There was a moment yesterday, during the first of Rob Ford’s unforgettable press conferences in which he respectively admitted to smoking crack, and then later in the day, tearfully apologized for it, where I felt a jolt of excitement. I’d say it was something akin to a feeling of civic engagement or maybe closer to political schadenfraude. For a split second I thought, well this is a free press at its most glorious, bringing down a corrupt political figure, live, in real time, for all the world to see. In another moment I was applauding the democratic process, one which allows us to hold our leaders accountable. What a great day for the “system” I thought. It’s been that kind of month for Canadians who follow politics on the federal and municipal level. Senate scandals, drug scandals, a PMO that is, for the first time in many years, visibly feeling the heat of its opposition.
But that feeling didn’t last very long. If I had to pinpoint it, I guess it lasted roughly between “Yes, I smoked crack” and “God bless, Toronto.”
I was one of very few people who didn’t “Share” or “Like” or “Retweet” that infamous Russell Brand interview with Jeremy Paxman where he called, rather charmingly and chest-revealingly for a ‘revolution’. An undefined, apathetic revolution that for all I gathered, consisted of saving the planet by not voting. Abstaining from casting your ballot is not something I would ever advocate for, but yesterday, chest deep in the sweaty gong show that was Crackgate, during Pamela Wallin’s crocodile-tear stained presser where she wondered whither the rule of law in our great nation - I finally said, fuck it. It’s not apathy, absolutely not, it’s straight up anger. It’s resentment. It’s fatigue.
When grumpy people talk about politicians, they tend to use the old repose that they’re ‘all the same.’ And it’s never been truer. There they are - white, affluent, disconnected and clumped together in the centre in a race to superfluity. The most inspiring bones they throw at us these days are sons of once great leaders with admittedly nice hair. I can’t think of anything more cynical than imagining that Justin Trudeau’s halted press conferences and awkward moments in the House amount to the millenial version of Trudea-mania. I’ll pass thanks.
"Change" and "Hope" have become drone strikes and wire tapping. Canada’s "Orange Crush" has turned brown, crashing against the shores of our political landscape as well-timed soundbites that amount to very little.
They say we’re a generation of unsurpassed political apathy - that we stand for nothing and fight for even less. I say it’s trickle down malaise, if the people in power have nothing but contempt for their positions, how can we be expected to laud the process that put them there in the first place?
Revolution? Sure. It can’t be worse than this.