The New American City being held this week in Kansas City, Mo. will draw business and local government leaders from more than 50 U.S. and Canadian cities. They'll be arguing the crumbling infrastructures whose refurbishment we may view at net drains on our wallets in fact hold value and the potential for economic boom if they are properly rebuilt and maintained.
As an old friend who wishes nothing but the best for your country, I am worried about what one election night commentator described as the ongoing "ideological civil war" in America. In the past, after this initial polarization, there is a seeking for common ground and a coming together in order to "get things done." In recent years, however, this has not occurred. Continued polarization and conflict over the economic crisis is also of great concern to us in Canada, since our economic prosperity is very much tied to that of our largest trading partner.
During those four years there had been much sadness, wailing and gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts in the land as the tribe's riches and power ebbed, and the people lost faith in their tribe. So therefore, many leaders did arise who did each say unto the people that he alone was strong and of good courage and should be their leader to lead them out of the slough of despond and into the land of milk and honey...
Most of us are relieved the U.S. election is over -- listening to the hyperbole of the campaign for so many months has been difficult even for Canadians who don't hear the ads and don't have the same emotional reaction to the candidates. But there are some lessons to be learned for non-politicians working on their personal brands.
At the end of the day, this "close" election was not really that close. While the race was closer than 2008, Romney's routes to victory proved limited and, ultimately, impossible. The outcome of this election will likely raise serious questions about the influence of the right wing Tea Party in the Republican Party.
Imagine the following scene with me, if you will: Marine One lands amid a fury of fireworks in the middle of Grant Park in Chicago. President Obama is wearing a full flight-suit as he struts from the LZ up onto a stage already occupied by Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z. As he makes his way behind the podium, George Clooney unveils a giant "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner.
A successful Obama presidency -- one that trims the debt, shrinks the deficit, reforms entitlements, and spurs GDP growth is one dangerously likely to revive the old Canadian demons of insecurity and inferiority. Regardless of how much it may satiate our fiscal interests, an economically resurgent America almost certainly means a return to second-place status for this country.
Though image politics is still very much with us, we are entering a third age of democratic politics as a result of the 24-hour cable news cycle, social networking, YouTube, Twitter, mass apathy and at least in the American case, the archaic electoral college system. As a result of all this we get meta-politics, image politics taken to its absolute degree.
Long story short, Canadian editorial pages have devoted a lot more column space to American affairs than our own as of late. But I mean, given the choice between covering a ferocious battle between two men vying for leadership of the free world and a vague conspiracy theory that some guy named Gary Ritz may have not done enough to monitor Albertan beef processing -- well, what would you choose?
There are two elections this autumn that will have repercussions throughout Canada. The first happens in Quebec next week, the second in the United States in November. What makes these so important? What happens in Quebec next week and in the United States in two months' time will help shape the future, not only in that province and country, but for all of Canada as well.
For three years, my political party has veered in a direction I cannot follow. And if the GOP insists on framing the 2012 election as a ballot question on fiscal and monetary austerity, or if they nominate somebody manifestly incompetent to do the job of president, they're going to lose me -- and a lot more people.