Venn & the Art of Political Maintenance

Fresh faces: That’s one media spin on the recent Canadian federal election results. Jumping from 36 MPs to 184, the Liberals, of course, are mostly fresh, but even the Dippers, dropping from 95 to 44 MPs, include 13 newbies.

Although I have what would indubitably be a new face on Parliament Hill, I’d hesitate to categorize it as “fresh,” except perhaps in the extended sense of “smart-alecky.” And so I conclude, sadly, that there seems to be no place for me in this grand adventure.   

Generational change: That’s another spin.

A small digression: How many years are there in a generation? A quick scan of Google results shows that there are now 25 years but there used to be just 20, maybe even as recently as—and I quote—“a generation ago.” Using a concept to define or explain itself is Self-Referential Bad Practice, so let’s just go with a generation being somewhere between 20 and 25 years, and then treat this number as we do the line that’s supposedly on the Equator but really isn’t; that is, as being Close Enough.

Now, to return to the spin (Stay with me, folks, this is no time to quit), although the spread in ages between the outgoing and incoming Prime Ministers is only 13 years, somehow the generational-change mantra sounds right. With due respect (and how much is due in each case, I leave with you), I suggest that the one man comes across as a little older than 56, and the other as a teensy-weensy bit younger than 43. Given that he’ll clock 44 on Christmas Day—as any Canadian of my generation would remember—he’s looking younger by the minute compared to his chronological age, and how irritating is that? Oh well, just wait: High office will age him, if not exactly prematurely, then at least in better alignment with the natural order.

But never mind the Right Honourables: Me, I try never to mind them, in either sense. This is not about them, it’s about “generational change” offering me an opening. Yes, a quick check of my birth certificate confirms that I have not forgotten my age: At 63, I am, indeed, Close Enough to being a generation removed from the incoming Prime Minister.

All right then. Here I am, with a smart-alecky face (that we can spin as fresh-ish), of an age that is a generation off the current norm (no ish about it), and with a willingness to tackle a new challenge. What shall it be?

Parliament? No, I think I’ll give that a pass: It looks full up for the foreseeable. But the Senate – ah, the Senate: It has 22 vacancies.

Although partisan appointments to the Senate are a practice persisting pragmatically if not exactly proudly across many generations, apparently the soon-to-be Right Honourable has promised, instead, to appoint Qualified People.  By my calculation (let’s see, 20 into 63, carry the 7) I have about three generations’ worth of qualifications. But I know Buddy is busy, so to keep things moving I’ll just, you know, hit the highlights:

  • I’m not partisan, being irritated pretty much equally by all political parties. Since I expect that some of his eminently qualified appointees will also just happen to be card-carrying Liberals, a few totally totally non-partisan appointees will make the whole lot smell better.
  • I have strong language skills, shown by my ability to work through my longest sentence to date (270 words!) without losing my thread: an ability that will be useful in listening to speeches and in reviewing proposed Government legislation, without losing my mind.
  • I am mindful of tradition and, unlike those in any younger generation, I know the difference between “bring” and “take.”
  • And, perhaps most significantly, I can complete an expense claim without ending up in court.

Wow.  Put it plainly like that and I even impress myself.  The question isn’t whether I’m qualified for the Senate, it’s how in the world have they done without me for so long?

Venn diagram showing intersection of Isabel's qualifications to be a Canadian Senator.
Come on! Is there really more than one member of the intersection of these four sets?

I can’t imagine that the soon-to-be Right Honourable actually needs to know any more about me. But given his generation, maybe just a fillip of social media frenzy would not be out of place to carry the day.  So in addition to wearing the button,  like me on Facebook and join the Twitter campaign today: #IsabelForSenator.

Facsimile of red and white campaign button, advocating Isabel for Senator.
Clear. Dignified. Sorta like me.

 

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10 Comments

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Dear older person: We likely should start voting for Senators. In the meantime, I’m glad to have your moral support. It helps my morale, as it were. I’ll send you a button, once they’re made. Isabel

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Laurna – Fabulous! Strictly speaking, I did not so much forget about the punchbowl (since I moved it yet again, just the other day) as overlook it as a Senatorial qualification. You make (as always) a good point – if appointed, I may well need to augment my hospitality supplies. I’ll give you right of first riddance (one of the rights guaranteed in the Magna Carta I believe) of your punch bowl should the need arise.

      1. Isabel, as a worthy Senator, wouldn’t you have “staff” ?

        I am older than I ever expected to be, but am proud (don’t ask me why) that I have never used (or needed) a punch bowl or a coffee maker (of any description). Getting married in the 60s, I did get 7 tiered trays as gifts, and, again, never used a single one. Reading back on this list of items, I guess I’ve dodged hostess duties, notwithstanding John and my “tea-table” groupings — in the thousands! — of buyers when they come to the studio and even then John makes the tea.

        1. Isabel Gibson

          Barbara – I guess I would(/will – think positive) have staff – are you thinking they’ll round up the punch bowls? Maybe so. The things one learns. As for not knowing why you’re proud of not needing a punch bowl or coffee maker, well, maybe it’s just that you’re proud of being you. And why not? As the sage said (on a fridge magnet, so it must be true): “The lily makes the best lily; the rose the best rose. And look, you! The best you around.”

  1. Jim Taylor

    You taught me something this morning. I’ve seen those overlapping circle diagrams before, but I had to Google to find out they were called Venn diagrams. And I used to think that I knew all there was to know!
    Jim T

  2. Dave Jobson

    Jonathan Haidt wrote in his book “The Righteous Mind” how we are not all wired the same. There is sort of the conservative mind and the liberal mind. The conservative mind cares about more things (5 dimensions) being just so than the liberal mind (2 dimensions). A conservative is, therefore, more rigid. So we have to learn to get along with each other if we are going to have a successful democracy. You can watch You Tube videos in which Haidt presents his reserve findings.
    I want your Venn diagram to indicate your bias and your admission that you can work with and listen to the other “guys”. Unlike many politicians we know of on both sides of the border.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Dave – I think too many politicians are wired for “We have the whole truth,” which justifies them in pushing their own bias, and never mind what anyone else thinks. So, yes, tracking flexibility and open-mindedness would be more valuable, likely, than knowing their specific policy positions.

Comments are closed.