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Why we don’t need an Obama


 

As explained by Glen Pearson (he of this fame/infamy).

“It’s my belief that we don’t require a transformation figure, much as we’d like to have one. But what we do require is a kind of inclusive individual whose very words and thoughts transcend our present regionalism, or crippling moral failure towards the less-fortunate, and who can reconcile us with the planet. We are presently on a course that pits one voter group against another and plays regions of the country against one another, and we are the poorer for it. We require some who, like the new president-elect, can call on the best that is non-partisan in each of us and can summon us to a greater national identity through the massive challenges we face at present and the remarkable resources that have assisted us in overcoming great difficulties in our history. We need someone who will make Parliament work, will look at the opposition parties and say You’ve got a point and you hold it dearly. In fact, so do we as a party. But we’ve so much argued ourselves to the ground that we have precious little energy left to give to those people that actually elected us in the first place. Let’s make their needs our primary goal. Let’s find what we share in common and at least give them that. And then perhaps we can find compromise on the rest. This is the kind of leader Canada requires right now but he or she hasn’t arrived yet. When that person does appear, this country won’t be so much transformed as reconciled and functioning like an advanced citizenry. I have full belief that the great wells of institutional depth and intelligence in Canada will bring just such an individual to light. We don’t need transformation, just a inspired view of values once shared but now forgotten as we head of in all directions. That time couldn’t come too soon.”


 

Why we don’t need an Obama

  1. I find myself agreeing with him, not just because I heard a lot of ‘manufactured’ non-speechifying from Obama that sounded good but my cynical self wasn’t buying.
    The American political system had scraped the bottom of the barrel and revealed decadent and immoral rot. Obama came at the right time and maybe he can live up to much of what he has inspired.
    Canada’s ceiling of expectations and hopes has been drawn lower and lower by the current leadership, but even those who tried to invigorate and inspire (like talking ‘reducing poverty’ and ‘building for the future’) in our recent election just couldn’t measure up or cut through the pre-conceived boundaries (or media scrutiny) that shape our current parliament.
    Could a Suzuki have united forces towards a greater good? Is there a First Nations leader who can talk to all Canadians, demonstrating strength and compassion and the feeling of healing to all? What are the conditions that will open the airwaves and our own hearts to this kind of message? Do we need to have a WORSE leader than Harper, or just more of Harper, to get there?

  2. Hey – I like Glen Pearson’s style.
    I want to invite him to bring that kind of common sense to the Grass Roots debating going on right now…

  3. While I agree with Pearson’s assessment of things, I have trouble beleiving that an Obama-like figure will come along and change things.

    Americans have always been able to maintain a core belief in a profound moral and symbolic commonality. ‘Being American’ means something to them. They are varyingly aware of the degree to which this ideal doesn’t always play out in reality, but nevertheless they have an enduring understanding that their country was founded, and is sustained, by the transcendent values and identity of all citizens.

    Canada was not founded on similar principles, and they have not emerged organically over the last century. We are a nation of regional compromises. An uneasy alliance of vastly disparate peoples. Pragmatically, Canada can be thought of as a contractual agreement as much as a nation.

    This has worked for us in many ways. It’s why we are often looked to internationally as an example of productive compromise and unfettered diversity.

    But it may not be sustainable, in the long run. Canada as a nation is largely a fiction. Shared currency, an army, and Don Cherry are superficial distactions. Western alienation, eastern alienation, Quebec nationhood – all of these persist (which is no surprise, given that we built the country in a way that never sought to quash regional interests). It’s worked – often surprisingly well – until recently. But I wonder if our divided nature, our lack of nationhood, is something that will prevent us from addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow. Things like global warming and the changing world economy might be beyond the capabilities of a country built on contractual understandings more than a deeply held affiliation to the Canadian nation.

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