Both Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama are at a unique moment in their political careers -- one that lends itself to bold initiatives: an investment in a shared conversation and strategy to shift the frame on gender, care, equality and parenting in the next generation of boys would be groundbreaking. When that generation of men come of age, it would have a transformative ripple effect on families, workplaces, public spaces and relationships.
A few years ago I decided to embark on a backpacking trip across Europe for two months. Towards the end of my travels, I found myself at the Sisteen Chapel in Rome, Italy. As I was standing there, enchanted by this insanely crazy masterpiece, I felt a soft whisper perk the tiny hairs on the back of my neck.
Frequently underlying the purported threat Obama represents to his own country is innuendo about his 'true' identity accompanied by allegations about the hidden Islamist tendencies. Given the absence of any proof to support such ludicrous assertions, 'Obamabashers' conduct whisper campaigns often around dinner tables or other social gatherings.
As the debate raged and the cross-border rhetoric went nuclear over Keystone XL, the good folks at Enbridge were craftily and quietly shipping hundreds of thousands of barrels per day of tar sands bitumen from Alberta. This line, cavalierly called the Alberta Clipper, which at first shipped 450,000 barrels a day from the tar sands is designed to carry an astounding 800,000 barrels a day to Illinois.
The human rights-interfaith dialogue rhetoric employed by President Obama on May 22, 2015 at the Adas Israel Synagogue in Washington DC was wonderful and made people feel warm inside. But this type of rhetoric is, in fact, messianic -- it is for tomorrow, for a time when there is no more war. That day has not yet come, I am afraid. And to speak as if it has is very dangerous.
This week, in his fifth State of the Union address, Obama showed every sign of no longer believing in his words. He was Hamlet, unable to make up his mind, over-trained and over-rehearsed. This Obama speech was so flat, so monotonous, so uninteresting. But Florida Senator Marco Rubio had been carefully chosen by the Republican Party bigwigs to offer the party's answer to Obama. The Republicans must be insane.
I planned to write about Christmas today. Specifically, what I want for Christmas. But it doesn't seem right when that's not at all what caught my attention this week. What's in my head and my heart, on my Facebook feed and Twitter stream, in my inbox and in so many conversations I have had is the horrors and devastation from the Newtown, Connecticut shootings of last Friday.
We should probably be happy that the candidate who at least acknowledged the seriousness of climate change won the U.S. election. But climate change is already costing the U.S., and the rest of the world -- in money, human health and lives. Many of us -- not just Americans -- hope the president will show stronger leadership this time around.
Obama has somehow managed to come across as a socialist during this election -- a man who believes in subsidizing insurance companies, who is consistently violating international and domestic law by killing people via drones, and only recently came to the epiphany that all people should be free to choose the person they marry. More alarmingly, however, is the ease in which the Conservative base in Canada has managed to sympathize with Romney. This of course brings a very important debate to the forefront: is the Harper government much further to the right than they would like to let on? After all, it seems rather odd that Canadian Conservatives could find anything in common with the current Republican Party of today.
Long story short, Tampa's crawling with Canadians at the moment, all of whom are seeking to justify their orange juice per diems with ever-more dazzling examples of skilled foreign correspondency at the Republican National Convention. What our progressive friends in the press can't seem to agree on, however, is precisely how these slack-jawed troglodytes matter to Canada.