I haven't been posting lately because my real job is very busy, and the U.S. election coverage has gotten so overwhelming, so completely in-your-face, that it hardly seems worth talking about Ontario politics. (We will get to the OLP race, and soon.)
However, I will comment on one aspect of the race that has become increasingly clear, and that is the fact that the entirety of Obama's appeal rests on the fact that he promises people a bright future that he has no intention of delivering, and that people know he is not capable of delivering. Both parties in this mutual delusion prefer this fantasy world to the real one, and believe in it so completely that the real world has ceased to exist.
And, critically, crucially important to sustaining this fantasy world is the collection of monsters under the bed that Obama would protect people from. Things like unfettered capitalism and deepening social inequality and narrow self interest.
The trouble is that Obama, and by extension, the Ontario Liberals, and all liberals, need these problems to sustain their delusions and as a result they cannot do anything about them, and they don't WANT to do anything about them.
Here is an article that talks about how anti-black racism has risen during the first four years of Obama's presidency. In the article we read that "When Obama won in 2008, pundits proclaimed a new “post-racist” America." Silly pundits. If we had a post-racist America, then journalists wouldn't be able to write articles where they wring their hands about racism in America, and Canadians wouldn't be able to read those articles and feel shocked about how America is torn by hatred and feel smug about how there is no racism in their own country and how everyone gets along perfectly up here, and how our elections aren't bought with big money, and all the rest of it.
Except, if you read the Saturday edition of the Star, you will find Martin Regg Cohn's article about how the Ontario Liberal leadership race is at this moment being bought by big money. But pay this no heed, for everyone knows that it is conservatives that further the interests of big money. The Liberals, like their hero Obama from whom they take direction, fancy themselves grand redistributors of wealth and enforcers of equality, fighters of racism and devotees of Justin Trudeau, who will end cynicism in politics by himself without any help from his daddy.
They are brave soldiers fighting the demons on the right and on the slightly-to-the-left, and they are always victorious because their cause is just and noble, and if they have a few corporations give a billion or two to their leadership race, well, it all balances out in the end.
If you ask a Liberal to answer for the shortcomings of their regime in Ontario, or for their ideological allies in Washington, they have a ready-made answer for you: "There is still more to do." Yes, of course there is. There always is. We can't, for example, really do anything about racism in America. And not because hatred is an emotion that people feel. That's the honest answer. What we can do, however, is "donate" $5 million of Ontario dollars towards a human rights museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that, not entirely coincidentally, may also never get built. And the principle is the same. There can be no questions asked about the money spent or whether things are getting a little excessive even though nobody doubts the intentions were good. $5 million is a small price to pay to sustain a delusion.
Because I just now wrote, "$5 million is a small price to pay to sustain a delusion," some Liberal somewhere will melt that down and make it into a quote that says I think human rights are "a delusion" should I ever choose to run for office, which I won't. They know that's not what I was saying. Doesn't matter. Obama attacks Romney for being out of touch with the common American, even though you would forgiven for thinking the common American had less of a problem with Romney being rich than with Obama being black if you believe the article I quoted at the top of this blogpost about racism in America. Obama is more out of touch with racist, racist Americans than Romney is! Uh uh. Nope. There I go thinking again. This doesn't require thought.
What if one day Obama got really pissed off about racism in America and decided to ban racism? No, really! Just straight up ban racism. Anyone who expresses racist sentiments should be forced to turn their property over to the government. That'll show 'em! That'll show those Tea Partiers who's boss! Ehhhh....nope. That's going too far. But why is it going too far? Why, if racism is such a problem that social scientists and journalists and Ontario Liberals and other useless people can make a living trying and failing to stop it, shouldn't we just ban it? We ban lots of stuff we don't like, like plastic bags for example. Why not racism? Why not jail terms and the death penalty for racism? Because if hate was banned then we couldn't fool people into thinking we're making progress in stopping people from feeling an emotion anymore, silly. It would be banned, and after you ban something and it continues to be a problem, what do you have left????
To truly understand how progressives really, really don't want to make any substantive progress fighting corporations and racism and all the stuff they complain about, you have to do what I do and talk to them and read what they write. You have to see the glee in their eyes when some ultramoron of a Republican goes and says that being raped is no excuse for having an abortion. Jackpot! Forget the wacko religious beliefs of Republicans who believe life is a miracle. A Republican, or Conservative, blowing it in public is a real miracle for a progressive! Hallelujah! And yea, at the second debate, verily, Mitt Romney said "Bring me binders full of women," and there was much rejoicing.
But aren't these Liberals supposed to be horrified by racism and sexism and the mixing of God and politics? Why is it so funny when these people say these awful things? Why the jokes? Is a woman wearing a giant binder for a Halloween costume supposed to be fighting sexism? Or is it supposed to be an ironic nod, a nod that says, "Yeah, we don't really care about this equality nonsense any more than you do, and this is just for lulz"? Without Mitt Romney, what the hell would these people have worn for Halloween? Definitely not a sexy witch costume! We're fighting sexism here, not encouraging it!
I'm sure that those on the left would be shocked to learn that those on the right actually try to not say ridiculous stuff during campaigns, but it never seems to work! If they didn't say something crazy today, they said something crazy 20+ years ago, and that's just as bad and works just as well. And when they don't say anything ridiculous, there's always that old standby of the hidden agenda. If people on the right aren't saying something stupid, that's only because they're trying really hard not to, whereas people on the left don't have to try. And you can rest assured that the right-wing base really, really, wants them to say something stupid and lose the election. The more hardcore of a conservative you are, the bigger your death wish is. The choice is between "you lose", and "you lose".
Campaigns are not campaigns. They are rituals. Ritual smacking of the right for saying, doing, and thinking stuff that is not socially acceptable. The ritual is a substitute for actual social action. It's all most people are comfortable with, and that's the way it is and we like it. Don't try to change it. You'll spoil the lovely fantasy of a better world that the left keeps pushing towards and never arrives at.
The real world can never match the fantasy. And now you know why.