Headlines and Leaders

“We live in a fantastic and immediate world,” I said to Campbell, Camp as we all know him, when I saw him fold the newspaper he was reading.

“Yes, it is so instant that today’s headline has a half-life of 24 hours before it decays into opinions and then further into non-sequiturs,” Camp said.

“This week we have Macron’s letter to the European community, published in 28 countries in 22 languages. It’s his personal vision of a united Europe, ‘where leaving is not an option’. Then we have Hillary who does not want to be President anymore,” Camp said. Those are just two that spring to mind.”

“Let’s not forget Guaido’s triumphant return to Caracas,” I added, or Trump’s medieval solution to a 21st century crisis.”

“How about Algeria’s 82 year old president Bouteflika, who is in a hospital in Geneva, basically incoherent after his stroke six years ago. He is running for a fifth term amidst large street protests.”

“Then there is the Pope who is opening the secret archives from the 2nd world war or Cohen’s revelation that Trump never wanted to be president, just a candidate who would come out as the world’s most famous loser which would boost his brand into the stratosphere. According to Forbes he has lost over a billion dollars, because nobody wants to be involved with his name anymore. NBC dumped him, then Macy’s, Serta and a whole host of other businesses. And now all his business deals are under the microscope, which will only get worse for his brand. Depressing don’t you think?” Camp said with a twinkle in his eye.

“Politics at home are not much better. Just look at Trudeau who is being accused and criticized from all sides for his alleged interference with the former Attorney General,” I said.

“I still like him,” Camp said. “First of all there is nobody better, definitely not Andrew Sheer on the conservative side and the NDP, well, they always elect an unelectable leader. Trudeau is not perfect but that’s hardly a disadvantage, it only makes him human and I like that in an elected leader. Also, many things will be said, true and false, between now and October.”

“Is not telling the whole truth a lie?” I asked, “and is making a political decision a mistake? Compare Trudeau to other leaders and he comes out like fresh milk, not condensed like Macron or powdered like Merkel or evaporated like May. Trump of course is spoilt milk gone sour.”

“Milk?” Camp laughed. “Now that is a homely metaphor.”

“Did I hear milk?” Vicky asked, holding back the two pints on her tray.

“Just a comparison,” Camp said, waving his hands, ”nothing to worry about, we’re still drinking beer.”

“What a relief, because we’re right out of milk, it’s kind of short on demand around here.”

“Where is the cream amongst the political leader’s?” I asked, taking a relieved sip from the frosty mug.

“New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern comes to mind, or maybe Ethopia’s President, Sahle-Work Zwede?”

“Both women?” I said.

“Well yes, women. They make by far the more honourable leaders and did you know that African countries have the most elected women in their parliaments. Rwanda leads with 62%, even South Africa has 42% female legislators. Compare that to Canada’s 32%, which under Trudeau is a record.”

“Or Gibsons’ 40%.” I said.

We both sat back, looking out at our lovely harbour view.

“Here is a silly question Camp,” I said. “Would you pick up a coin on the road or the floor?”

“Yes, I guess I would. It’s kind of a reflex, engrained from childhood.”

“Yeah, I’m the same,” I said, “I picked up a dime today on the road and almost got run over. I bet you a pint the young generation wouldn’t bother.”

“You’re on, let’s ask Vicky.”

“Would you pick up a dime or a nickel if you saw one on the ground?” Camp asked our pretty young waitress.

“If it was a loonie or a toonie, I’d bend over but I wouldn’t put my back out for a nickel or a dime?” she said.

“I guess that makes it a tie,” I said. “I’ll buy you a pint if you buy one for me.”

(a loonie is a Canadian one dollar coin and a toonie is the two dollar coin)



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