I think I am jealous of US politics right now. I know… it sounds crazy… but hear me out.
My husband and I watched the State of the Union address this last week, because we are big politics geeks and Obama always gives a good speech. There were a couple things that struck me.
First of all, before the speech even started, the pundits on ABC were talking about some republican who called Obama a liar during a speech to congress and how this republican promised to behave himself during the State of the Union. (http://bit.ly/3NFWOL) Really? Canadian Prime Ministers are called much worse every time they speak in Parliament. The Canadian Parliament (when it actually sits) is a daily example of how not to behave on the school ground. Yelling, name-calling and booing are common place. How do the Americans show their views on what the President is saying? Standing up and clapping= agree with President. Sitting quietly= disagree with President.
Now doesn’t this seem a little ironic that Canadians, who are known around the world for being polite, considerate and a little too apologetic have a parliament with a total lack of civility. And Americans, who are criticized around the world for being loud, rude and a bit over the top, have a State of the Union Address characterized by people politely clapping to convey their opinion. (For the record, I said ‘criticized’ not ‘are.’ A lot of Americans are very very nice people. But as a national culture… you have to admit there is a certain amount of brashness.)
Second, while it seems at least some Americans are expecting change too quickly (He has 8 years and more of disaster to clean up after and you expect everything to be fixed in a year? Patience people, Patience.). At least they have a leader who
a) Is really making government more open and transparent
b) Is un-apologetically tackling the big issues, even if they aren’t popular and don’t help him in the polls
c) Truly inspires people
We have a leader who shuts down parliament to avoid accountability. Awesome. A leader who couldn’t inspire people to go to Tim Horton’s and buy a donuts.
Right now the US has leaders who lead, issues that matter and real debates. Well, mostly. I mean they are home to Fox News… so not every debate is reasonable and grounded in actual information.
Canada? There is no meaningful debate by the major parties to really change anything. Health care, electoral reform, the environment, child care support, education…. no politicians are standing up and pledging real change. And if they are, I can guarantee that is an election promise they will break the minute they get into office. Well American politics is all about the issues right now, Canadian politics is about politics. Not the change we need, but who gets to sit in the best seat.