Normally, I’m not one to be overly pessimistic. Cynical, sure, sarcastic, definitely, but pessimistic? Not really my thing.
But this upcoming federal election has me sliding into negative territory. Reading press releases and news stories, all the candidates seem to care about is how unfit the other guy is for the job. Could you imagine if the rest of us worked this way? Would I have been hired at the Interior News if my resume consisted only of spelling errors and typos other reporters made in the past?
So why must the race for Prime Minister be so full of personal attacks, full of accusations of lies, full of vitriol, full of….well, I think you can see where this is going.
It’s enough to make a conscientious voter just a little bit crazy, trying to figure out how to vote.
On the one hand, we’ve got a dictatorial control freak, who seems unable to make even the most basic human connection with average people. Harper appears to be willing to do anything to stay in power over the country, despite the fact he seems to have little respect for most of us living in it.
On the other hand, we have an elitist intellectual who seems to think that pointing out all the things Harper did wrong will draw attention away from his campaign platform, which seems to consist mostly of ideas drawn equally from the Conservative and NDP playbooks.
If only I could vote for a moustache, without voting for the politician attached to it.
To paraphrase some forgotten comedian I heard many years ago, we’re being asked who makes a better cat – Lassie or the Littlest Hobo? Meanwhile, to take this metaphor too far, Benji’s barking on the left, the St. Bernard from those old cold medicine commercials is growling something about separation (although I can’t be sure what he’s saying, since I only speak one official language) and that little Taco Bell chihuahua is yipping over in the next yard, trying to convince everyone she’s tall enough to play with the big dogs.
So what’s a fed-up voter to do? Vote locally. I know, that sounds naive in the era of strategic voting. But sometimes, when the big picture looks grim, the best way to save the hope you have left is to ask simple questions: who will best represent this riding? Who best represents my values? Who is likely to do the best thing for Smithers, the Bulkley Valley and northwestern B.C.?
I can’t tell you what your answer to those questions should be, but I can tell you this: my answer is going to be a person, not a party.
Jon Muldoon writes the Mulling it Over column.