I admit it, this patriotic Canadian was glued to CNN most of yesterday, watching Obama's swearing in and all the hoopla surrounding it. What a spectacle. And I mean that in the good sense of the word. It really was just what Americans and the rest of us watching needed. Kind of like a royal wedding, something to take our minds off of the day-to-day grind. It was over the top, but again, in a good way. It made you feel like things really can change. I know that I can't really understand what it means to African Americans having a black President. After all, I am a white Canadian woman. But I can understand what it means to have someone young, confident and inspiring become the leader of the country that has so much influence over us all.
How I wish we had our own Obama waiting in Ottawa to burst upon the scene and reinvigorate parliament, make Canadians sit up and take notice of something positive and powerful. Instead we took only notice when our leader attempted to tear down democracy and when that didn't stop the opposition from exercising their parliamentary right to a vote of non confidence he simply shut everything down. As if that is any way to deal with the global crisis we find ourselves enmeshed in.
American used to be embarassed of their President and being American, now it is our turn. All eyes will be on Steven Harper next week when the House reopens and he presents his budget. It had better be more than a budget or policy statement. It must be something that will inspire confidence in the government, give us something to work towards together, allow us to believe that our country can and will make it through these tough times.
Harper must be more than a politician, hiding from the unfriendly press and opposition, he must be a leader and statesman. People say he is an intelligent but not very intuitive man, let's hope he has someone close to him, perhaps his wife or an advisor, who can feel what the country needs right now. Not just policy meant to placate or worse, alienate the opposition parties, but a statement of how and why, we as a nation, which is in better shape than most, can ride the storm outside our borders and emerge stronger - economically, socially and politically.
Inspire us with your words and actions, Mr. Harper. So, we too, can be proud of our country again.
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