Friday, 07 September 2012
I watched parts of the Democratic convention the past couple of nights. I skipped most of the preliminary speakers. I did watch Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama. They were just amazing. I was especially impressed with Bill Clinton's speech. It was lengthy (over 40 minutes) but I was glued to my seat. No wonder people pay him tons of money for his speeches. I did try to watch a bit of the Republican convention a week earlier. I didn't stick around too long. It just felt too slick. I did catch a bit of the bizarre Clint Eastwood performance. I felt bad for Clint as I really enjoy his movies.
My cousin and his wife came up to visit my family a few weeks ago. I found out a couple of years ago that they like the Republican party. One year he started talking about how Barrack Obama had set up death panels. I looked at him and then at my dad. I didn't know who was becoming more senile. I was stunned how a well educated man, one who was also well traveled could believe stuff like that. When he came up this year, I avoided talking about politics. Until another relative asked him about the upcoming US election. I rolled my eyes. This time, I saw a sudden transformation from a happy, laughing man who was enjoying his dinner to a rabid, angry man who spewed hatred. He saw me staring at him. He changed his tone a bit - "Well, I'm sure he is a nice man. I just disagree with his policies. They will destroy our country." Luckily the conversation moved back to food and he quickly became the friendly, genial cousin that I know.
When my brother travels to the US on business, the one topic he avoids is politics. It's too divisive. Conversations ground to a halt. People become tense. It wasn't a good way to start a business meeting.
What worries me is that I'm seeing the same thing in Canada. Disagreement on policies & politics turn into deep hatred and bitterness. I guess anger, hatred and divisiveness can win elections.