Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge – And the race is on

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Get ready for the gong show because apparently the Silly Season is on full scale in North America.

In the midst of all the election insanity south of the border Canadians quietly sat back and watched the Conservative party pick a new leader in Erin O’Toole. While many political pundits predicted Peter MacKay would win the knight in shining armour status, O’Toole managed to gain the support of Conservative party members who turned aside other wanna-be’s in the party pick picnic. In reviewing the results of the election O’Toole won based on late ballot support from members who saw Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis bottom out in the opening rounds.

Did I detect a nation-wide sigh of relief when party candidates dumped Sloan early? Sloan’s somewhat red-neck approach while perhaps advantageous in a United States popularity scenario did not ring well with Canadian Conservative faithful. Regardless, I am thankful Sloan was dusted off.

Like many western Canadians I do not know O’Toole well enough yet to decide how he sits in my voting queue come time to decide which party or person I want running Canada in the next election. However, I am confident (sadly) that I will have plenty of opportunity to listen and decide between now and election day.

Meanwhile south of the border the silliness is already swirling full steam. Republicans are now fully engaged in a Donald Trump love him or hate him campaign following the Democrats anointment of Joe Biden to lead them out of the darkness. And dark it truly is.

It is tragically boggling to see the chaos, violence and downward implosion of the United States the past few years, a direct correlation to the election of Trump. Many Canadians are stunned that Trump has managed to remain in power this long despite his blatant lies and breaches of trust. We generally play by the rules and attempt to show civil decorum north of the border – placing things such as equality, integrity, honesty and leadership high on our list of expectations of our leaders. While we are certainly far from perfect and our various Prime Ministers and Premiers have a history of screwing up – we have never been forced to tolerate the level of racism, incompetence, dishonesty or plain stupidity as that witnessed by Trump.

I firmly believe that a character of Trump’s ilk would have never progressed as far along the political rise in Canada. Certainly any one of our political parties would have likely intervened on their own against their own leader if he or she had acted akin to the Donald. If the political party itself did not intervene with a wayward leader – Canadians themselves would have.

This past week we have been observing the Republican National Convention partly held (illegally) at the White House Rose Garden, with Donald and cronies proudly sitting in the first row. So far, ironically, the highlight of the rally has been Trump’s wife Melania who spoke well and delivered a somewhat sensitive and even poignant speech extolling her husband’s strengths while acknowledging Donald’s brash, bull-in-a-china-shop style. She showed some empathy for those who have lost family members to COVID, expressed sorrow over the deadly riots regarding Black Lives Matter, and ending her speech encouraging Americans to give Don another four year try.

So the stage is now set for a Trump – Biden battle. Biden brilliantly named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, which considering the apparent thinking process of American voters may be enough to turn the ship. A black female vice-president certainly captivates the attention of many American voters.

Regardless – we now have two major election battles to watch over the next several months. Settle in, grab a blanket and lots of snacks and beverages. With more COVID, a nasty flu season, and winter on the upcoming agenda – and likely few if any team sports to watch – it may be the best games to observe.

Scary.

***

Speaking of sports – I admit that hockey in August is weird however better than not at all. As I write this the Canucks have tied their series with Vegas Golden Knights at one game each. The team will be very hard pressed to defeat Vegas, however if they do I can actually see them progressing to the Stanley Cup finals.

That means that while I may not see the Leafs win the cup again before I die, I might just see the Canucks do it.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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