” (223)

    “The great always fall short in their own minds; the great remain fiercely proud, yet humble. They know they are not as good as they seem to be. It is the almost-greats, those who might even have the talent of the greats but who are so preoccupied with themselves that they seek out every camera, they are the ones who strut. They are the ones who give winning a bad name.” (236)

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