Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just Start Wailin' on Each Other

So the big Leaders' Debate was tonight! I had originally intended to just flip through the channels and then take a nap, resting up before working on the third of three scholastic assignments due in the span of a day and a half, but when I landed on the debate my ol' politics-junkie instincts took over and I ended up watching it all the way through. Strangest thing, though -- the debate actually had to be translated into English by the network, because all five candidates were speaking some kind of moon language or something.

Ha ha! Okay, I know, it was French. The French language debates were tonight, and they went the same way that our modern multi-party debates always go: the current leader in the polls goes in, under duress, and the other three or four parties -- four, this time around -- take turns sniping at him to try and knock him down a few percentage points. (I could have said 'him or her' just now, for the sake of argument, but let's not kid ourselves here. We only ever had the one female Prime Minister, and in her one actual election she won two seats.) It may not sound interesting to you, necessarily, but my interest in politics has always been in how the game itself is played; I approach it like high entertainment and draw a whole lot of amusement from the ensuing shenanigans, watching to see who makes the more hilarious missteps or which party meets with failure and derision despite its best efforts or what gigantic, egregious lie someone tries to get away with. It's fun! I've got no party loyalties to begin with, so I get to enjoy myself and treat the Canadian political system like an elaborate sport. Which it is, really, if we're being honest about it.

So I kicked back, and lay around, and watched the debates a half-second behind while they were translated from a language I do not understand for the life of me. (You should see me try to speak French, it's hilarious. BONE JEWER JUH MAPLE MILLE NEUF-CENT QUATRE-VINGT DIX-HUIT pamplemousse pamplemousse pamplemousse) It's all good, of course, but my favourite part was the obligatory be-nice-to-each-other segment; the moderator had each candidate turn, smile politely, and say a few nice things about one of the other leaders. Layton complimented Dion's willingness to collaborate, Dion complimented Duceppe's passion for Quebec advocacy, and so on around the table. Then Elizabeth May's assignment was to say something nice about Stephen Harper, and ha ha ha oh my god is she ever bad at being diplomatic. "You... you're a... a loving father, you have wonderful kids... and... uh... you're very principled. I don't like your principles, but you, uh..."

Making the leaders of each political party stop and be nice to each other, however briefly, is a really nice touch. It's something we don't see very often, and it's a fun little exercise to watch.

But! Me being me, here for the entertainment and fireworks, I think that we as a nation are missing out on a golden opportunity for some high quality awesomeness. Memorable, era-defining, oh-my-god-what-did-we-just-see moments of brilliance and passion and glorious animal savagery. We have the designated thirty or fourty-five seconds where each candidate is nice to each other, yes, but if we really want to capture the imagination of the voting public -- and lord knows we have been awful at that for the last couple of generations -- then what we should include in each debate is a full minute for each candidate to launch into the most bitter, vindictive, mean-spirited assholishness that they can muster right there on the spot against whoever is sitting directly to their left.

We'd all watch the debates for that, god damn it! That'd be must-see TV! All through the rest of the debate, they're obliged to be civil to each other; for a few shining moments, they're even (obligated to be) genuinely nice to each other. But then, right after that, we would watch on the edge of our seats as they turn to each other and go no-holds-barred Strong Style on each other.

"I hate you and I hate everything you stand for, you remorseless mouthbreathing shithead. Your policies are ruinous, your platform is bullshit and I want to projectile vomit every time I see your face on TV. I am picturing you dying and it makes me smile."
"You scum-sucking communist douchenozzle! I hope you get cancer of the everything, and when you die I hope they roll your bloated corpse out into a field for farm kids to shoot at!"
"Do you even realize how monstrously ugly you are, you assheaded hellspawn? Your entire face looks like the right side of Jean Chretien's mouth!"

And then right after that they have to go back to playing nice and quizzing each other pointedly about the environment, like nothing just happened. Wouldn't that be great? I'd pay money to see this! If we started doing this, maybe people would actually give enough of a crap to go out and vote!

Ahh, a man can dream. Come on, Canada, it's worth a try!

Dang, I still have to finish that cataloguing assignment. Well, back to work, I guess. Check back here sometime Friday, though! I'll have some neat stuff to show you.

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