Tomorrow, January 20th, 2009 President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama will become President Obama. And it is today, as I stare out of my office window at the bleak snow-covered rooftop of Old City Hall, that I admit with disappointment that I am not an American. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it is Monday or because blood is currently rushing through my vagina, but right now I am apathetic to the dawn of the new presidency. His rhetoric that before would make every cell of my hope, morals and ambition pulsate now passes me without a shiver. Yesterday, and many times before, he said, “Despite the enormity of the task that lies ahead … the United States of America will endure and prevail.” Yes, Obama, with your help I am sure it will.
Before I prattle on let me introduce myself. My name is Leanne Schaeken (It’s Dutch); my citizenship is Canadian; my head of state representative is the Governor General — what is her name — Michaelle Jean and my Prime Minister is Stephen Harper, a middle-aged, evangelical Christian with a blonde wife and two blonde kids. Harper, a man who is chained to his Albertan obligations and all that sandy oil that comes with it, and who is painfully slow when pushed the way of liberal progression. He, however, is not the satanic dunce that most liberal tut-tutting, pot-smoking, organic beef-frying people like to believe. And, yes, I am aware that most of you are liberal tut-tutting, pot-smoking, organic beef-frying people.
For the past few months, or in my case past year, most politically aware Canadians have grasped every word or gesture Obama has made. We have swooned over his elegiac prose for an America of the past: a beacon of freedom, justice, and morality. And along the way, this man who just happens to be half-white and half-black has become our beacon, our light and our city on the hill. Tomorrow as he puts his hand on Lincoln’s bible there is no exaggeration in saying that the whole world will be looking on in desperate hope. Not for America’s prevalence, but for our own.
However, do not be fooled. President Obama is not the leader of the free world; he is not our leader; he is the leader of his electorate, the United States of America. And as of now, Canada is not one of those states. Obama is a great man, but for the next four or eight years he will not be fighting for Canadians’ interests, but for Americans’ interests. He will prolong and intensify the war in Afghanistan and most likely ask Canada to stay just a little bit longer. He will fight against us over Arctic sovereignty and most likely input protectionist trade policies. I am not overly outraged over the possibility of these arising issues. I am just making a point.
All of us yearn for a better day and a more inspiring time. However, even though we can look towards President Obama for inspiration we should be weary of looking to him for political leadership. Whether we like it or not, our leader is Prime Minister Stephen Harper and he along with our Parliament are the only people who are going to work for our interests. And if we do not believe this to be true then we should elect individuals who will. Therefore, while I stream CNN clips of the Inauguration and rejoice in the fact that the United States no longer has a President that is a bumbling fool of a Texan, I can now look towards our own leader and one day vote for more.