Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Elections

Explaining Interest in the U.S. Election

Kerry posted this two days ago:
In a somewhat embarrassing display of idealism and naivete, I have decided that it’s perfectly acceptable to be mortified by the fact that Canadians are more interested in the U.S. election than the Canadian election.
Having finished reading Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope yesterday afternoon, it's fair to say I'm one of those Canadians more interested in the American presidential election than the one here quickly boring the populace. I've read far more about the U.S. election, including two books total about or written by the candidates.

Of course, writing that I've read more cumulatively about the U.S. election doesn't mean much considering how long the American's campaign is. But since the announcement of the Canadian election, my interest in our politics has increased only slightly. Does that make me a potential uninformed voter? When you say potentially, then yes.

Here's a question: Why is the U.S. election more interesting than the Canadian election? Is it the same reason why I have the Chelsea-Manchester United match turned on right now and would not do the same if it were a Toronto FC game? You know, one is exciting, good; the other, boring, trifling?

That's not completely my view. The Canadian election is important but when looking at the world at large, its importance is overshadowed by the election in the U.S.

It's far easier to be content about Canadian politics when you are mostly content about the situation of the country. Yes, obvious statement but it's worth acknowledging that despite our problems - and I know we have them - the middle-class existence in Canada doesn't create anxiety. The danger is ignoring this election and allowing for a result that may set the country back, that may make the middle-class existence a cause for anxiety.

That's why I know that while I've been mostly transfixed by U.S. politics for the past year, I need to become familiar with my country's issues. And quickly. Otherwise, what good is my vote?


1 comment:

Kerry said...

Oh, it has more interesting characters and greater historical relevance, not to mention the fact that it only rolls around every four years, a major contrast to the will-they-or-won't-they Canadian environment. And, of course, it has a much larger impact on foreign policy than the Canadian election.

But the fact remains that unless we hold U.S. citizenship, there's nothing we can do in the U.S. election. We can find it interesting and care about it as much as we want — possibly even more than some Americans do — but Canadian voter turnout is probably headed for yet another record-breaking low.