You Lose

Announcing the loser of the 2015 Canadian General Election:

You.

Yes, you. The Canadians among you, at least. If you had the chance to vote in this election, you lost. You come out of the election with some alarming truths proven alarmingly. This election provided a rare demonstration of Canadian political culture; in so doing, it revealed shocking illiteracy. Canadians demonstrated that they are children, unable to grasp concepts beyond appeals to imagination and certainly well-past any capacity to actualize their own desires.

We start with the inferior man-child Justin Trudeau, sitting uncomfortably small in the Throne of the Machine. The Liberal Party hasn’t bothered cleaning itself up – this guy was advising Justin on how to best please the Machine’s oil interests and the polls that we can/can’t believe (more on that later) haven’t lodged an interest in the matter. In a campaign about “Stephen Harper’s decade”, the Liberals already smell a bit like the previous one. And they’re apparently winning. 37% of Canadians apparently want a child to run Canada – a child that was just months ago on the roasting block.

Was Harperman suddenly less bearable in September? Are Canadians really stupid enough to think that the assier parts of two months of driving about in a rented bus are substantial training? What gives? How did Canadians apparently make this massive leap in logic? Who fucking knows – but I can tell you that it says little positive about Canadian political literacy. Hey folks – you rejected him four months ago for a reason. Riding a bus for a couple of months and delivering speeches that have been coached into oblivion (otherwise you get “redefining space and time” commentary from the kid) doesn’t make you more capable than you were a few months ago. If the national memory resembles that of a goldfish we have issues.

Then there’s the population that actually believe in Stephen Harper. This position is around 30% of the population, which is apparently enough to suggest a mass panic in Tory ranks (if the presented narratives as created by polling data are accurate, which we’ll get to). Between “get the child we saw right through 4 months back because he isn’t this other guy who looks like a taxidermied corporate lawyer” and “dem socializts gonna eat mah paycheck dam yuo commys” are 67% of the electorate.

I can think of nothing more damning than that. We have a political discourse between a bad idea and no idea, and this conversation amuses 2/3rds of the voting public in this country. This is because of the single most overused refrain in this entire abomination of an election, “we need to get rid of Stephen Harper”. This, alongside “we need to go back to what makes Canada great” are the greatest elucidation of how far Canada’s political culture has fallen. You lose, Canadians. You started the thing by looking backwards at the equivalent of a painted movie set. You allowed an election, an event filled with tough questions and thoughtful consideration for citizens of civilized countries, to be reduced to a Canada-wank show.

You made your own show-election. Good job. Too bad you let the real one slide past you. While we were busy imagining whether Trudeau repatriated the Constitution while riding a unicorn or while riding a flying unicorn, we let the swindlers get another crack at the piggy bank. 67% of Canadians support parties that hired Bruce Carson, a guy whose Wiki page’s first notation is “fraud”; the crooks, or at least one branch of them, are walking out laughing. Did we forget this, or do we just make corruption a big deal when in fact it’s a staple of Canadian politics?

And this is where we turn from illiteracy. See, I don’t blame most Canadians for their lack of political acumen. We don’t teach politics here; when we do, we make sure to put in dry, abstract terms. I can’t think of a single reign of any length in Canada that wasn’t rife with corruption. Gomery, Airbus, Beauharmois – it’s all there, back in the past Canada’s political culture is too foggy to recall. We’re outraged by individual elements, but the whole is disregarded? Surely the steady stream of corruptions from OD Skelton bringing buddies on to the civil service to St. Laurent’s coziness with financial interests in Toronto and beyond should suggest that we have a chronic problem. But no – it’s “this government” that does it and the next that’s going to end it.

A majority of Canadians (37% from Liberals + 23% from NDP) believe some version of this narrative – that the endless wiffle-batting of nepotism is something that the other guy can “clean up”. Like the polls that don’t matter and are denounced as flawed regularly while appearing front-and-center in political news, this strangely contradictory optimism in the next guy while ignoring the systemic can only be explained by political illiteracy. But these narratives and polls are what we see – that’s our news media.

Our news media paints an image of Canada – Faire Canada, as it were – that makes an insidious appearance in every election. This nonsense of Canada as progressive and forward-thinking is right back on track just one month after the Syrian child story broke and Chris Alexander went into meltdown. One night we hear that the Elders of Rankin Inlet are starving; the next, the Star tells us that Canadians are a progressive and decent people. The facts don’t meet the editorializing. The content makes no sense. From polls running in papers with articles telling us not to rely on polls to articles stating obviously untrue sentiments to papers not making mention of issues (like how Trudeau had the same opinion on the niqab as Mulcair or that he bused candidates in or indeed that he was already getting cozy with the pipeline company), it is apparent that our media is of no help when it comes to fostering political literacy.

You proved Mulcair wong, guys. You don’t deserve a better Canada. You aren’t capable of fathoming it and you aren’t capable of maintaining a coherent view. You let fear win – a fear of critical review, a fear of sozialism, a fear of thinking – that issued a final and fatal blow to political literacy in Canada. You saw a red herring about hats and raced to make that an issue. Rankin Inlet’s Elders can eat Dumpsters’ brand Blunder Bread – hats are what matter now! You saw Steve is Literally Hitler and Everything Wrong With Canada and uncritically called upon someone you rejected as soft and foolish too recently to have given him a chance to improve who is in turn attached to the corrupt Canadian machine. But you defeated fear by Beating Steve!!

An election of contradictions for a thoughtless, contradictory people. You remain colonials – you showed it in Election 42. If there was ever proof that Canada is undeserving of the title of nation, this is it. Looking backwards, trying to stay young, running away from hard questions to swallow simple, facile narratives – these are the behaviors of a country in a death spiral. It doesn’t matter who wins or in what proportion, because Canadians have already spoken. And they have opted to continue not giving a shit, because they lack the political literacy to parse bullshit and even begin attempting to give a shit.

Good job Canada, you lost an election. No wonder so many turned out to vote and actualize their loss into a personal, tangible event – it’s the totemic, mechanical part that’s easy to do. But it’s empty because the machine doing it has no language with which to speak of a better Canada. And without basic political literacy, a literacy lacking even amongst the media of this country, there is absolutely no hope. I had always held out for the slightest chance that Canada could amaze me by somehow coming to its senses.

Now I realize that even if it did, it wouldn’t know how to do anything else. With this capacity shot, the failure of Canada is assured. A colony she was born, and a colony she remains. That the Governor-General, a representative from another country is likely going to have to appoint the Prime Minister is a fitting end to this shambles. At least a grown-up country had some hand in this mess, even if was only symbolically appointing someone they don’t give a shit about.

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