Day 13 – Random Thoughts or Incipient Dementia?

Last night I went to see the Greeley Central Wildcats take on another high school in football. It was everything I might expect: serious fans, elaborate marching band, expensive stadium and so on. One television series I want to watch and which is very well reviewed is “Friday Night Lights”. It is, not surprisingly, about high school football in small town Texas. The Romney campaign has recently adopted the show’s motto: “Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.” The creators of the show have objected.

My jokes about the feebleness of having a fourth down grew flat fairly quickly.

***

There is a lot of retail space in Loveland. Centera is a huge shopping / outlet store complex that covers so much land that it is on both sides of Interstate 25. However, I’ve never seen large crowds in any of these stores. On the other hand, I see very few empty stores.

***

I got the pleasure of doing door to door canvasing this morning in the rain. And I’d left my rain gear at Erika’s. Jack tells me that there has been an unusual lack of rain this fall. Andy told me that, because agriculture in Northern Colorado relies on irrigation, a repeat of a low snow melt next spring would be a disaster.

The neighborhood I canvassed was delightful – about 15 years old and very well laid out. If I had to live in Loveland, I’d want to live there. I’m not sure what to think about this: the houses can be had for around $300,000 – lots of square footage, 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. That’s what my 910 square feet starter home in Saskatoon might sell for.

***

 I listen to the CBC Radio hourly news once or more a day. Today there was no story on the U. S. election. I was shocked. Maybe I’m an American political junky? What will I do after November 6th?

***

I will write at length about the strengths and weaknesses of the U. S. electoral system and what we should change and keep in our Canadian system. However, the Electoral College drives me nuts – it’s inherently undemocratic even in the balance between small and large states the Constitution attempts. The U. S. would have had a direct election of the Executive (President and Vice President) but for the awkward fact that the slave states objected.

It is highly unlikely that the Electoral College will be abolished. In 2000 George Bush won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote. In 2012 it is possible that Barack Obama may win the Electoral College but not the popular vote. Maybe that would be the impetus for change.

Let us now praise Nebraska and Maine who assign their Electoral College votes more or less based on popular vote. Maybe other states will follow their example.

***

I’ve been feeling smug as I watch the anguish and magic that the U. S. deficit and debt have inspired in this election. Let Canadians thank Preston Manning for raising the issue in the early 1990s. Even though the Progressive Conservatives and Liberals mocked him, they decided that he had a point. Both parties appointed Finance Ministers who made us bite the bullet and start to get our financial house in order. We’ve survived the latest financial crisis better than almost all other Western democracies.

At the time, it didn’t feel all that wonderful.

For my American friends who might not “get” the above references. Preston Manning created the Reform Party in the late 1980s. He was both an economic and social conservative. He found a lot of support in the Western provinces – particularly Alberta. On the surface, he was despised by those in central Canada (Ontario, Quebec) and the Maritimes (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador). However, his popularity in the West led Canadian governments to take his economic arguments seriously (although they would ever acknowledge this publicly). These governments implemented austerity and taxation policies that seriously addressed our debt and deficit.

The current economic climate may not improve quickly. I’m more worried about Europe and China than the U. S. Again, Canadians may not be as devastated by the possible vicissitudes we face. Remember the pain of the last 20 years and appreciate how we endured.

***

Why have I been using French origin words in my posts: insouciance, élan and so on? Stop me if I go looking for poutine in Loveland. (translation: poutine is a popular dish from Quebec that you can now find across Canada – it’s french fries, cheese curds and gravy – a yummy calorie overload. It tastes better than you’d imagine.) Why do Canadians like Quebec when out of country but ignore it when home?

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