Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Politically Correct – Or Politically Inept?

Doug ElniskiImage via Wikipedia

A rookie politician in Canada’s western provinces is learning how to be politically correct, after two separate poorly chosen statements.

The Edmonton-Calder Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta (MLA) Doug Elniski, apologized yesterday, after posting his speech to graduating grade nine kids: “ladies, always smile when you walk into a room, there is nothing a man wants less than a woman scowling because he thinks he is going to get sh*t for something and has no idea what.”

Elniski -- a Progressive Conservative member, was anything but conservative, continuing the blog posting: “men are attracted to smiles, so smile, don’t give me that ‘treated equal’ stuff. If you want Equal, it comes in little packages at Starbucks.”

Elniski, who’s only been an MLA for about a year, also got into hot water during the local Pride Parade, celebrating gay and lesbian rights and achievements.

During the parade, he “tweeted” live text posts on Twitter, a popular online instant messaging site allowing visitors to say in 140-words or less, whatever they want.

Elniski’s posts included one saying: “I am surrounded by bumping and grinding lesbians,” and then he said: “that guy has size-14 stilettos.”

Both comments offended some members of the gay and lesbian community, for being narrow-minded.

Elniski says he didn’t mean to offend anyone with any of his posts, noting that what was posted in his speech which he claims to give at grade nine graduations was a joke he got from a comedian, and that he had fun at the Pride Parade, and was just trying to convey his enthusiasm.

Regardless of what has been said, a bigger question remains – what will he say or do next to endanger his already threatened political career?

Love them or love to hate them, politicians are made or broken by the very things they say and do. That’s why it is often called being in the “public’s eye.”

The job of creating policies and programs to enable citizens to have meaningful lives is no small task. But end of the day, despite all the paperwork, proposals, policies, programs and laws a person creates, what we really judge our politicians for are their public personas.

Look at U.S. President Barack Obama, he’s still got a rock star-like following globally, because of his slick, purposeful, and highly engaging personality. Any other person in his position in the White House, during this economic depression would already be under attack by pundits and the public for not turning the economy around. Not President Obama, he’s got us Obama-crazy, very much like John F. Kennedy did in the 1960’s in the States, and Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau did during his leadership of Canada in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Prime Minister Trudeau did give Canada the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (it was officially signed into law in 1982 by Queen Elizabeth II) – but most of us don’t remember that. When we think of Prime Minister Trudeau, we think about the stories about him being a ladies man, the pondering politician paddling in his canoe, and how he’d tell reporters to f*ck off on more than one occasion.

Just as it was President Kennedy that inspired Americans to jump into the space race, promising in one of his speeches that “we’ll put a man on the moon.”

Maybe we should put Elniski on the moon – with the lack of gravity it would be a whole lot harder for him to put his foot in his mouth.
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