Thursday, September 04, 2008

Reality Check

This week it seems that the mindlessness if flowing like water. On all sides of the political spectrum, critical thinking has given way to strange, herd-thinking and cheer-leading for "our team".

Take the US election for instance.

To a person, those on the "left" like and support Barack Obama as a fellow lefty and 'liberal'. Yet, his policy and record show that he is, from a Canadian political perspective, the equivalent to a Diefenbaker-Stansfield-Clark Progressive Conservative, not a Liberal. Ironically it should be the Conservatives who support Obama, yet they, almost to a person, stampede to the McCain camp and the Republicans who really are even further right than even the Reform party was. The same people who scream 'Adscam!" when the Liberals are in the room and "Free Speech!" when Human Rights Commissions are mentioned happily support a person - Sarah Palin - who is alleged to have abused her power as Governor to have her brother-in-law fired from the Alaska State Troopers during a messy divorce from her sister and who tried during her term in office as mayor to have books banned from the public library.

And why? Because of the perception that these people are "on your side" or "on your team" - the American right must be naturally allied with the Canadian right, right? American 'liberals' are exactly like the Liberals, no?


This knee jerk, collectivist tribalism allows all kinds of cognitive disonance to take place. Liberals who support same sex-marriage have no issue with Obama, who does not support it. Conservatives who support "family values" and "abstinence only sex education" seem to have no problem singing the praises of Palin, whose 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and is having a shotgun wedding to the 18-year-old father. Or of McCain calling his wife a "cunt". Imagine the reaction if it had been "the other side" with these things happening.

(To be fair, Lore Weaver seems to be the only intellectually honest blogger on this - he is an Obama supporter and a Conservative).

And then there is our own (unofficial) election campaign.

The supposedly "fiscal conservative" Stephen Harper and the CPC promising billions in corporate welfare to Ford, even after running a deficit for a short time this spring and after cutting arts funding less than a week ago under the guise of being "fiscally responsible".

Or of Stephane Dion claiming his failed summer "Green Shift" tour was "consultation" that resulting in major changes to the program, after the multiple polls that showed how unpopular it was.

I could go on but you get the picture.

So, tell me again why its better to have a state, run by uncritical, unthinking, unprincipled, intellectually dishonest dolts who seem to want to equate "left" and "right" to their favourite hcokey team?

So to sum up for those who have trouble understanding:

Obama==Progressive Conservative
Republicans == far right of the Reform Party
Sarah Palin == authoritarian who would be ridiculed even by Conservatives if she were Canadian.
Stephen Harper == mean-spirited political whore in a blue tie
Stephane Dion == mousy political whore in a red tie.

In the end, when the smoke clears, we'll still get taxed too much, we'll still get crappy service from the government, we'll still be fighting religious fundementalism, the US will still be in Iraq and (October Surprise!) maybe Iran, and we will still be bribed with our own money by people who want power for their own good, not ours.

It really doesn't matter who "wins".

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At 2:21 PM, Blogger Sean S. said...

well put. It always amuses me (but mostly saddens me) to see Canadian's taking side in this election as if there was a direct correlation between the Dems, Repubs, and our own spectrum.

It's not even close.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Mike said...


I don't mind people "taking sides" so long as they do it with their eyes open and not in a knee jerk fashion.

As Lore put it in a comment over at his blog

"Heck, the only thing that the CPoC and Obama disagree on is NAFTA."

And he's right. At least Lore is picking Obama because he matches his political principles. Guys like Dr. Roy, Strong Conservative and the gang over at SDA are picking the Republicans because they perceive them as the on the same team. The majority of the Prog Blogs like Obama because they imagine he is a Liberal, which he isn't. Again, they think he's on their team.

Me? I'd rather none of the above, but barring that fantasy, Obama merely because he is the lesser of the two evils and isn't beholden to the insane Christian right like Palin and McCain are.

But the lesser of two evils is still evil.

At 5:50 PM, Blogger That guy said...

It really doesn't matter who "wins".

Are you honestly willing to say that the world would have been the same had Al Gore won instead of Bush?

they, almost to a person, stampede to the McCain camp

Actually, they don't.

Liberals who support same sex-marriage have no issue with Obama,

Sure I do. But he's better than the other guy. In politics, it is vitally important for the lesser evil to win. I'd really not have the greater evil win.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Chet I understand your point and in some ways things would be better. But in some ways they would be worse.

If your main concern is the War in Iraq, then yes, of course, things would clearly be better.

But in other things it may not have worked out so well.

Given the way the Democratic-controlled senate has caved like a house of cards over the last 2 years at everything Bush has done, I hold no hope that a Democratic Whitehouse will be better.

Maybe I'm just being cynical and maybe I Obama will surprise me.

And none of that changes the facts that basically, Obama supporters in Canada are cheering for the Progressive Conservative cadidate.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger That guy said...

Obama supporters in Canada are cheering for the Progressive Conservative cadidate.

Oh, there's no doubt about that. But if my only real options are Red Tory or Reform, I'll go Red Tory for now and keep working for something better in the long term.

At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The saddest thing about your post is that Canadians have willingly allowed themselves to become unthinking party sheeple.... more willing to accept what they are told by their side regardless of what actually happened.

Harpers fixed election dates legislation is touted listed as one of his accomplishments and Dion said a carbon tax was a bad thing yet, for all their hypocricy, you will look long and hard to find criticism of either in their respective camps.

I will, once again, refuse to participate, doing so would only lend legitimacy to a flawed and undemocratic system that needs to fall.

At 1:46 AM, Blogger Nastyboy said...

I'm with SL on that one. Why participate in a system so irreparably screwed?

More to Mikes post. We live in a society where the average voter is intellectualy lazy and makes their decisions based on attack ads and 5second sound bites.

Election campaigns are no different than product branding and loyalty to the brand is more important than the reality.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Nasty, I am, of course with SL and you on this too.

And election campaigns are sales jobs to convince us of the power-hungry scum to "rule" us when in fact we don't need any of them.


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