Posts Tagged ‘politics’

20th January
2011
written by Steph

I recently interviewed Ron Reagan, son of America's 40th president, Ronald Reagan, about his recently released memoir, My Father at 100 over at BookPage. Anyone who knows me knows that politics aren't really my shtick, and certainly not American politics, so I was super nervous going into this interview. I am happy to report that it went swimmingly and that Ron Reagan is a wonderfully nice guy with a great sense of humor and the entire thing wound up being a complete blast! For those of you interested in reading a no-holds bar conversation on Reagan's thoughts on the current state of the nation and what his father was really like, you can read my interview here. It's chock full of lots of juicy tidbits and Reagan doesn't pussyfoot around controversial issues, so it's a pretty fun read if I do say so myself!
8th September
2009
written by Steph
For people who own a television but who don’t have cable (or even rabbit ears), Tony and I do pretty well when it comes to keeping current with must-see tv.  Just to be clear, we don’t eschew cable because we’re those snotty folk who turn up their noses at television; far from it!  Mostly we don’t have cable (or as we refer to it, “don’t have tv”) for two reasons: 1) the local cable provider here is SUPER expensive (in Toronto, I recall not having to pay more than $60/month for cable AND internet; here a comparable package would set us back some thing like $100… I am not willing to pay that kind of money for tv... or really any monthly service); 2) it is probably for the best we can’t just watch tv whenever we want, because we would literally watch it all the time.  Buh bye reading time.  Say hello to the glazed look that I inevitably take on after having watched 5 hours of HGTV or Animal Planet straight. (Seriously, so little is my self-restraint when it comes to watching the idiot box, I will watch hours worth of “When Animals Attack”, which pretty much no one should watch.)  Essentially, it’s in our best interest to have our tv watching limited to what we can rent through Netflix, or watch online (and with Netflix’s “Watch It Now”, Hulu, and all of the major networks streaming their stuff, we’re not doing too bad!). Anyhoodle, normally Tony and I take the summer to purge bad shows from our repertoire that we no longer enjoy, and to seek out potential replacements.  Often times this involves us cottoning on to shows that are long since done, but that’s what DVD is for, right?  This summer found us watching: (more…)
5th November
2008
written by Steph
News flash: Obama won! Tony & I stayed up watching various news feeds on the internet, switching between MSNBC, PBS, and yes, even, occasionally FOX (who seemed to be calling states in favor of each candidate well before all the other networks did). I don’t know when exactly it became obvious to us that Barack had it in the bag, but it was pretty fantastic when the west coast polls closed and all of a sudden his tallies skyrocketed well past the magic 270 and the screen flashed that Barack Obama would be the next president. Of course, then we had to wait for another hour so that we could hear his speech, because we all know the man knows how to give a speech. And speaking of speeches, I thought McCain gave a good concession speech, and only wish it had connected with his target audience more than it clearly did with those squarely in the Obama camp. I don’t believe that his speech makes up for the campaign that he ran, which was fractured at best, and well, far worse than that if I’m not being so charitable. I do not believe that McCain is a bad man, but I do think he ran an atrocious campaign, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say his atrocious campaign ran him. I think it was a regrettable way to essentially conclude his political service to his country, as I can’t see his remaining time in the Senate as anything more than a quiet denouement. But hopefully the ideological threads that were woven throughout both McCain’s and Obama’s speeches will ring true, and the first step towards a united America has been taken. I must admit that I do take some issue with the idea that the victory here is that people wanted a black president to show how much America has grown. If we take the stance that the election of Obama shows America saying “No!” to racism, does that mean then that a failure to elect him would have been evidence that Americans felt they were not ready for a black leader? I think we all lose with that type of reasoning. I would find it far more satisfying to hear people say that they voted irrespective of skin color, and that they chose the best person for the job (and just to be clear, I am sure that most people surely did this). Affirmative action has its place, but I do not believe that a presidential race is one of them. Do we celebrate that the black man’s time has come, or that the best man’s time has come? I respect that it can be both, as the two are certainly not mutually exclusive, but let us hope that America can reach a place where superficial qualities are not used to define a man, a nation, and a moment. I believe that Obama has a kind of political verve and acumen that few people possess. I am confident that his accomplishments will be many and great, and when he is remembered in the annals of American history, the color of his skin will merely be a footnote. I believe Obama restores faith in America to her citizens proper as well as the denizens of the world; he provides a new face to the country, one that instills respect and dignity. He reminds all of us, regardless of nationality, that America united really does have the capacity to rise to greatness, that the human spirit when inspired can soar to incredible heights. And so I say: congratulations to Americans everywhere. You didn’t just do good; no, you’ve done something truly great.
4th November
2008
written by Steph
I am completely riveted by the 2008 Election, which if you haven’t heard already, is an election of historic proportions, since either a really old dude (the oldest first-term Commander in Chief ever!) or a black man (the darkest Commander in Chief ever!) will be named the 44th president of the United States. In the past I have been somewhat disdainful of U.S. politics, the Canadian in me recoiling from the smear tactics and aggressive campaigning (we’re so gosh darn polite in Canada), not to mention the fervent religious undercurrent that frequently becomes an overtone. In those respects, this election has had its fair share of alienating this non-voter, but I’ve also seen a lot to admire and respect as well. It has been inspiring to see just how deeply people (on both sides of the ticket) care about their country and its future. I marvel at stories of people volunteering to drive strangers to the polls, just so that everyone gets the opportunity to exercise his or her vote. When Tony & I went out for dinner on Saturday night, our dining companions wore matching Obama swag, and toted along a purse covered in "Yes We Can" pins. [Aside: I have never seen a Steven Harper (American readers: who?) t-shirt, or even a Jack Layton (American readers: huh?) button for that matter (no one wonders why there's no Stéphane Dion (American AND Canadian readers: ???) merch). This might be because as Canadians we only indirectly vote for our national leader, but I would like to attribute it, at least in part, to the lack of catchy slogans.] Granted, if you live in Tennessee as I do, a vote for change will likely not change anything as this state is a burning crimson red, but still! [Another Aside: For the record, while I fully admit that the Canadian election system is not perfect, I really don’t get the Electoral College system… don’t try to explain it to me... it just seems dumb. Why not just have every person’s individual vote count? Tony keeps trying to explain how you win the popular vote but lose at the Electoral College level (this happened to Gore…), which I sort of understand, but doesn’t this outcome seem like a huge flaw in the system if the MAJORITY voice is being sidestepped? Just do away with the Electoral College already, I say!] I hope Obama wins this. He has been slammed for his rhetoric (amongst other things, of course), but he is a great orator, and I applaud his use of inspiration and hope as a means of motivation rather than hatred and fear. When people are weary and apathetic, hope is perhaps the most difficult thing to offer, and yet it is the most vital. I think Obama has the potential to be a great leader, not because he has the wherewithal and the intelligence to deliver the tangible goods the country needs, but because of all of the intangibles he offers. If you have not watched the “Yes We Can” video put together by will.i.am, do yourself a favor and do so, and you will see what I am talking about. Today, not just America, but the entire world, waits with bated breath. Talk about uniting people.