Fearing the long lines on Election Day – this Thursday, June 12th, in case you’re living in a Canadian cave – I made use of the advance polling station available to me in my neighbourhood.
I took my place in a much shorter line, waited my turn, and cast my vote early last week.
Most of you know who I voted for and why.
I wasn’t too happy about it then, and I’m not too happy about it now. But it’s the way it is, I’m afraid, and there doesn’t seem to be all that much I can do about it.
One thing I am happy about is the book of essays I’m reading – Points of View by Rex Murphy.
One of my co-workers mentioned he’d found the book for a steal at a nearby thrift store, and he encouraged me to flip through it. As I did, I found myself chuckling at his witty comments, and I was surprised, and delighted, that it reminded me – at least in terms of style – of E.B. White.
So I ordered a used copy online.
Like many of you, I knew Murphy from his segments of same name on the CBC’s The National, and I also knew him as the controversial global warming denier. The first thing made me eager to read his book, but the second made a significant case against reading it.
But I’m happy I’ve found it.
The first essay is titled “An Ode to a Leader (Huh? Where?)”. In it, Murphy writes about Martin Luther King, Jr., Pierre Trudeau, and Pope John Paul II. He describes these men as real leaders, and outlines why he believes this is so. I found it hard to argue with anything he wrote – perhaps I didn’t try hard enough – but then the following, um, er, follows:
To speak of leadership in reference to Dr. King, Mr. Trudeau, or John Paul II, and then use the same word to canvass the ructions of Paul Martin and Jean Chretien or [Preston] Manning and [Stockwell] Day, brings a little of the same uneasy chill as when we speak of the novels of Jacqueline Susann and then, staying more or less on the same planet, speak of the novels of James Joyce. The words may be the same, but they’ve clearly crossed some invisible and frightening frontier.
Leadership, as we speak of it now, is a much-shrunken concept. With the Liberals, it is not much more than changing seats at a table and, aside from its spare dividends as political gossip, has little to offer a bemused or indifferent public . . .
I don’t think Canadians are waiting for an “I have a dream” speech from any leader. Something more spacious than “My turn” or “Hey, I’m new” might charm them, however.