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American Election Time: MMOB

Thursday, November 01, 2012

I'm just a Canadian.

Often I'm very conscious that as a Canadian I'm essentially a "guest" in our SparkPeople community -- which was founded in America and in many ways (despite the worldwide membership) remains overwhelmingly American. (Not that that's a bad thing . . . not at all).

Canada shares a long border with the USA. And lots more: intertwined economies, popular culture including TV shows and magazines and music and sports, and many similar attitudes. But not all. Sometimes I can't help but be conscious of the differences between American and Canadian culture.

Of course I follow American news, politically and otherwise. And one of the notable differences between Canada and the US is our media. Canadian reporting of news events has quite a different slant than the majority of American media outlets seem to provide. That's never been more apparent than in the last few days with the coverage of Sandy in the context of the upcoming American election.

Canadians don't get a vote in the upcoming American election. Of course they don't! But believe me, we can't help but care about the outcome.

So: I take seriously the duty of Canadians to mind our own business. I AM MMOB, really. Not expressing an opinion.

Just hoping that lots and lots of Americans who do have a vote which inevitably will affect so many of us will get out and vote. Wisely. Well.


P.S. In response to TRAVELGIRL (and I'm pretty sure she was being ironic):

"But freedom means you can vote however you wish, no matter how ignorant you are!"; thanks for your comments on my MMOB blog . . .

May I gently (while still MMOB!!) suggest that perhaps this isn't so? Freedom comes with responsibility, just as every right has reciprocal responsibilities . . . and rights without reciprocal responsibilities are morally vacuous. We need a concept of "citizenship" rather than a concept of "customers of political services" . . . and democracy will founder north and south of our border if we fail to exercise freedom with responsibility. Which means with information . . . digging for something beyond the paid advertisements.

(Or at least that's what I think . . . . ).

PS #2 In response to TIFFN108's inquiry about differences between American and Canadian media . . . .

Thanks for commenting on my MMOB blog: really appreciate it.

It's my perception that Canadian media are more "neutral news reporters" rather than advocates for one position over the other -- and perhaps take a less local, more international/global perspective on more issues. There are going to be exceptions north and south of our border, of course . . . but in the Canadian constitution there are no "absolute rights" and always a requirement that rights be balanced in the context of a "free and democratic society", plus no "right to property": and these differences do colour our political discourse.

I'm thinking about our CBC, for example, or the Globe and Mail . . . readily available on line if you feel like taking a look! Today's Globe editorial looks at the Obama/Romney option and does come to an opinion as to which candidate it endorses: but it's pretty balanced and thoughtful too.



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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • HFAYE81
    I regularly read a Canadian woman's knitting blog...I absolutely love seeing her POV on this kind of stuff. You're right though, we have a responsibility when it comes to voting, and how we vote!!!
    2026 days ago
    You are a wise woman.
    2026 days ago
    Wow, you really stirred up some opinions, as this topic should. I totally agree with you. If we fail to exercise our right to vote, we won't have one. So, as is always, I will exercise my right to vote( I have not missed one election since I became old enough to vote). After all, my sisters of ages past suffered greatly with Woman's Sufferage to give me that right and I will not disappoint. I hope all US citizens use that right and do some research and vote accordingly.
    2027 days ago
    Fascinating, well-crafted and impartial blog.

    If American media did half the job you have in this blog, we might have "real" news on the news every now and then - and I might actually watch. As it stands now, I abhor the "news," the propaganda, the constant advertising of one side over another, which all amounts to a whole lot of nothing.

    As you can see I am not impartial and will be voting, as you so astutely suggested.

