my deeply insightful and provocative views on this mike duffy/stephane dion thing

Nah, just kidding.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe we have officially arrived at the Let’s Just Have the Goddam Election Already, Goddammit juncture of this campaign. The comment boards here are starting to give off a distinctly hysterical Globe and Maily vibe. Plus Stephen Harper actually talked to reporters twice in one day. Clearly Armageddon is nigh.

Let me begin the healing by focusing on an issue left unscrutinized by our many fine political commentators here at macleans.ca: how to make it to election day… alive!

By which I mean… Many of you will be gathering with family this weekend to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. You are probably wondering to yourself: Am I going to want to concuss a family member with the gravy boat because I strenuously disagree with his or her political views.

The answer is yes. Yes, you will.

Let’s face it: for a man who claims to be all about family values, Stephen Harper did no family any favours when he scheduled an election for the day after Thanksgiving.

From coast to coast to coast, crazy uncles, halfwitted aunts and blindingly intolerant grandparents stand poised to sully the festive merriment with quarter-baked opinions, offensive remarks and a veritable horn-a-plenty of factual errors.

If, for instance, my Uncle Robert were to show up for Thanksgiving dinner – and I am reliably informed he will not, what with him being tied up in my trunk right now – the ideological argument between he and myself might escalate to the point that I would feel compelled to tie him up and put him in my trunk.

Indeed, in my family, we’re still marveling that there were no fatalities from last Christmas. Just to give you a sense of what to expect this weekend, here are some highlights of Certain Global Geo-Political Developments as Analyzed and Interpreted by My Relatives on December 25, 2007:

1. Uncle Robert: “If Iran makes a move, that changes everything. If they go nuclear, that changes everything.”

Aunt Karen: “What does it change?”

Uncle Robert: “Everything!”

(This exchange was followed by a captivating if logically dubious 10-minute soliloquy in which Uncle Robert sketched a scenario that began with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waking up on the wrong side of the bed and ended with China and Russia declaring war on the United States. “It’ll happen, mark my words!” he said in conclusion, before catching my eye and adding persuasively: “Get me another beer, would you?”

2. “Politicians – they’re all the same. They’re all a bunch of liars.” – Grandma. (Grandma always says this whenever she’s losing an argument, and it always wins over the table. Damn her.)

3. “What I’m interested to see is whether Ban Ki-moon can do anything to change the UN, which is corrupt and useless.” – Aunt Karen

(This remark set off an intellectually stimulating episode in which a dozen grown men and women repeatedly uttered aloud the name Ban Ki-moon and debated whether, as UN secretary-general names go, it is ultimately going to be more fun to say than Boutros Boutros-Ghali. My view: no, but it will beat U Thant by a nose.)

4. “I don’t know why they replaced Bob Barker. You can’t replace Bob Barker.” – Grandma. (There were no dissenters.)

5. Proposed candidates from a lengthy discussion of who was currently the most important person in the world:

  • Bill Gates
  • Bill Clinton
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (“If Iran makes a move…!”)
  • Oprah

Oprah was raised by my brother-in-law Brent who, when challenged, kept saying that, OK, fine, maybe she isn’t the most important person in the world, but then continued to describe her attributes as though he truly believed she just might be the most important person in the world. Sentiment in the room ran against Brent, though most of us acknowledged that Oprah was the most important person in the world to Oprah.

So listen:

Ever the devotee of service journalism and the pursuit of family harmony, I hereby present my foolproof two-point plan for how to react when Grandpa gets you all riled up during Thanksgiving dinner with his ridiculous political views:

  1. Put down the gravy boat. Breathe deeply. Count to 10. Now pick up the turkey fork and jab it into Grandpa’s thigh. Feel that, Gramps? [Jiggle it a bit.] Feel that?? Remember that feeling when you want to open your trap at Christmas.
  2. Pass the cranberries, please.

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