Election Season Squared

After watching little bits of the Republican convention (okay, more Daily Show than convention), I can say that I am excited for the candidate debates, especially the vice-presidential debates. To be honest, it is not a high-minded political excitement, but more akin to the excitement I feel about the NFL’s opening Sunday today. Will my Steelers do alright with a weakened offensive line? Can the Vikings’ defense stuff Ryan Grant? How hilarious is it that Chad Johnson actually, legally changed his name to “Chad Ocho Cinco” so that his jersey can carry his nickname? (As one friend put it, that’s commitment to the joke.) Will Sarah Palin’s one-liners and “aw shucks” populism overcome Joe Biden’s actual knowledge of federal government? Will McCain’s specific town-hall style catch Obama out on one of his fancy “hope” routes? It’s all the same. I know what teams I’m rooting for, I know their strengths and weaknesses and I know the outcome I want.

The Canadian election, which was called today, is a little more complicated. I know I don’t want another 4 years of Harper. I know the Liberals are something of a sham, but they are likely to do less damage to the backbones of Canadian society — education, the arts, healthcare, and yes the economy — than the Conservatives will. The only problem is that they’ve foolishly picked as their leader a Francophone man who is widely reviled in Quebec and not a big vote-getter out west either. But he’s a loyal party insider! And one of the insane things about Canadian politics is that parties pick their leaders without consulting their electorates. Meanwhile, in my electoral district, Papineau, Justin Timberl. . . I mean, Justin Trudeau is running against Vivian Barbot of the Bloc Quebecois. We’ve got the white guy pretty boy son of the former prime minister whose main claim to fame is fame, and we’ve got a black woman who is pretty righteous on most issues, apart from the fact that she is very strongly in favor of independence (as is always the case with the Bloc). And this electoral district is actually contested. It would be a tough call for me, since a Liberal gain is one more crack in the Conservative edifice and a Liberal minority government is my only realistic hope at the moment. On the other hand, as an opposition party, the Bloc is much closer to me on most issues.

Of course, it’s all hypothetical. I will not be eligible for dual citizenship until sometime in 2009. I would really like to vote in this election, as it will likely affect me in all sorts of concrete ways. I can feel it now, I just can’t officially do anything about it yet.