I’m one of those hopeless guys without any politics. That doesn’t mean I don’t ravenously consume political tinged articles from all manner of newspapers and online sites. The last one I read was about how it would be a big money shot if someone can snap a current photo of the vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan’s abs, and to a larger degree, why haven’t we seen his abs yet? The article also raised the possibility that Paul Ryan has ‘manorexia.’ I’m not sold on that yet, but he is whip thin. At 6’2”, a buck sixty three, you know he’s a dedicated exerciser. Just get lost in his his taught arms and pecs, clear skin, and chiselled face; throw in his Herman Munster hairline, baby blue eyes, Ayn Rand Individualism, and let’s be honest...he’s in Pat Bateman territory.
But who am I to judge? I am one of those awful men without any god or politics. It’s like Lady Gaga says, I was born this way. Born a man who cannot identify himself as a Liberal or Conservative, Catholic or Scientologist. So it is here I raise my glass to the nobody‘s! An empty dank dark corner of the internetosphere. Dare I say we are the most sane in this partisan world, the most sensible when discussing politics, religion, civics, etc. We are not as biased in our discourses, we come from a purer place.
I’ve always had problems officially identifying with groups. There are some issues, be them social, health, military, big government, small government, where I may lean Liberal and some where I may lean Conservative. But am I one of these things? No. Sometimes I wish I could be one or the other and better identify with my fellow people. I could go to Conventions and talk to empty chairs. But I can’t. That chip is missing from the program.
Nothing drives this point home for me more than watching coverage of the U.S. election. Most candidates possess a snarling fervour and unending willingness to throw the other party under the bus. There is an acute sadness to it all: Jack would happily destroy America if he could beat out Bob for the promotion, if only Jack could win. In American politics people don’t work with each other for a greater good, they attack each other to win at all costs. Maybe America never was one country. More than ever, it’s the old embarrass and shame game. Make the other guy LOOK bad. It doesn’t matter what YOU’RE for, just KILL the other guy (but when the Olympics are on, pause for a couple weeks and hold hands [even if the hand you’re holding is sweaty, and even worse, a sweaty invisible Obama hand, just suck it up and scream together, “U-S-A-! U-S-A-! U-S-A-!”)
…Doesn’t that feel better? Now they can go back to living with the enemy. I read about this poll in an article, that forty six percent of Canadian Conservatives would rather be Bin Laden’s neighbour in Abbottabad than a Liberal’s in Abbottsford. Fuck it, I’m just going to say it, or type it, or whatever…it should be Obama Vs. Romney. The death cage match. Whoever survives the two man fight to the death earns the presidency. Done deal, pal. It’s only fair. They can definitely hit below the belt; the only rule is: no smearing…with bodily fluids.
After consuming a healthy amount of what passes for political debate in the U.S. on television, the only conclusion I come to is that the Republicans are the right hand and the Liberals are the left hand, and I am sitting here watching the whole American monster electoral machine masturbate all over itself with both hands. Sometimes the right is jerking, but then that hand gets tired -- and without missing a beat -- the left hand takes over and keeps on stroking away like a jackhammer tearing up a city street. But the result is always the same…a chalky, goopy mess all over the stomach, and everyone gets it. Some get drenched and some get a residual drizzle, a barely perceptible sprinkle. That’s the measure of success, the measure of our dreams, whether you can towel off the mess or if you drown in it.
It has always seemed to me that politics in years past was more about loftier ideals like righteousness and social justice; actually making the country a better place for all. Now it’s about slinging mud, polarizing the electorate with emotionally resonant issues, making you seethe with rage at the other side. Though I am man without any god or politics I care deeply about justice, just like many of you out there. I care about what is basically right and good, the things that needn’t be explained that grow in your gut. I feel prideful about my country -- though it is incredibly wasteful and bureaucratic, how can I be against universal healthcare? If the government is going to mostly pay for something isn’t healthcare number one on that list?
But maybe I’m lying to you when I say I have no politics. I have voted. I do vote (albeit less now than in my early twenties -- call it apathetic pessimism). I’ve voted for ‘em all at one point or another -- Liberal, NDP, Green Party, I think I voted for the Communist party as a lark once the novelty of being eligible to vote seriously tapered off and I was dissatisfied voting like a normal person (normal being Lib or Con). Upon putting a thick X in the circle and walking smug and ironic out of the booth, I wondered if I was the only one to vote for the Communist party in my district in suburban middle-class Brampton. I have yet to vote Conservative. It may happen but probably not. There is a subconscious aversion to Conservatism that runs through me so maybe I am a closet Liberal Commie Pinko bastard, who knows.
Back in the late 90’s and early 00‘s, the heyday of my joy with democratic participation, my parents would co-opt my vote and tell me during dinner the night before the election to, “Just vote Liberal.” There was no explanation, I just did what I was told. My parents have this thing where they don’t talk about who they vote for. It’s uncouth in some way. Impolite to some degree. Not condescending in any appreciable way, it‘s kind of like salary -- you just don‘t talk about it with others. So I never figured out exactly why they wanted me to vote Liberal, I simply trudged my stoner ass into the booth stall and X’ed my local Liberal representative.
