Andrew Ikeman | News Editor
ON SATURDAY, OCT. 6, I settled in to watch the big debate. No, not Romney vs. Obama, but the “Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium”, with right-wing talking head Bill O’Reilly facing off against Jon Stewart and his “socialist” wit. The debate was mostly in jest, but a moment in the opening statements resonated with me.
“My friend Bill O’Reilly is completely full of shit,” intoned Stewart. “What is wrong with this country is not that we face problems we have not faced before. We face a deficiency in our problem-solving mechanism, and the reason we face a difficulty in our problem-solving mechanism is a good portion of our country has created an alternate universe…I call this alternate reality Bullshit Mountain.”
Stewart goes on to say that on Bullshit Mountain, nothing makes much sense. Christmas is always under attack; the death of Big Bird will bring about the settlement of the debt crisis; a “Kenyan Muslim president”—read Barack Obama—has changed everything about the way government interacts with its people, and so on.
This whole argument got me thinking. If the U.S. has people living on Bullshit Mountain, where the hell is Canada, on a Bullshit Cloud? Last year our government was arguing about a very simple thing: knowing who has legally bought a rifle. Gun registry may have cost a ton of money at the start, but the annual operating cost was insignificant. The reason we got rid of the registry? Freedom. Freedom to own a gun, and freedom to shoot that bloody gun.
How about the whole abortion debate last week? A government Member of Parliament, Kitchener’s Stephen Woodworth, stood up in the House and said that we need to reexamine when life begins. Instead of jumping right to “no abortion for you,” we went to, “Is it murder if you abort at five weeks?” Questioning the moment when life begins is essentially reopening the abortion debate, albeit in a very skewed way.
In the U.S., Romney has attacked Big Bird, and the Public Broadcasting System, while right here in Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is being attacked because people don’t want to pay for public broadcasting—they are forgetting, of course, that without the CBC, they would not get to see Peter Mansbridge, Rex Murphy, or, God forbid, Rick Mercer. The idea that the CBC is useless and needs to be destroyed is incredibly flawed. The CBC functions to provide free, unbiased media to Canadians. It is separate from the government, but relies on government funding to survive. Because the CBC gets this funding, it is able to do more in-depth broadcasting, rely less heavily on commercials, and offer a 24/7 news channel.
Here is my point: Bullshit Mountain does not only exist in the U.S. Canada contributes its fair share of nonsense—and while that sucks, you have to realize that politics is 90 per cent bullshit and 10 per cent substance.