Friday, November 23, 2012

Jack the Blessed

Coming soon to the home 'edutainment' unit nearest you is a video paean to the most recent, greatest Canadian politician who failed to launch. And that would be the late Jack Layton of sainted memory.

Yeppers, Jack the urban shoehorn  is the subject of a 'biopic'!  The saga of his lifestyle, from at least the time he hit the national stage or married Olympia Chow - heiress to a dogfood fortune. Jack was a lifelong pol, rising from granola-eating bicycle-riding metrosexuality  as a member of the Toronto city council to standing for political office with his 'partner' Ms Chow and gaining a Toronto seat in Ottawa for the New Democratic Party. From there it was only a waiting game until the leader - Ms McDonough from down east  - tired of the frustration and Jack ascended to the throne.

His management of the party was un-outstanding until the Liberal party self-immolated and Jack became the only english-speaking politician who could make himself understood in French as well. Things were looking very good as Jack led the party into the official opposition slot, a sea change on the national stage, when the Liberals failed to qualify for election funding. But things were not all well. For Jack got sick and then died - leaving the dream unfulfilled in the minds of most people, but not in the hearts of true believers.

 And hence we have the passion of the Mao transliterated to the Canadian screen.

Jack is portrayed by those vouchsafed to hold his memory, and political inheritance, as a 'renaissance' man. An academic. A self-taught linguist who mastered not only French but Cantonese as well. A self-taught guitarist and musician. A physical health and science buff dedicated to the pursuit of physical health and beauty. A good, but yet thoroughly modern lapsed united Church man,  who could sire the tribal off-spring and then divorce his 'Sarah' to become more racially 'eclectic'. Jack was a walking poster-child for all that is human, humane and wholesome. And that's why the semi-canonization. If he'd only been a Catholic.

Jack was in full favour of advancing society and that's why he stood up for gay rights, and a woman's untrammelled right to choose - and the freedom of everybody else to fund them. He was a real 'mensch'.

What won't show up is the fact that Jack never really 'worked' at anything. He went from the high school student council, to elected office as a Toronto alderman. And from there his 'work' was politics.But that doesn't detract from the fact that for a Canadian 'pol', he wasn't cut from the standard cloth. He wasn't crooked and what you saw was what you were going to get. He might have made the place better.

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