Tuesday, December 25, 2007

10 Lessons From 2007 pt. 1

Christmas is upon us. A merry Christmas to those who celebrate. Not being Christian, I take no particular note of the day. I do note that in a week's time it will no longer be 2007 and instead be 2008. So, before time passes this year into dust, a quick review of what we've learned over the past year.

10. There is no such thing as an inevitability in politics

Inevitable has been tossed around a lot this year. A spring election was inevitable. Jean Charest's defeat was inevitable. A fall election was inevitable. Hillary Clinton's nomination was inevitable. None of these things have come to pass. The lesson: don't believe the hype. The media (both mainstream and otherwise) make money (okay mostly the mainstream here... yay adsense!) on helping their audience understand the news and come to some sort of conclusions. These conclusions are often incorrect. Not to say that I will stop making predictions on this blog (half the fun in blogging after all). I'm just saying nothing is inevitable. Things may be more likely than not, but sometimes things change. In fact, things change most of the time.

9. A week is a lifetime in politics

So, we should have known this a long time ago. This year made the point standout. John Tory was seen as being tough competition for Dalton McGuinty, that is until the religious school flap blew up in his face. Mulroney was Harper's mentor until Karlheinz Schreiber reared his head. Things change quickly in politics. This is related to the point above. We should be weary of making predictions because we never know what the future may hold.

8. Records are meant to be broken (or at least asterisked)

Readers of this blog (all three of you) will know that I occasionally dip into the sports world for my posts. So here's the sports entry for the list. This year saw the breaking of the all-time home run record in baseball (Bonds), the youngest winner of the Hart in a generation (Crosby), and is on the verge of producing a perfect football team (the Pats). In the case of both baseball and football those records come amidst scandal. The Patriots were caught taping the signals of the New York Jets on opening day resulting in massive fines and the loss of a draft pick. Barry Bonds chase of the home run record was dogged by allegations of steroid use. Since then, Mr. Bonds has been indicted by a grand jury for perjury and has been named in the increasingly infamous Mitchell Report. In both cases, some have wondered whether or not the records should stand. I have no qualms with the Pats records. I don't think Spygate helped them in the least. Was it foolish and illegal? Yes. Does it change one of the best offenses ever fielded? No. That's what matters. That's why I feel very differently about Barry Bonds. Steroid use did help him hit all those home runs. While not banned by baseball, they were banned substances. He cheated and that directly impacted his performance. I don't accept that he is the greatest home run hitter in history. I can't.

7. Quebec is undergoing another political revolution

The continued strength of Stephen Harper's Tories combined with the rise of the ADQ in the spring election tells me that something big is going down in Quebec. Add to that the hearings on immigration and what you come up with is this: rural, conservative Quebeckers are tired of voting for socialists just because they agree with their position on independence. I think we are slowly seeing the evolution of a more accurately represented Quebec.

6. Nation building cannot work if the nation does not want to be built

2007 should prove once and for all that these misguided occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq are doomed to fail. Is the consequence of leaving potentially disastrous? Yes. That's why this debate isn't easy. What should be easy is the answer next time someone asks us to help occupy a resistant country. NO! We have not learned from history (Vietnam, Somalia etc.) and now we are repeating it. It is a great tragedy that so many people died this year for nothing. At the end of the day, the result of the mission will be the same: failure.

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