OH, DEAR...I enjoy going to the Anime News Network forum, where I'm Tenchi, at least once a day, since I find it to be the best-moderated of all the high-traffic anime forums (at least it's a relatively high-traffic forums; it doesn't get remotely near the same amount of traffic as, say, Gaia Online, but, unlike Gaia Online, you don't have to wade through pages and pages of worthless shit threads to find one halfway intelligent discussion).
One thing I don't go to the ANN forum for is to be preached to about politics.
So, what should I find at ANN today but the following banner targeted at Canadian forum-goers?
Remember what happened when Americans like you failed to vote?
On January 23rd VOTE!!!
It seems innocuous enough, until you realize it's a thinly-veiled dig at the re-election of George W. Bush, a president who was perfectly correct to invade Iraq, bringing democracy to 14 million mostly appreciative Iraqis eager to exercise their right to vote, and whose other policies I support more often than not, certaily a lot more than I'd support the policies of a hypothetical President John Kerry. Granted that I'm within the fairly small minority of Canadians who support Bush (about 15% in the last poll I know of on the subject), but I generally don't appreciate ANN attempting to get out the Canadian vote by playing on most Canadians' ridiculously-exaggerated fears of "Chimpy McHalliburton". And I think it's a logical fallacy to suggest that George W. Bush might not have been re-elected if the lazy, apathetic, stupid, or just plain uninterested American non-voters had exercised their franchise. I don't care how mostly ultra-liberal political scientists try and cook the "weak support" numbers in their studies, the people who didn't vote by and large wouldn't have supported Kerry. They supported no one! That's why they're non-voters! Duh!
Plus, something like 20 to 30 percent more Canadians, per capita, vote in federal elections than do Americans. And we somehow get our higher voter turnout without P. Diddy going around handing out "Vote or Die" t-shirts at colleges. So, what's the point of the banner? It's almost as though they're scared of something happening in slightly less than three weeks' time. I wonder what? Hmmm...
Let me translate what I think the point of the banner is.
Dear decent Liberal-voting Canadians,
It seems that the National Post and a handful of right-leaning radio talk show hosts might have brainwashed enough Canadians to possibly enable the evil Conservatives to just squeak by with a minority government this time around. Scandals, schmandals, the Liberals are the "Natural Governing Party" in this country and the only time they should ever be demoted to being the opposition should be when Canadians fully come to their senses and elect the NDP in a coast-to-coast-to-coast landslide, damnit! (Or, even better, a Green Party landslide with an NDP opposition. It might happen!) As an anime fan, you are obviously left-of-centre (except for that libertarian rat fink Toren Smith who is a traitor to his proletarian Canadian roots), and, as such, you obviously realize that Stephen Harper is just a Canadian incarnation of the evil galactic overlord BUSHITLER!
On January 23rd, vote Liberal OR ELSE WE'LL ALL DIE!!!
Here's what I'd tell those Canadian forum-goers who are only dimly aware that there's an election going on.
Dear apathetic, non-political, and/or stupid (individual) Canadians,
If you don't care enough to follow politics and you need a George W. Bush bogeyman-invoking forum banner to try and scare you into voting, I'd rather you not vote. I don't see how it's better for democracy that you make an uninformed choice. Leave the election to the people who take the initiative of staying informed.
On January 23rd, it'll probably be a cold day, so choose warmth and stay home.
Finally, my message to ANN.
Dear Anime News Network,
I'm a Bush-supporting Canadian who is voting Conservative. (For Ottawa West-Nepean candidate John Baird, to be precise.) And it's a riding where the Conservatives have a pretty good shot to win. I'm not pissing into the wind this time like I was back when I voted Conservative in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges riding in 2004.
And there ain't a damn thing you can say to change my mind!!!
EDIT: Yeah, in this forum thread about the Canadian election, ANN Editor in Chief Christopher Macdonald (Tempest), who I presumed wrote the banner, pretty much confirms everything I suspected about the bias behind the banner (emphasis mine):
Personally I'm very displeased with the liberals, but there's no way I'm voting for a racist/bigot neo-concervative like Harper. Even though he says he's going to drop my taxes by $10,000 or more a year. I'm willing to pay money for medicare, education and the like.
Way to ad hominum there, Chris! (And being called a "neo-conservative" is a high compliment in my book.)
Also, kickass Republican ANN poster kiwidomingobleu takes ANN to task for the implied bias in the banner.
EDIT II: Oh, wow, this is an improvement. [/sarcasm]
Don't let the other guy ruin Canada.
On January 23rd VOTE!!!
A thinly-veiled jab at Stephen Harper ("the other guy" re: the leader of the opposition) isn't any better than a thinly-veiled jab at George W. Bush.
I know they'll explain it away as "No, no, 'the other guy' is a generic term for 'the party leader whom you support less'", but you know damn well what it really means.