Like Potemkin villages – A mythical illusion
Some still recall Justin Trudeau’s dad: Pierre Trudeau. For most Pierre Trudeau is almost like John F. Kennedy, a sepia colored page fallen from some long forgotten book about fanciful visions of our own Camelot.
The world has changed so much since PierreTrudeau strutted onto the stage of Canadian Politics with a red rose in his lapel, an impish smirk and got by with sharp-tongued quips and a few poorly timed pirouettes.
The cold war decade passed and crumbled like the Berlin Wall. Like the Pete Seeger song said, “Times are Getting’ Hard Boys” and Canada emerged from all of it to take a place among the world’s most powerful economic nations while taking a seat at the G8.
That is NOT to say that many of us agree with how that change happened or the social and ecologic damage inflicted during the transitions. But, apparently it is what it is. The days of whimsical ideology of the long forgotten 1960s has passed along with wide lapels and bell bottom pants.
The emergence of Pierre’s eldest, Justin came as no surprise from a political party that had been driven from office a decade ago as a result of various economic scandals. That same Liberal party had tossed three or four successive leaders onto the national stage hoping to regain long lost power. And the desperation of the Liberal Party became almost as comical as the gimmicks the various ensuing leaders attempted to employ to regain long lost trust of the voters. We had a sweet, well intentioned one who remade himself into the champion of all things environmental and (most recently) a high browed intellectual who had authored several books. Along the way, the Liberals never managed to produce a leader willing to grasp the idea that, “it’s all about the economy, dummy”. To the average voter who has weathered a recent recession, interest in all things to do with the economy means supplying necessities to one’s family by way of employment.
We (all of us) hold fascination for kinder and gentler times long passed. But few of us are willing to toss the baby out with the bath water. The emergence of Justin Trudeau onto the political was not only the result of a once formidable political desperately grabbing for power. Perhaps it was a latent, long buried yearning in each of us to return to simpler childhood times in our lives.
What if? What if young Trudeau could be the real thing? Perhaps a leader for the new millennium would emerge in the form of Trudeau II. Perhaps we could have a national leader capable of grasping the economic reigns while combining those skills with a kinder-gentler government.
Thus, we waited and the months of silence slipped by. It became apparent that either young Mr. Trudeau was being coached to keep his cards close to the vest OR his handlers had concluded that, like Potemkin’s villages, Justin was a brightly painted but one dimensional illusion of what many had hoped to finally identify with as a potential Prime Minister.
Justin Trudeau is a 42 year old product of an age of electronic games and instant fixes. Eventually his silence ended and by way of his first mutterings on political stage we learned about his thoughts on pressing priorities from his perspective (marijuana) and his vision of effective government (Peoples Republic of China as a role model).
And I am left to think that this most recent Liberal standard bearer may well achieve his place in history books as “the final leader of the Liberal Party of Canada”.
I am as apolitical a Canadian as can be found and am hoping that sooner than later, young Mr. Trudeau will morph into the type of political leader that Canadians see to yearn for.