a message of hope hopefully

Dear Uma: A most exciting few days; a royal wedding, the death of Osama Bin Laden, and as the cherry on top, a federal election.

Dear Uma:

A most exciting few days; a royal wedding, the death of Osama Bin Laden, and as the cherry on top, a federal election.

It’s too much for me, I find; I am no longer accustomed to having so many things to deal with all at once and so chose to sail my ship through the three media storms of a romantic wedding, a celebration of the death of a ferocious and violent terrorist leader, and the often comedic scene of the country’s election, in a state of calm interest, greatly abetted by vodka martinis.

I do love the all-encompassing nature of a vodka martini; it takes one smoothly through love, death, and hilarity with the appropriate emotion allotted to each one and yet without too much of any one thing. It takes years of practice, however, to accomplish this ideal state of being; too many martinis heightens the feelings to a degree inappropriate, whereas I have found two per event puts me in exactly the right place at the right time with the added benefit of remembering how and why I got there.

The wedding was perfect, of course, and though I tried mightily I could not manage to watch the entire show, even in the company of my invited guests. Everyone else made it through and no one seemed to mind my sleeping on the floor after a couple of hours. I watched the highlights on the internet the next day and that was what I ought to have done in the first place; it was a highlights-only sort of event, appearing to my mind to be a sort of blur of strange headgear and the glittering outfits of various guards and attendants, all of whom were dressed far more elaborately than the bride.

I have never pretended to understand the Canadian fetish for all things royal, so all I can say is the bride and groom were pretty and seemed happy with the whole shebang. There was some expressed dissatisfaction about the title conferred on the couple – they are to be a duke and a duchess rather than a prince and a princess and no one I have asked seems to know the reason. For all I know, a duke trumps a prince and a duchess a princess.

The death of Osama Bin Laden, and the media coverage of it, seemed to me to be somewhat brutal, like a bygone age of savagery, without the television and the internet. The victorious tribes gathering to whoop and holler around open fires, waving talismans and congratulating one another. Really, the man was to all intents and purposes doing no more than most leaders throughout human history have done: attempting to make life better for his people in accordance with his own ideas of how that should happen, and with the same disregard for other lives as leaders everywhere have exhibited and continue to exhibit.

I am not saying I applaud him, of course, but the lip-smacking over his death was a bit overdone. And as always in this brave new world there is the element of suspicion as to whether or not he has really been killed or if it is a ruse to keep us all terrified of terrorists and thus ready to relinquish more and more of our civil rights to our own governments. I imagine Wikileaks will be soon letting us know the truth of the whole matter.

Now, closer to home, the election. It started off being rather boring, and I was not alone in finding it so; the political pundits gathered daily and nightly to mourn the lack of juice in this unwanted election, and the indifference of the Canadian public was often remarked, as was the apathy of youth. Then, a surprise; the NDP had a ‘surge’ in Quebec and ended up being the opposition party. Canadian electoral history, right before our eyes. This is nice; I like Layton’s face, with the moustache that looks like a strip of porcupine and his happy squinty eyes.

The Green Party leader got her seat – another first, and a refreshing one. May’s speech was charming and human and idealistic and we need a dash of that in these times of cynicism and political tiredness. The Liberals just got trounced. I read a couple of Ignatieff’s books when the election was announced and I was impressed by the depth of his knowledge and vision but couldn’t see it translating into politics.

His look was all wrong, too; he looks like one of the guys I see having coffee in Tags in the morning: rumpled and unkempt, though friendly and approachable. When I watched him speechifying he was unconvincing, somehow, and I think it was because he was himself not convinced of what he was saying. I found myself thinking as I did when I first heard Arthur Mitchell, our Yukon Liberal leader, giving a talk: This hound won’t hunt.

All this happened with a tepid voter turnout not much better than the last election, a fact which will lead to much analyzing and discussion, as will the fact that some young people voted for the first time.

Remember when you described Harper as having Weimaraner eyes and giving you the heebie jeebies? Well, he is now our leader again, only more. I think his eyes are like those in a taxidermist’s drawer, and I too, get a feeling of deep chill from the man; I think we can listen for the sound of jackboots in the next four years.

He showed tremendous arrogance and disrespect with a minority government and I cannot imagine having the power of a majority will make him any more accountable or willing to listen to anyone who isn’t part of his agenda. I hunched he would get his majority, despite the fellow who said the Canadian public’s feeling about Harper was like that of a woman dating a passable man: “I’ll take your flowers and chocolates but I’m not going to sleep with you.” Well, the goodies won out, and now she is about to get screwed.

I am glad it is over and that the sheeple have spoken and that there were a few tiny rays of light in the overall murky response to the possibility of change in our Canadian government.

I am glad William and Kate made it through their big day without incident, which is more than can be said for some of the other celebrants of their wedding, those ones who partook of the party in places far from London.

I am glad Bin Laden has been taken care of, one way or the other, and that there is one less person to hate and fear.

I am glad Amisi has agreed to do her tinking and wobbling outdoors now and that we no longer need to live with a cat toilet in our house.

Life is good.



Heather Bennett is a writer who lives in Watson Lake.

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