Monday, November 30, 2009

Local Boy Makes Good II

Last week, I wrote about the Liberals embracing Ignatieff's pedigree, as opposed to the current avoidance. Donolo is making initial noise that the Liberals will change gears and counter the current smear campaigns with their own positive narrative of Ignatieff's past. Let's hope that sentiment becomes a concrete thrust, because I've never understood our current strategy. First, our downplaying to date is pure reactionary politics, the Conservatives formulate an attack line, and we effectively buy in to the negative, with our own silence. Second, this misguided notion that time abroad, coupled with the "lofty" circles he travelled in, is somehow a liability that won't resonate with ordinary folks. I think that a shallow conclusion, that truly fails to understand the Canadian identity.

Canadians embrace internationalism, probably more than any nation on earth. As a matter of fact, Canada's image is a template for the world, in some respects. The idea of a Canadian moving abroad, particularly because of merit and talent, has never been a perceived slight, no matter the particular occupation or career. Ignatieff left Canada to pursue intellectual endeavors abroad, he was a WANTED commodity on the world stage- the horror, the shame! From where I sit, that's an advantage that can be exploited. In addition, every leader offers his/her own set of attributes, to fail to mold a narrative around that is the equivalent of giving up. Part of the reason Canadians don't really know who Ignatieff is, is because we've voluntarily failed to highlight his life's work, which is impressive by every objective measure.

Today, another perfect example of Ignatieff's stature on the world stage, completely rare air for a Canadian. Considered one of the world's great "thinkers", speaks to the respect Ignatieff enjoys, and it frankly boggles my mind why Liberals aren't pushing items like these with ZEAL. It would be one thing if Ignatieff was some aloof, detached elitist, that can't "rap" with the commoners, but he can with graceful ease, so why the hesitation? Are Liberals forgetting that part of the narrative envolves time as far away from the ivory tower as humanely possible, talk about "street" creds, Ignatieff has them in spades. That part of the story also speaks to a certain courage and curiousity, it completes the man. I don't think Canadians really have any sense of Ignatieff's past, apart from what the Conservative smears have offered. However, I don't blame them, because we've created the vacuum, we've allowed the negatives to operate in isolation.

I notice Jeff mirrors what I argue, it's time to turn this whole "just visiting" nonsense around and in so doing, give a more accurate picture of Ignatieff. Agree or disagree with his views, any fair person must cede the level of respect Ignatieff enjoys internationally, based on sheer merit and accomplishment. With Harper continually stumbling on the world stage, all the more reason to highlight Ignatieff's creds.

Ignatieff's vocabulary is such that his intellectualism isn't elitist, he's actually prone to slang, rather than enraptured with his own sense of prose ala the Peggy Noonan windbag disease. Ignatieff can mingle with the Tim Horton's crowd, he can relate, so Liberals need not fear the "elitist" angle. I've never sensed it, watching Ignatieff in townhalls or edgy television appearances- sheer ease, that make Harper look even more robotic and wooden. Always remember who we're comparing Ignatieff with, that alone should relieve any worry about who has the "common touch".

Number 64, on a list of world "thinkers", to go along with several other past accolades from other sources. I'll know we've truly changed direction, when I see a press release highlighting today's acknowledgement...

3 comments:

Lizt. said...

Still very good, but did not the CBC have him at 64th. Wow,he should be marketed.

Steve V said...

Oops ;)

WesternGrit said...

What we SHOULD be doing is attacking the "Provinciale-ness" of the Harper party. A group who couldn't care to leave their own Province, let alone the country. We must attack their lack of ability to function as a part of the world at large. They can't negotiate trade deals (which are good for the economy that they keep talking about), or even defend Canada's interests if they don't understand the world around them...