During the most recent mayoral election in Toronto where Rob Ford emerged victorious I only had to walk fifty feet to the church next to my three floor walk up to vote. There was no excuses: no subway, bus, AND streetcar journey to get to some school or community centre in the ‘hood. I only had to put on a pair of jeans and walk next door.
But I was driving back from work, and was eager to get home after another grinding, soul destroying day at the office. I had totally forgotten it was even vote night until I drove by the church with my left turn blinker on, ready to pull into my building’s lot when I saw a a suspicious amount of people milling about outside, where it was usually closed for business most evenings. From my experience, church business took place early in the day. Then I clued in and remembered that, indeed, tonight was the night to cast a vote for the next mayor of Toronto. Cunt-fucking Christ on a Cruci-cracker! I don’t waaaaannnnt to vote, Mommy! I don’t want to engage in any more social functioning today. That’s fucking it!
I walked into my apartment and placed a nice amount of high grade marijuana into my glass bong, thought about changing the fetid water, and decided to light up instead. I exhaled a massive plume out my bedroom window that is almost at street level on Bloor, the smoke dissipating into the faces of three thirty-something’s on their way to the church. Sensing the unmistakably pungent odour they looked in my direction and all six of their eyes locked on mine and I just stared back at them blankly. Maybe I just changed their vote. I was now definitely much too stoned to vote, consumed with a cup of glassy euphoria that heightened comedy and music with a dash of paranoia. There’s no way I can stand in line just to saunter into a curtained booth and put an ’X’ (an ’X’? What does that even mean MaaaaahhhhhNNNNNN!)
Though it’s a moot point now, during the campaign I didn’t know who I was going to vote for though I had read a few articles and couldn’t help but catch some t.v. coverage of the candidates. I didn’t know much about Rob Ford at the time, only that he was a large ruddy faced balding blondy councillor who was known to go on and on about government waste, and was very vocal about his frugality as an elected representative. You wouldn’t catch him ordering a $16 orange juice at a swank hotel in London.
What slightly endeared me to him was marijuana, if you want to know the truth. Ten years prior he was charged with impaired driving and pot possession in Florida. If this bloated dipshit lard ass could get nailed for being drunk and stoned and then go on to become mayor of Canada’s largest city, that would be something. He’s plain spoken and to the point, so I was leaning in his direction if and/or when I made it to the polls.
As ordinary citizens ambled by my bedroom window I wished Rob good luck and packed another hit in the bong. If it’s meant to be, then he certainly doesn’t need my help. Just like in Jurassic Park, the right candidate finds a way, too.
The next day at work I was happy for the man. He had won! Wow! Dreams really do come true. Ford was the embodiment of the everyman and he really pulled it off, gave the finger to the intelligentsia of Toronto (though Ford comes from a well-to-do family, when entering politics one has to choose a personality, and he‘s chosen ‘everyman’ so he really isn‘t part of the intelligentsia). He’s the kind of man you can go out with and have a beer and discuss body parts and whether the Argos have a shot this year. But I’m a little concerned about his weight. Though he’s a Ford, he’s not built like a rock; definitely sink like one though.
Now he is the mayor of our fine city. Has been for years. There may not be a ‘mayor’ in front of Rob Ford’s name much longer if he’s found guilty in his conflict of interest case. I haven’t read much about it, but my gut instinct is telling me it’s a hatchet job. Ousted from office over this? It’s conflicting for me, too, because I don’t like his persona very much and don’t like him as mayor of the fine city of Toronto, but this isn’t the way to take a guy out. He could lose is mayoral authority over a lousy $3,000 that went to his charity for equipment? If he was knowingly and willingly engaging in this why would he launder a paltry 3,000 bucks? And also -- fuck! -- this dude is out of control with football. He spends more time coaching than mayoring (not a word, but wtf it works). There are palpable undercurrents of disdain that radiate from his being during his press conferences, and he looks so darn happy when he’s cavorting on the field with all those beefy ethnic teens, why didn’t he become a coach instead? Probably be a lot happier, a hell of a lot closer to self-actualization.
My parents didn’t live anywhere near Toronto during the Ford campaign, but they still told me not to vote for him like they had told me to vote for the Liberals in years past. “He’s a buffoon!” my Mom would tell me over the phone.
“I think I’ll vote for the Green Party, Ma. Once the Green Party become as big as the Liberals or Conservatives, then I’ll help push through another little guy. The little guy is always more honest. Has to be to survive at all. Plus, what difference does it really make? All the strings are pulled behind the curtains. Maybe I just won‘t even bother.”
“Well, if you don’t vote than you can’t complain.”
“Good, I want to complain, so I won’t vote.”