Stuff Still Happens, week 30: Hillary makes herstory (sorry)

Americans, God bless ’em, are good at a lot of things. They can be very self-critical in ways Canadians never are, but they are even better at self-aggrandizement.

Americans (or at least Democratic Americans) were patting themselves on the back so hard this week, they may have dislodged a national vertebra. They have selected a woman to be a candidate for the presidency! This is historic, to be sure. The self-congratulating was tempered somewhat by the fact that woman is the intensely disliked Hillary Clinton, but still, good for them. But Americans should pause amongst the chest thumping to ask, what took so long?

Germany has a female leader. Britain is on its second. Norway has one, India has had one, Australian has had one, New Zealand has had two. Even Canada had one (remember her? Kim something. I’m thinking of soup). So, in much of the rest of the world, it’s not that big of a deal.  At the Democratic National Convention this week, the producers (and it was a Hollywood production) were so desperate to drive home the fact that Hillary had broken the glass ceiling that they made a video of her literally breaking through glass. A little on the nose, don’t ya think?

The Democrats were hoping to go into the convention with an entirely different message from the sky-is-falling Republican hate-fest. Their lineup of speakers was made up of people who actually knew how to give speeches, as opposed to the Republican lineup of C-level celebrities and mouth-frothing lunatics. But still they had problems. Bernie Sanders devotees did their best to disrupt the proceedings early in the week by booing when Hillary’s name was mentioned. Some walked out in protest, others said they wouldn’t vote for Clinton. Sanders, to his credit, threw his full, raspy, old-man voice behind Hillary, but still his devoted backers wouldn’t give up. But by the end of the week, the Sandersites were forgotten, as the Democrats trotted out A-level celebrities and a galaxy of captivating speakers. Even Hillary gave an acceptable speech, which is the most you can expect from her.

While Bernie didn’t win the actual nomination, he had an enormous impact on Democratic policy. Clinton promised free tuition for the middle class, a Sanders demand. She promised to make the rich pay and to lessen the power of Wall Street (hilarious coming from someone who has suckled at the teat of Wall Street for years), the meat-and-potatoes of Bernie speeches. The Democratic platform out-liberals our Liberal party. Hillary Clinton makes Justin Trudeau sound positively Stephen Harperish.

Now, it’s 100 days before the actual election. Which brings us to the question …

There’s no way Trump can win. Right?

Way back when the deranged billionaire Donald Trump launched his campaign, your humble correspondent wrote here that there as no way Trump would win the Republican nomination. Well, I was wrong. In my defence, so was every other person in the world who has access to a computer and the ability to string together two or three sentences. I still say Donald Trump won’t win, but I can’t say that he can’t win. It might take just one terrorist attack, one shocking event, to tips the scales towards Trump. And at the rate we’ve been experiencing terrorist atrocities lately, the odds are pretty good that in the next 100 days something terrible could happen, which could result in something even more terrible happening – President Donald J. Trump. I still don’t think it will happen, and if it doesn’t, Americans will once again pat themselves on the back and boast about how they turned their backs on a monumentally unqualified, even dangerous candidate. But even when (if?) he loses, American will have to look into their hearts and ask how a large percentage of their population – or for that matter any percentage of their population – would vote for a morally bankrupt, demonstrably unstable demagogue like Donald J. Trump.

Meanwhile, in other horrible news…

In France, a pair of ISIS supporters committed an atrocity on a whole new level of awfulness, entering a church and slitting the throat of an elderly priest during mass. I’m not quite sure how much worse you can get than that, but I’m sure the ISIS management is working on it. Adding to this horror, this was quite literally preventable. The killer had tried to get to Syria twice to join ISIS, but was prevented from doing so. He faced terrorism charges, but a judge agreed to free him as long as he was wearing a monitoring bracelet. But the bracelet was deactivated for a few hours every morning under terms of the monitoring agreement, which coincides with the time of the attack. Meanwhile, here in Canada, a judge threw out the conviction of a pair of losers convicted of plotting to blow up the B.C. legislature. Turns out, the RCMP concocted a hugely expensive scheme to entice the pair, both drug addicts, into the plot. Well done, Mounties!



Fred Tomlinson, 90, British singer and composer. You may not know his name, but you know his song – The Lumberjack Song, from Monty Python … Jack Davis, 91, one of the greatest of all Mad magazine artists.



By Maurice Tougas

Maurice Tougas is a lifelong Albertan, award-winning writer and reporter, and a former MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark.

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