Are you gearing up for the upcoming U.S. election? It's been ho-hum so far, but once the debates start, I'll be glued to the television set. Four years ago, an area politician told me, "You're for Barack Obama? I know someone who has an Obama sign on their lawn. Let's go and swipe it."
Now if I had visited the States and viewed a field of Yes We Can signs, I know I'd have the "audacity" to consider taking one, but I "hope" I wouldn't. I replied, "No, I paid a friend who's an Obama supporter in New York to order one for me." It's not like I need another reason not to trust politicians, but they just never disappoint, do they?
My friends wondered why I was finally getting politically motivated and obsessing about an election south of the border, no less, but I know I wasn't alone.
A poll by the Canadian polling company Environic and co-sponsored by the CBC found 15 per cent of Canadians would have given up their ballot in Canada's '08 federal election to vote in the U.S. election. And 46 per cent of those surveyed said it mattered a great deal to Canada who won that November U.S. presidential election.
I seconded that motion on both counts. That was the first time I was truly inspired politically. Wanted to vote. Wanted to volunteer. Wanted to get a U.S. work visa (not to move; rather to support) and do anything I could for the cause.
Why? Some people think it's three measly words: Yes We Can, which now could be changed to Oh, Yes We Could and Did! Others feel Obama fever began due to one speech Obama gave at the 2004 Democratic convention.
It takes more than a speech for me. I'm so uninspired by our Canadian political leaders it's not even funny.
I was too young to have Trudeau fever the first time around but I am a late bloomer. You could say Pierre Elliot Trudeau became an obsession of mine late in both of our lives. So much so that when he passed away in 2000, we renamed our Siamese cat -- from Bach to Bach-Pierre -- in tribute.
Will his son, Justin, rekindle a wave of Liberal mania? Who knows? I'd like to get excited about something up here! Meanwhile, Obama will have to do. His language still speaks to me -- a gay male who, while not affiliated with any religion, respects faith in its many forms.
In his second book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama wrote,
"I am not willing to have the state deny American citizens a civil union that confers ... no such basic matters as hospital visitation or health insurance coverage simply because the people they love are of the same sex -- nor am I willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount."
I am not anti-Republican, but you think we're going to hear a message like that from a Romney or a Ryan? With Obama I heard a new language in politics. Or at the very least words we don't hear enough.
Again from The Audacity of Hope:
"I am convinced that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. For it is the predictability of our current political debate, that keeps us from finding new ways to meet the challenges we face... locked in "either/or" thinking... What is needed is a broad majority who are re-engaged and who see their own self-interest as inextricably linked to the interest of others."
Well, I am getting engaged again and have linked myself with Obamakins worldwide. YouTube and Facebook have played their part but for me it is so much more.
The sex, religion, colour or orientation of an individual has nothing to do with why he or she inspires me. What they say, how they live, do they practice what they preach? Those are the choices that define a human being.
I'll still be watching the younger Trudeau's choices up here (as well as the other political hopefuls). Meanwhile, I'm dusting off my Obama sign. Once again, I'll tape it inside our front window.
You just never know when a very different kind of politician might drive by.
Follow Donald D'Haene on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@TheDonaldNorth