Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh-bama (the obligatory inaugural post)

Today was a good day―and that doesn't just mean I got to eat free samosas.

I walked into class today with plans to drivel at the feet of my Critical Issues prof, begging him to end class early on account of a historical event which all journalists should be required to witness. To my delight, the prof had the same plan.

So I and a herd of journalists-to-be headed over to the Student Centre where we were greeted with pins, refreshements and big, big screens. The president-elect's face was plastered around the room, always portrayed staring into the sky as if god was personally dictating his each and every action. There was the clichéd thick air of excitement in the room―but that may have been because volunteers were laying out trays and trays of wings and deep-fried plantains on a nearby table. 

When Obama first walked onto the widescreen, the students paid their collective respects through whooping and cheering, myself included. Aretha Franklin came in and sang her song, but no one really heard anything due to her deafeningly loud headwear. No, seriously, did she pick that off the top of the last year's Macy's Christmas Tree? That girl's got balls.

Wardrobe cuts aside, while Obama's (somewhat shaky) inauguration made me happy and hopeful, full of glee and giddyness, it sparked another distinct emotion.  

Obama's inauguration and subsequent speech today turned me emerald with envy. Why? Because Canucks like me have to live vicariously through our big brother, the U.S. (Although I'm half-American, I can't only consider myself "one of them" when they do something good*. I've lived in Canada since I was born and can't justify calling myself anything else―yet.) And if any of you are the youngest child, or simply have the over-achieving older sib with a barrage of accomplishments you can never live up to, you know that it plain and simple sucks. We have a leader whose economic policy disagrees with that of every other forward-thinking nation in the world, who prorogues parliament (which I see as a hold on anything democratic), and possesses a head-tilt-and-smile routine that only a child molester in-the-making could have (politically incorrect, yes, but who ever said I couldn't be?). The one time in recent memory where Canadian politics got interesting, the good guys ruined it with a cell-phone quality piece of youtube crap which had more people focused on the leader's library and less-than-desirable accent. I'm not saying I want George W. to pack his parka and move north to stir up some shit and maple syrup in Ottawa, but can't we have some change to believe in too? We're far happier to cheer for an American man that we are any Canadian leader―'cause well, our head honchos just don't change much at all. No one's making a killing selling iconic Harper pins and t-shirts.

In the same year that whites, blacks, potentially-terrorist Muslims and everything in between chanted, "Yes, we can," under Obama's charismatic leadership, more Canadians shuttered their doors and stayed inside than taking a few steps out to vote in some national election. We ended up with a minority Conservative government. Ho-hum. 

Do people even care enough about Canadian government to make a noteworthy response if that kind of a powerful leader were to step up to the podium? 

If I were a politician, I'd do something about it, seriously.

But since I'm a bored, aspiring Canadian journalist, maybe it's high time I make like a bird and migrate south, 'cause in Candian politics, well―maybe we can't. 

*That is, unless Jeopardy closes admission to Canadians. If so, I will toss my Canadian passport and wave hello to the stripes and stars in a second.

1 comment:

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