I'll skip to the end:
...Sure, Barack Obama might be every bit as much a slick piece of imageering as Sarah Palin. The difference is in what the image represents. The Obama image represents tolerance, intelligence, education, patience with the notion of compromise and negotiation, and a willingness to stare ugly facts right in the face, all qualities we're actually going to need in government if we're going to get out of this huge mess we're in.
Here's what Sarah Palin represents: being a fat fucking pig who pins "Country First" buttons on his man titties and chants "U-S-A! U-S-A!" at the top of his lungs while his kids live off credit cards and Saudis buy up all the mortgages in Kansas.
The truly disgusting thing about Sarah Palin isn't that she's totally unqualified, or a religious zealot, or married to a secessionist, or unable to educate her own daughter about sex, or a fake conservative who raised taxes and horked up earmark millions every chance she got. No, the most disgusting thing about her is what she says about us: that you can ram us in the ass for eight solid years, and we'll not only thank you for your trouble, we'll sign you up for eight more years, if only you promise to stroke us in the right spot for a few hours around election time.
Democracy doesn't require a whole lot of work of its citizens, but it requires some: It requires taking a good look outside once in a while, and considering the bad news and what it might mean, and making the occasional tough choice, and soberly taking stock of what your real interests are.
This is a very different thing from shopping, which involves passively letting sitcoms melt your brain all day long and then jumping straight into the TV screen to buy a Southern Style Chicken Sandwich because the slob singing "I'm Lovin' It!" during the commercial break looks just like you. The joy of being a consumer is that it doesn't require thought, responsibility, self-awareness or shame: All you have to do is obey the first urge that gurgles up from your stomach. And then obey the next. And the next. And the next.
And when it comes time to vote, all you have to do is put your Country First — just like that lady on TV who reminds you of your cousin. U-S-A, baby. U-S-A! U-S-A!
I bring this to your attention, not to further mock Sarah Palin (and no, I haven't seen tonight's Vice-Presidential debate yet, although I did tape it), but to encourage you to see the pathetic mockery of the democratic process currently unfolding in the U.S. as the logical extrapolation of our own.
Read that excerpt again, and imagine for a moment that he is talking, not about the obviously superficial, celebrity-driven U.S. election, but about our own. Think about the fact that incidentals like policy and integrity have at long last become totally irrelevant in our current discourse, supplanted by telegenics and charisma and dog whistles, and whichever politician is best at convincing you that they're "just like you".
I'm sorry, but I don't want a Prime Minister who is "just like me". If I did, I'd run myself. I want someone who has a a broader perspective, with a better understanding of how government and economics work, and who is smarter than me (and I've got a pretty kick-ass IQ).
I don't give a rat's ass if you have a hunting license or a brood of kids or if you play piano or wear sweater vests. I want to know that you have great ideas, and a vision for this country that approximates mine, and a solid, practical plan for how to get us there.
I've said it before - if Stephane Dion, for all his intellect and ideals and bold, forward-looking vision turns out to be unelectable in this country simply because he has a heavy accent, it will say more about us than it does about him. Gods help us all.