For many years now, American freethinkers have been well aware of the fundamentalist
threat that is sweeping the nation – sneaking into the educational system, slithering into
the political arena and cleverly skewing public opinion towards one absurdity or another.
Now, in what was once considered the virgin land of the Great White North (both in
urban development and religious stronghold), Canada is experiencing similar epidemics
as her big brother to the south. The Canadian Alliance, a group comparable to the Moral
Majority but with a greater appreciation for hockey and beer, has managed to gather enough
support from the public to warrant a voice in Parliamentary proceedings, battling on equal
ground with Jean Chretien himself. In what appears as a spontaneous (or miraculous) coup,
the Alliance has been able to win the hearts of Canucks from the Maritimes to the Prairies
and up into Nunanuvet as well. Their agenda is tailored according to the dictates of
religious fundamentalism but their campaign, of course, focuses on tax relief. Perhaps a
greater concern is deserved since Canada doesn’t have much in the way of a Constitution or
Bill of Rights. The earth is only 6000 years old says Stockwell Day from the pulpit of the
House of Commons and a public reared on Bob and Doug Mackenzie cheer loudly from the
bleachers, touks and all.
What is it though that really gets the votes and wins the popularity of the public?
Armchair philosophers and barnyard intellectuals have been debating the issues for
decades. Is it the truth? The sincerity with which politicians sacrifice their lives for
the welfare of their country? Could it be the thoughtful platforms that candidates take on
the issues that stir and shake us and the mutual commitment we feel towards careful and
critical analysis of the same? Perhaps it’s the good deeds, the intelligence and the
foresight of future Presidents and Prime Ministers that merit our votes?
No, it’s none of these things.
What it boils down to is this: good looks and cool sounding names. If a passionate
religious fervor is thrown into the package, all the better, it increases the likelihood
that chairs and fists will be flung a la Jerry-Springer, providing ample
entertainment for one and all. Who on God’s green earth would truly vote for a Ralph or an
Alfred? Joseph isn’t all that bad, it still inspires respect although it’s rather
old-fashioned and we’ve been livin’ in Marlboro country now for over a decade. Dubya’s a
full-blooded American from the land of big guns and kickass revolutions. Dubya’s also got
much greater linguistic appeal. Try it! It’s like having an orgasm in your mouth!
Some prefer to call him Junior, as that too is all the rage. Texans really do know how to
inject an extra syllable into the party and make for one rockin’ good time! Imagine your
next conversation over mocha cappuccino frappaccino with a touch of caramel machiato;
Alfred would shock everyone into an uncomfortable silence of the highest magnitude.
Dubya’s ability to impress the crowd even gets a mention in the latest edition of How
to Make Friends and Influence People, now required reading in business schools across
the country. All this being said, Dubya’s got a Dick (Cheney) to boot. He’s going to win
by a landslide.
We can go beyond the superficiality of names however. Dubya did cocaine and partied
away a large part of his life. He is hailed as a “fraternity party-dude” and
“cavalier anti-intellectual” by admirers. This far surpasses any of the pansies
claiming they did or did not inhale marijuana. Dubya was a jock at school (well, actually
a cheerleader but we won’t go there.) He knows football statistics for Christ’s sake!
Recently Dubya called someone an asshole and went so far as refusing to take it back. Man,
this guy’s way cool. Stop the press! Papers all across the land dropped everything
to explore the issue – The Washington Post referred to the blunder as “a
vulgar euphemism for a rectal aperture” and got more specific with:
“***hole”, The New York Times chimed in with “ass****”, USA
Today left no stone unturned with “******” Some of the local newspapers
favored dashes over asterisks, some chose the safety of a combination of symbols like
“&%!@.” Headlines haven’t been this profound since the Kansas/Oz connection
during the Summer of 1999.
Although we can’t say much for Dick’s physical attractiveness, his nerd-like appearance
does indeed fit well within our future president/vice-president model. Cheney’s role is
one of sidekick and television dictates that sidekicks are a little on the geeky side.
They should not deter our attention from the dynamism of our main man. Think of Batman and
Robin, Hercules and Newt, Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Obviously critical thought was
injected into the process when choosing a running mate for Junior.
But let’s move from the confines of the United States of America and see just how far
reaching this new political science theory truly is.
Fundamentalists now have the Canadian political arena licked with such greats as
Stockwell Day, Rod Love and Preston Manning. Their mothers surely were advanced beyond
their years in soap opera viewing. Daytime and Primetime Dramas like the Young and the
Restless and Melrose Place have always offered us such foresight and
originality in the business of names and finally it’s truly making a difference in the
global state of affairs. Personally, I always had a fondness for the name Stone. And
Montana for girls is simply the cat’s meow. Just think of what brilliant Supreme Court
Justices they would make! Jean Chretien and Eddie Goldberg just can’t keep up. Sven
Robinson had a chance but then he went and botched it all up by representing the
freethinkers. Stockwell doesn’t just have a cool name though, he also provides great eye
candy to his constituents and anyone else who channel surfs between porn and government
public access TV. If Stockwell says the earth is 6000 years old, by golly, the earth is
6000 years old. We would do the same for blue-eyed Stockyards and muscular Stockholms,
would we not? Stockwell Day could be Canada’s own John F. Kennedy! Campaign pictures could
depict him alongside the beautiful Pamela Anderson Lee or Cindy Crawford, both Canadian!
England, although low on the religious extremism, offers a bit of evidence for our
theory as well. Both Tony Blair and John Majors have been caught by the paparazzi in their
swimsuit attire and British lassies went hysterical. A bit like evangelical tent rallies.
And of course you’ve heard of Lee Majors – he was the six million-dollar man. He was
married to a Charlie’s Angel – Farah Fawcett herself. An attractive wife may in fact be an
unofficial criterion when deciding to seriously dedicate your life to serving your country
and living in the public spotlight that the political arena provides. Even Prince Charles
knew the appeal of a blonde and what could be more rad than a Prince or Sir in front of
your name and a few roman numerals in the back. Duke is also making a comeback, no longer
limited to dogs. The name criterion is far more prevalent in North America though, as are
the fundamentalist leanings. Both may be connected in part to the unbridled capitalism and
ruthless opportunism that flourishes in the grand ol’ land of opportunity. England is more
of a socialist country with Canada having been somewhere in between but now tending
towards the American Way due to the introduction of MTV and successful protesting against
Monty Python and Kids in the Hall.
What about Australia? China? Moscow? Egypt? Nigeria? Mexico? Argentina? And all of
those countries that have really neat sounding names somewhere in the Middle East? What a
worthwhile research project this could turn out to be. The US Government now has grant
applications on the Internet – just a sec…..