I kinda want to write something political, but I also don’t particularly want to go that way.
Y’know what I mean?
The thing is this: I’m not blind. Nor deaf. Nor particularly lacking in any of my senses quite yet, actually. I’ve been quite keenly aware that South of the border today is (Capital-E, Capital-D) Election Day and that by the time we all go to bed tonight we’ll very likely have a pretty solid idea of how the next four years is going to unfold. Either Obama will win re-election and things will tick along. Or Romney will win and… well, things will just tick along.
…neither will destroy the world.
What do I believe? I believe that while there are fundamental differences between the two candidates, just as there are fundamental differences between any other two random people… neither are evil… neither are broken human beings… neither will destroy the world, though there is always the slim chance I’ll eat those words some day. And as always who really gets to feel the pain will be the folks on either tail-end of the bell curves of society and the rest of us in the middle will just tick along as usual.
True, it’s not our election. At least, it’s not our election in that we don’t get a say. But it does impact us. Everyone should care. Canadians in particular should care, at least a little bit, else risk sinking even further into that state of meta-indulgent political ignorance that is the defining intellectual rift of the twenty-first century. Canada often gets equated in metaphor to some kind of small, helpless furry mammal strapped to back of an elephant or a bull or some other large, angry beast with regards our international relationship with the United States. Where they go, we can’t help but be dragged along as their country just keeps ticking along.
Four years ago today(ish) I was in Canmore. Four years ago my life was just ticking along. I was at a planning meeting in the mountains with the rest of our staff and board from my old job. I still worked there. In fact, we were working all day, though pretty much distracted by trickles of news coming in over various cell phones. And later, after dinner in my room, I snagged a picture off the hotel television as the moment of triumph came for the Democratic campaign. I put on some shoes and a few minutes later I found some of the people I was at the meeting with in the hospitality suite. They were all watching the same thing though on a much nicer television, and there, somewhere in the mountains of Western Canada, in a business-class hotel on a chilly November evening a whole group of grown men were on the verge of crying into their drinks as they watched the live coverage. I had to leave shortly after that moment: I wasn’t crying. I was happy. I was ticking along just nicely, thank you very much…
Four years does a lot to shape political opinions. And that said, you are probably reading this right now and making assumptions and drawing lines of extrapolation about what I think and what I know and what I believe to be true. To be very clear: you shouldn’t. It’s more complex than that. It always is. If anything I’ve wrapped myself in a warm fuzzy blanket of information, history, opinion, indifference, the scars of previous battles and — very happily — many and much more simple and local priorities… and I’ve accepted that what happens is what will happen. Our cousins to the South, both literal and otherwise, will get the government they deserve — for better or worse: that’s the point of a democracy. And I’m just going to tick along here with that thought left hanging.
I’ll probably make some popcorn and watch the talking heads…
Tonight, most definitely, I’ll be glued to my television. I’ll have the iPad and some random Twitter feeds propped up beside me. I’ll probably make some popcorn and watch the talking heads, flipping between a small handful of hand-picked stations, as they all put on their grand show for the world. Analysis. Opinion. Results. Crowds. I’ll root for someone. I’ll jeer at others. I’ll watch the epic defeat of one and the marginal victory of the other. And tomorrow? Just back to ticking along?
Tick… tick… ticking along. (And that’s just a clock, by the way.)