Hagrid for prime minister

One of the challenges with writing for a hard-copy magazine is that I need to file up to two months before publication date. That means I can’t really tackle timely subjects–I need to choose issues with a pretty long shelf life. But sometimes, time lag be damned, I have to tackle something timely. Like the 2011 federal election. Fortunately, the July 2011 Last Word (Lexpert), Hagrid for Prime Minister, stands the test of time very well.

And if you were in any doubt about my political predilections before, lays them all bare before you.

Unedited excerpt (full text follows):

“Mom? I figured it out.”

“What? The election?”

“Mhm. Green is like Hagrid. He loves all the woodland creatures, and takes care of them, and would do anything to protect them. And then Orange is like the Weasleys, or like Sirius Black. Because they care about poor people and people in trouble and stuff. And Red is like… like, they want to be Dumbledore—but they’re really Gilderoy Lockheart. And then Blue… Blue is like… maybe like Snape?”

“The Deatheaters?” says her mother glumly and hyperbolically. (OK, generally speaking, I wouldn’t cast Stephen Harper in quite the same category as Lord Voldemort, but this was election night and all I wanted was another minority to keep the Death… I mean the Conservatives in check. But I digress.)

“No, that’s not right,” the six-year-old. “Like… Filch. Uhm.” She nods, not fully satisfied, but preferring a Canada governed by Filch and Mrs Norris to one ruled by Voldemort, and who can blame her. She closes her eyes.

Original description by Ted Buracas: Stephen H...

Last Word: Hagrid for prime minister

by Marzena Czarnecka

It’s long over, and regardless of whether you felt victorious, betrayed or terrified, your emotions have probably settled down, and you again regard Canadian politics as boring. Me, I can’t stop weeping. And I don’t blame Stephen Harper or the people who voted for him. It’s my six-year-old’s fault.

Now, making federal politics intelligible to an intelligent child is never easy, but the CBC’s livestreamed map of Canada, coloured blue and orange, with splotches of red and its precious one splotch of green on the West Coast nicely simplified things for us. Blue was winning, orange was shaping up to the solid opposition, red was losing ground and—see that? See that splotch of green on Vancouver Island? That’s what we’re watching on the map tonight. That’s the one that really matters.

The six-year-old asks questions—the eighteen-month-old, I’m ashamed to admit, is adding a whole slew of four letter words to his nascent vocabulary, which his parents are ejaculating with both each blue and each orange win—and we answer, in-between hitting the refresh button on the CBC site, checking in on chat rooms, and juggling between the live streams from other sides. We answer with bias and passion, as all people do when they talk politics and religion, and she takes it all in and struggles to process it best as she can. She’s confused and upset—children (people!) like to win, and clearly, our colour is losing, and not just a little. Moreover, we expect it to lose, and we seem to be stupidly overjoyed over one little green splotch when evil blue (insert token apologies to my Conservative friends here) is taking over the map. So we explain some more about our skewed take on the world, the universe and the environment. Then we put the lap tops away for a bit and read Harry Potter.

The book gets closed, and I peek at the lap top. The green splotch is safe, the blue has an assured majority (an expletive, echoed by the toddler), orange has set itself new records, red I don’t care much about. A little voice speaks up from the pillow. “Mom? I figured it out.”

“What? The election?”

“Mhm. Green is like Hagrid. He loves all the woodland creatures, and takes care of them, and would do anything to protect them. And then Orange is like the Weasleys, or like Sirius Black. Because they care about poor people and people in trouble and stuff. And Red is like… like, they want to be Dumbledore—but they’re really Gilderoy Lockheart. And then Blue… Blue is like… maybe like Snape?”

“The Deatheaters?” says her mother glumly and hyperbolically. (OK, generally speaking, I wouldn’t cast Stephen Harper in quite the same category as Lord Voldemort, but this was election night and all I wanted was another minority to keep the Death… I mean the Conservatives in check. But I digress.)

“No, that’s not right,” the six-year-old. “Like… Filch. Uhm.” She nods, not fully satisfied, but preferring a Canada governed by Filch and Mrs Norris to one ruled by Voldemort, and who can blame her. She closes her eyes.

And I look at her with agonizing love that’s the reason for my irrational, hopeless voting behaviour (but we got one little splotch in 2011—one little splotch) in the Blue citadel that is Calgary. For her, for the toddler who’s currently prefacing every proto-sentence with a perfectly enunciated four-letter word, for their older brother who with all the cynicism an eight-year-old can muster falls asleep saying that voting is boring. Because if we don’t get this part of life and politics and business right, well, nothing else matters. If our air is foul, our water polluted, the forests and prairies gone, and Hagrid’s woodland creatures dead… Next election. Maybe next election, people will realize that…

“Mom?” the eyes open. “Mhhm, baby?” “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” “What?” “Well, Harry, Ron and Hermione love Hagrid because they know his heart is good. And I do too. But would people ever want Hagrid to run Hogwarts’?” Her bright blue eyes bore into me. “No way. Never mind the Ministry of Magic. Can you imagine? Hagrid as the Minister of Magic?” She sinks back into the pillows. “It’s just not going to happen, Mom.”

The eyes close, and she falls asleep. The toddler looks at me and utters a good night expletive. I look at the lap top and the pile of legal writing on environmental regulation, due diligence, and disasters, avoidable or inevitable, peeking out around the colour-coded map of Canada post the 2011 election, and I weep.

Marzena Czarnecka weeps in Calgary Centre-North. And misses Jim Prentice, blue though he was.

Thomson Reuters article record

3 thoughts on “Hagrid for prime minister

  1. Pingback: Why Albertans vote for status quo, every time « Marzena Czarnecka, Writer

  2. Pingback: I’m not gonna tell you | Nothing By The Book

  3. Pingback: I’m not gonna tell you | Nothing By The Book

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