I woke up this morning and I didn't feel cynical. I felt good. I felt hopeful. There's work to be done, and it's time we started doing it.
I put off writing this post all morning. I was having a hard time thinking up some clever way of encapsulating the significance of Barack Obama's victory. So I'm not going to try. Many people, much more clever than I, will be flooding the interwebs with more elegant prose than mine. Rather, I'm going to ask a question:
Where is the Canadian Barack Obama?
I mean, when do we get our turn to be inspired? We face the same challenegs- an ailing planet, an aimless foreign war, and economic turmoil. But a quick look around Canada's political landscape reveals a collection of politicians, some competent, others not, the rest scary...but no figure of Obama-like proportions.
And don't try to tell me we already had our Obama. Trudeau was not the same thing. It was 28 years ago, he messed around with our civil rights, and left us with a bitter legacy of malignant Western conservatism. I also won't accept that our parliamentary system doesn't allow for inspirational figures. The United Kingdom-the common ancestor of every parliamentary system everywhere- somehow produced Tony Blair. Perhaps not of the same historical import of Obama, but a darn site better than the vast snorefest we have here in Canada.
The answer, I think, is that Canadians are far too willing to accept mediocrity. As a middle power defined by a kind of practical centrism, we often mistake the middle path for the middling one. Our leaders our unispiring because we don't ask them to be anything else. But if today has shown us anything, it's that big dreams can pay big rewards. Americans aren't afraid to go for the gusto. And sometimes, they tragically overreach. But last night they voted for a big idea and got a great President.
So c'mon, Canada. Let's not hand the reigns of power to another bowl of cold oatmeal. Next time around, what say we find someone worthy of being our leader.