Thursday, September 27, 2007

A political message

Now, I will grant you that I'd rather have my tongue beaten paper-thin with a meat tenderizer than vote Conservative, and I live in fear that they will win the upcoming election, and destroy everything I hold dear. But as someone who thinks democracy is a good thing, I want there to be actual choices for people come election time so that voting doesn't become an exercise in 'Who is less evil?', so I'm considering this my public service for the week.

Attn: person who is running John Tory's campaign

Hi there,

You don't know me, and probably don't like me, what with all the crazy liberal thinking I do, but I want to help you. Not enough to get you elected, you understand, but enough to ensure that democracy really works. So listen closely:

Stop the attack ads. Now.

They are nonsensical, using stats that aren't even remotely true, and prey on people's darkest fears. Which is just douchey. The whole "Killers are walking around on bail and it is all Dalt's fault" premise is especially annoying because bail isn't part of the province's jurisdiction. It is part of the federal bailiwick, and even then, we have this pesky little thing where people have rights, so judges are loathe to just lock people up without bail pending their trials.

I know it is super easy to go with a whole "Liberals are evil, and if you love your family, you'll vote against them" because you don't need to do any research, you just make stuff up and slap it on the air, thus allowing you to go home to your families. But attack ads don't really work in Canada (remember the whole "Jean Chretien's face is deformed so he obviously can't lead the country" ad? Or more recently, the "kitten eater" email? I'm thinking you're looking for a different outcome than that in which those two resulted.) Canadians seem to get more angry with the attacker than the attackee, unlike the States, where attacking is always the right choice.

Plus, it looks shifty that you want to be in charge, but can't articulate reasons why you'd be a good choice. As my mother always says, "Because is not a reason". So give people some reason to think that you have a plan, at least, a plan beyond "Dalton sucks". That way, you might actually get your wish (in which case, I may need to flee the province. I survived the Harris years, and I have no wish to go back. Shudder.) but at least if you are chosen, it will be because the people chose you and your policies, and didn't just vote against another Liberal government. That is the goal of democracy, isn't it?

Now I know, if you change tacks, you will have a lot of work to do, and I don't just mean coming up with actual stands on stuff, though you should do that too. You'll have to convince people to listen to you. I know that all of my friends change the channel when your ads come on, mostly because we know there is no actual political discourse going on, just slander. And we all know, slander is only fun when you are sitting in a bar attacking people who aren't there. It has no place in politics.

Lastly, even if you don't want to take my advice and develop ads that aren't of the attack variety, could you please take the current crop of ads off the air? For me? I know there isn't much time before the election, but I'm finding I have to charge across my place quite frequently, so that I can change the channel before I'm subjected to yet another attack ad. And one of these times, I'm going to end up skidding into a wall or something and injure myself. So please, if not for democracy, then for my health. I know that if you get elected, you'll appreciate it if I'm not sucking money out of our health care system.

Yours Truly,


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