Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Tale of Two Elections

It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,

This election campaign has been one of the most bizarre on record, with incredible displays of democracy, and just as incredible displays of attacks on democracy.

We've witnessed hopefulness with unprecedented engagement, especially of youth, and if the polls are correct (which I severely doubt) an unprecedented display of apathy toward serious charges of Contempt of Parliament.

We've seen campaign signs having cross hairs drawn on a candidate's face and a nation rallying with support to replace the vandalized signs.

In another community where tires were slashed on cars parked at houses with Liberal signs, the candidate told those with signs to remove them for their own safety. Yet despite that many have instead opted to simply bring them in at night.

In London, Ontario, NDP candidate Ryan Dolby pulled out of the race to help his Liberal opponent, saying that the area needed a progressive MP and he didn't want to split the vote. It doesn't get anymore selfless than that.

Yet at the same time, Stephen Harper is telling the media that he will not cooperate if fails to win a majority. It will be the same contempt that has defined his career.

So divided is the spin from reality, that it appears as though there are two separate elections, held in two different countries.

The Conservative Party has been running one of the most undemocratic campaigns in history. Stephen Harper limits questions to five and even then only answers the ones he's comfortable with. His rallies are invitation only and his stump speeches delivered against a backdrop of human props. Some in costume.

His candidates are told to avoid debates and escape the media whenever possible.

They are breaking rules, breaking the peace and even breaking the law.

We have a group of self proclaimed gun nuts plotting the demise of an MP who has devoted much of his time and energy to criminal justice. A Tea Party style attack on Planned Parenthood and an aide discussed on tape, who may have taken kickbacks for government favours.

Yet we are graced day in and day out, with the same phony smile on the same arrogant face, of a man who has been the most unCanadian prime minister in our history, standing behind a sign that reads 'Here for Canada'.

Yet with all of the disparaging headlines and misleading polls, there is a large progressive grassroots movement to replace this government. And it is a movement that did not spring up overnight, but has been working behind the scenes to inform and encourage for over a year. From strategic voting to simply getting out the vote, these people get no money for what they do, and yet they still do it.

Stop the split
Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper
Catch 22 Harper Conservatives
To name just a few.

With daily headlines that appear aimed to discourage, why have they not given up? Because they still believe they can win.

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities

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