Saturday, May 07, 2011

In a corner of the world on election day...

Well, the election happened, and I was wrong on pretty much all of my predictions: Harper got a majority; the NDP took the Opposition; the Bloc Quebecois went down in flames; the Conservative candidate here won by a scant fifteen votes. The only things that I got right were 1) that Helena Guergis would be drummed out of office1 and 2) that the voter turnout would be higher.

Watching my social network respond to the election was fascinating. Because Canada encompasses six different time zones, there is supposed to be a media blackout on reporting results from the eastern half of the country until all of the polls close. Violation of this blackout can earn you a $25000 fine or 5 years in jail. The ban is, in theory, a logical thing: news of an NDP landslide in Quebec could well affect how things fall out in British Columbia. Unfortunately, in the day of the internet, this isn't really feasible. #tweettheresults became the most popular hash tag on Twitter during the election, and people from other countries started to gather and retweet the early polling information. It was very neat to watch it happen.

On the not-so-neat side of social media, my Facebook page was a total clusterf-ck. I should have anticipated this, having just discovered how many 9/11 truthers I am apparently friends with, but I didn't. Seeing people's reactions to the election was really eye-opening for me: on one hand, a good majority of the people on my friends' list voted (including some for the first time), but on the other hand, some people became very belligerent and pouty when the results didn't work out to their satisfaction. A few people actually asked that their friends who had voted Conservative to identified themselves so that they could delete anyone who voted for Harper from their friends list. A few others have changed their profile pictures to upside down Canadian flags, and pledged to leave them there as long as the Conservatives are in power.2

I just don't understand this. I mean, I understand the emotion, I guess3; I just don't have the energy to sustain that anger for the next 4 years, nor to perform that anger publicly. My friends (and family) who voted for Steven Harper are still just that--my friends and family. As much as I wouldn't vote for Harper, I recognize and accept that some people would.

1 and she was, coming in third after the NDP candidate (my elementary school French teacher), a loss that I find enormously personally satisfying in a way that says bad things about my character.
2 Little Hob, who has been nothing short of a holy terror all day, having knocked over the spinning wheel, the humidifier, and a glass of water all over a stack of books, has now decided to be extra cute by sitting on the back of the couch with his front paws on my shoulder, as though he's reading what I'm typing here.
3 And then he jumped off my shoulder and managed to hit the "Off" button on the remote control on his way down.

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