Watching the Republican primaries in the States is an exhausting exercise. I’m both fascinated and repulsed by them: I’m interested in who the GOP thinks both best supports their ideology, which has become increasingly fractured over the last generation, and who they think can win against Barack Obama. At the same time, I don’t like any of the candidates. This isn’t just me speaking as a liberal: this round of candidates just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Each of them has one major personable liability that suggests they would not be worth putting in office, regardless of what party they ran for, and very debate seems to descend even lower in terms of lies, distortion and just plain nastiness. We’ve had debates where the audience cheered executions, and uninsured patients being left to die. A soldier was booed by the audience just for being openly gay, as if laying his life on the line for his country is somehow voided by who he loves. Any type of compromise with Obama, no matter how necessary it is for the party and country’s long-term survival, is seen by the ideologues as a compromise with Satan incarnate (same goes with the parties reversed, but the ideologues on the right have greater power). The fact that some of the party base will not vote for Romney because he is a Mormon tells a whole lot.
I long for another candidate from the other side who didn’t resort to appealing to the populations’ racial resentments and mocking the poor. I’m sick of Republicans treating gay rights as an affront to “Christian morality”. I’m sick of them treating any rules or taxes on the very wealthy as if a mob of undesirables were to get carte blanche to mug them and then spend it all on the same luxuries they’re “entitled” to. If I were American, I’d vote for Barack Obama: not because he has been a perfect president, but his opponents version of America does not include people like me. They seem to be campaigning mainly on promises that the people the voters resent will suffer, and the image of Obama as an alternately diabolical and idiotic Muslim Robin Hood, who wants to destroy capitalism, Christianity and America. It just seems to be another by-product of how dirty politics is getting on both sides. Ideas and vision aren’t enough; you have to literally scare the voter into choosing your brand.
To be honest, I’m getting tired of the whole election already. Wake me up when November arrives and I have a reason to celebrate or complain. I know it’s not even my own country but Canada’s destiny is so closely linked to the United States, it’s not something I can really ignore.
I’ve posted in my other blog about the Brunswick News paywall. I’ve found a few other posts on the matter from Lamespotting and Must Be Dumb. There’s even a blog post on Maclean’s about the subject. It’s not so much the paywall itself that bothers me so much as the inflated price they charge for such low-quality product: today’s paper had a “special report” on the front page about how a lack of snow in Moncton didn’t turn out to mean a lack of fun, and a few weeks ago, the paper saw fit to devote prime front page space to Tim Hortons changing the names of their cup sizes. Is it a case that the people of Moncton want their newspaper to be full of mindless drivel? Brunswick News is Irving: they don’t have to provide hard news or thoughtful analysis because in terms of local coverage, they can just destroy anyone that dares compete with them. It seems like Irving either assumes the people of Moncton (and eastern New Brunswick) are a bunch of rubes and hayseeds, or they want to use their monopoly on the provincial print media to keep people from asking questions about how much power they really have in this province. I wonder if I’m being paranoid when I imagine Irving buying out an underperforming section of the province (say, Miramichi), having it secede from Canada and become a private state that runs on the truck system.