National Politics, On A Global Stage… On My Blackberry…

In the past few days, we have seen a variety of events, playing out for our supposed enjoyment, or betterment.

The Paralympics wound to a close, and, as sad as we are to see the athletes go… all parties have to end, and so best it goes off when everyone is excited, energized and enthusiastic !

I was not able to attend any Paralympic Sporting Events, but through Twitter, I was apprised of successes and losses, and felt I was “part of the action.”

The Prime Minister of Canada, to much fanfare and hoo haw, made a big commotion about bringing his message to the people, and embracing social media… which proves that the wonks in the Conservative Party have NO idea how YouTube works.  They laid out an “unscripted” 40 plus  minute video.  With NO regard to the average length or attention span of the public… they laid out a long… dragged out… bilingual snoozefest.  It was, for all intents and purposes, a regular question and answer session, just released on Video… but waaaay too lengthy to go viral.

It was on YouTube, but QUITE difficult to find, by comparison to the Prime Minister’s foray into Pop Singer Territory, when he sang a Beatles song with YoYo Ma !

The American Government, amid much hue and cry, hand-wringing and name-calling, passed a Health Care Reform, which will (reportedly) extend Medical Coverage to help more people.

There were banners saying it was Communism… Socialism… Barbaric… Overbearing…

I find it ironic, that the country that leads the free world, fears putting into place a program that, at its root, tries to help people.

After the vote, President Obama spoke, and said, in part…  “We did not fear our Future, we shaped it.”Barack Obama - Yes we can -

Throughout the day, there was a discussion on Twitter, using the #HCR(Health Care Reform) hash tag.  Some were for, some against… but using the power of Social Media, I was again able, amidst other chores, tasks and programs, to keep up with the debate, and had tears running down my face, when I read the Tweet heralding their success…

I have a few American friends.  Some like this plan, and some fear it.

I believe time will show it to be a good thing… especially my friends who have serious debilitating diseases.

But if it isn’t ?  I bet I’ll hear about it on Twitter, first !



A Love Story About Words…

I love words.

Singularly, or when strung together well, words can be beautiful things.

Of course, words can hurt, and be harsh… but those are not the words and phrases I’m speaking of today.

This topic was brought to mind by the State of the Union Address by President Barack Obama, last evening.

Some of you who know me, and that I am Canadian, might wonder why I would watch it ?

To me, it was an occasion not to watch, but to listen.

To let the phrases crafted by expert wordsmiths, delivered to the Podium of an exceptional speaker, wash over me in waves.

I was raised in a house where, frequently at dinner, my Father would discuss the sometimes subtle differences between words…for example “Gourmet” versus “Gourmand”.

My favourite word is soliloquy.  Beautiful to say, and a singular word, representing a monologue, that, when done well, is poignant and well remembered, as this passage from Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.

I do not distinguish between political parties in my enjoyment… and I think it needs to be said that there is a vast difference between the well-rehearsed talking-point recitations of too many politicians, and the soaring and inspiring words of great orators.

Listening to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words today, (other than the occasional jarring reference to Negros,) has every bit the impact that I’m sure it did in the Sixties.

There have, in my lifetime, been only a few individuals, who could inspire a people, with their words…

Pierre Elliott Trudeau… Nelson Mandela… His Holiness the Dalai Lama… Barbara Jordan… Ronald Reagan… Bill Clinton… Barack Obama…

And some whose gifts have been recorded for our review:

Winston Churchill… Franklin D. Roosevelt… John F. Kennedy… Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

There are, I’m certain, other examples that I am forgetting at this moment, but the aspect of this that saddens me, is that it seems to me that the ones who lead, should be able to communicate beyond a talking-point or sound-byte… but it seems to be increasingly more common for leaders to hammer a series of bulletin points, but be unable to expound or expand upon their views.

Prior to the last Canadian election, there were a series of Kitchen Table debates.  The leaders from the major Political Parties were there… but the most spirited discussion, took place before the event, in a series of heated arguments as to whether the Green Party would be invited.  The debate itself, was an embarrassing display of mud-slinging, talking over each other, and sound-byte party-line political-handbook readings.

I recently entered into a discussion on Twitter, (which given the 140 character constraint, is a trick,) trying to discern why there were no engaging characters, in Canadian Politics.

I don’t know that we came to any firm conclusions, but we were all saddened by the lack of prospects, and the beige homogenous quality that, regardless of creed or colour, seems to have infected and affected the people that we elect to represent us in Ottawa.  None with the quality of assurance and confidence of a natural born leader, and the eloquence and ability to extemporaneously speak, without sounding foolish.

So it was, on a Wednesday night… I sat down and basked in the joy of listening to the words written by an inspired team, that President Obama delivered.  Words crafted, and honed…  Displaying light and shadow… Humour and sincerity… Hope and optimism.

Beautiful words.