    You are quite fabulous. That is off-topic, but still true.

    emoticon emoticon

    2028 days ago
  • _LINDA
    I don't generally watch news or read papers or listen to the radio. Gave all that up with TV watching. So it would make me one of the ignorant ones if I was an American. But I did vote in my recent civic election as I liked how the mayor was getting our city moving forward, and getting long stagnant projects finally worked on and finished off. The long, long sought new south bridge is finally nearing completion and should help greatly with traffic flow in this congested city of cars. The old dangerous traffic bridge is finally being torn down piece by piece. I wanted to do my part to make sure the guy in there was thinking of our future and where we would be. A person only need pay attention to their surroundings to get a good view of whether a government's policies are really working or not. The downtown core area was stagnant and now its getting improved year by year.
    It was good to read those articles to see whats important to us as Canadians and hope whoever is elected in America will work favorably with us on them. I did know about the controversy over the pipeline though so that wasn't news to me. The detractors do have the point it can be a danger to the enviroment whatever land it goes over, and the ever present terrorist threat can't be ignored.
    That is really conscientous of you to be on top of what is happening south of the border Ellen. I do love that Spark is really apolitical, with everyone here for only one purpose and that is to improve their lives. Makes it such a pleasant place to hang out when everyone checks their biasis at the door :)
    2028 days ago
    Thanks for your input. I will vote according to my knowledge of information gathered over a long span of time....not just on recent news coverage. Stay interested, stay plugged in. Too many are resorting to the "I'm sick of" syndrome.......instead of trying to, unfortunately, sift through the mess and do your best to stay true to your own opinions instead of those of others. Enjoyed your viewpoint. Thanks and have a great day!
    2029 days ago
  • NANCY-
    What you think is excellent.
    What happens in one's home does impact others. I have truly become disappointed by the amount of nonsense instead of focusing on the issues, And we in the US do have issues to be addressed and it does impact other countries in the Americas and globally.
    During US History classes this should be stressed ... that we have that civic responsibility.
    Many here are apathetic, and think that their vote doesn't matter.
    I see a correlation with our health and our political system. It seems that many are not taking responsibility and addressing what needs to be addressed. With a "what's in it for me" opposed to what is good for us. the focus seems to be on the almighty dollar. (Which I think is a bit looney.) We are a global village.

    Oops I'll get off my soapbox now... and I've got to say we do have lovely neighbors to our North.
    2029 days ago
    Well stated, counsel.
    2030 days ago
    I was hoping you would explain how your media is different than ours and what you've been seeing. Totally got my curiosity up.

    Yep, I'll be voting.
    2030 days ago
    Thank you for that. And I've already cast my vote, prior to leaving the country. Cast it wisely. And well. And for the first time in 25 years, since I am now re-registered to vote in the US, rather than it's protectorates.

    I can't get over the news of the US election here in NZ - I mean, I have zero idea who is the current president or PM or whatever they have here - and that's how myopic US citizens are, we don't even know what kind of governmental structure or positions they have in NZ. Sad, isn't it?

    But my vote is cast, and from what I've seen regarding the storm damage and aftermath, I believe it is well cast.
    2030 days ago
    I am working on a get-out-the-vote drive at a local community college. I go there almost every day and encourage the students, first to register to vote, then to actually vote. Many of them qualify for early voting, others need to be reminded to vote on election day.

    I am concerned by the students who are just indifferent to the upcoming election - have no opinion - don't plan to vote. Others have no idea of the election date. Don't these young people care about their own future? Others are very thoughtful and well informed, and that encourages me even when they are not supporting the same candidate I am. At least they are thinking.
    2030 days ago
    Every American, no matter which candidate they vote for, believes they are the only ones voting "wisely" and "well."

    It's always disheartening to see how many Americans actually get their political viewpoints from political commercials or talk radio. But freedom means you can vote however you wish, no matter how ignorant you are!

    I have not really picked up on the media politicizing the storm...I guess I missed that!?

    2030 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/1/2012 8:54:46 PM
    I get so totally tired of the election / politicizing of EVERY news story. It's like they are covering a sporting event. For that matter, the entire STORM coverage was like a sporting event in the Media.

    I, too, am MMOB. I'm not a Canadian. I am a US Citizen who has voted in every single election since I turned 18. Do you know how hard it is to find what candidates really stand for in the midst of the HORRIBLE advertising? I'm as tired of "Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney" as the 4 year old who went viral on FaceBook. I'm sick of marketing and polling and news coverage.

    At this point? My message to the media and the robo-callers: "Leave me alone. Let me cast my vote. And stop trying to second guess what I will do. It's MY vote and it's supposed to be private and confidential. You'll find out the results when they count 'em up. OK?"

    Vent ended. We now return you to safe and sane Sparking!
    2030 days ago
    Well said. Agree completely.
    2030 days ago
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