Just as in the United States, it's federal election campaign season up here in Canada. This time around the campaign will drag on for ... 78 days. The average length of the past 10 campaigns prior to 2015 was 45.8 days. The standard is 37 days.
How do Canadians feel about a protracted 78-day campaign? Bob Brown, interviewed in The Calgary Herald, called the move "ridiculous," but one that wouldn't benefit any of the three parties in the long run. "I don't see how issues can be dealt with any greater in three months than they can in 30 days," he said. "There are only so many issues. What do you accomplish by running that discussion out over three months?"
Well ... the answer is pretty easy to figure out. Money. The Conservative Party of Canada has more cash than the Liberal and the New Democratic Party. The longer the campaign, the more cash the Conservatives can throw into TV commercials. And since they're Conservative commercials ... they're filled with innuendo, ad hominem attacks, and flat out lies. The Conservative Party of Canada -- aka the Tories -- differs from USA Conservatives in that they are not howling-at-the-moon crazy. For sure they are Creepy Capitalists who don't mind flirting with Fascism, but they keep the flat-out drooling lunatics away from cameras and microphones.
Regardless, the whole mess is over on October 19. There's a very real possibility that Stephen Harper won't get a majority government and that will slow the Conservative agenda. We'll find out in 73 days.
Y'see, I'm an American. I'm inured to two years of torture. Six months of blather-blather-yak-yak by haircuts on TV about who may or may not run, followed by 18 months of grisly campaigning by grandstanding fools. Eventually we get to vote for one of the two corporatists handpicked by our Dark Overlords.
If I ever get depressed about How Things Work in America, I just remember Emma Goldman's quote -- "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal," and I perk right up.
But, 78 days ... I could get behind that. Just imagine only 37 days of hardcore campaigning ... I'd positively swoon. The Great Pretenders would flame out in an afternoon. We'd have the pre-chosen-Two smacking each other over the head with pig bladders until election day. A couple of multi-millionaires proclaiming that they are the best hope for common every-day Americans is no-brow comedy and terrible theatre, but politics as usual in the post-Reagan era. An era that will last until ... well ... I guess it'll last until a miracle happens.
To further my 15 year-old son's education about the country we fled, we've been watching George A. Romero's flesh-eating zombie tetralogy, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Land of the Dead.
Night of the Living Dead (1968) is about America ripped apart by Vietnam and racial unrest. Dawn of the Dead (1978) shows us out-of-control materialism. In Romero's words Day of the Dead (1985) is a "tragedy about how a lack of human communication causes chaos and collapse even in this small little pie-slice of society."
To paraphrase Kim Newman from his book Nightmare Movies, Romero waited 20 years for America to become sufficiently terrible enough to need a new Dead picture. Romero delivered Land of the Dead six years before the Occupy Movement demonstrated against income inequality. Only George Romero could show us the bleak underside of Reaganomics run riot with zombies. Oh yeah ... the Walking Dead. How could anyone forget the gut-munching hordes that drive the film's messages directly into our quivering amygdala?
If I had the money, the distribution deal, a decent cinematographer, and hundreds of gallons of latex, I'd make a movie worthy of entry into the Living Dead Pantheon called Rule of the Living Dead.
In my movie, zombies have completely taken over the United States. I won't need to blow the budget on actors because it would be a documentary.
The Republicans who shambled onstage for their first debate laboriously memorized their lines fed to them by their billionaire backers. The audience in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, and those watching at home, reacted to the dripping red meat of xenophobia, racism, and homophobia thrown to them by the "debaters." Whoever garnered the loudest screams for more blood "Trumped" a win. Only flesh-eating zombies could stomach such a spectacle.
But let us now peek behind the curtain and look at the billionaires backing the Republicans. Can anyone doubt that the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Foster Friess, and the other high rollers are anything other than the Walking Dead?
The Democratic Party, or rather the corporate sponsors of the Democratic Party, are committed to protecting the Queen of the Zombies until it is time to battle the top Republican Zombie. Bernie Sanders, one of the few actual living candidates, is completely dependent upon reaching the shrinking pockets of Americans who have not been taken over by the zombie hordes.