It is always easier to imitate morons than emulate those who are enlightened.
And so, the lowest strata of American politics and social dissent begins to manifest itself on the periphery of Canadian political life.
For some time now, we have had Progressive Conservative Party leadership contender Kellie Leich touting her American style Canadian values.
On Saturday December 3, in response to a speech delivered by Chris Alexander that was critical of Rachael Notley’s leadership, an angry crowd of protestors outside the Alberta legislature chanted “lock her up,” aping Trump supporters’ mantra regarding Hilary Clinton.
Alexander, who is also vying for the leadership of the federal Conservatives said he felt uncomfortable during the “lock her up” chant at the rally.
However, in a video of the event, Alexander is seen nodding, smiling and moving his hand in unison to the chant in what one could only construe as sanction and solidarity.
It is disappointing to see a leadership candidate, when presented with an opportunity to show genuine leadership and good judgment, instead of seizing the opportunity and admonishing such crass behaviour, he lends sanction to base undemocratic impulses.
Mercifully, those lip-syncing the worst that the US has to offer are a small minority and hopefully even some of the approximately 1,000 people at the rally were swept up in the moment and with sober second thought will show more prudence in future.
Rebel Media, owned by Ezra Levant, sponsored the rally to protest the NDPs plan to levy a carbon tax in January 2017.
Levant is another one of those maverick right-wing voices with no regard for the truth, a matter that has seen him successfully sued for libel on at least two occasions.
Others at the rally included Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, MP Kerry Diotte and Bernard the Roughneck Hancock, who called on hackers to find out what is going on in the Alberta Legislature, again echoing a call made by Donald Trump in relation to Hilary Clintons’ emails.
It is always forlorn to see people mimic other people’s behaviour and repeat the words of others, instead of thinking for themselves and taking the time to coherently express their own position.
Obviously, it is more persuasive if one carefully formulates an argument rather than engaging in distractions like chanting secondhand phrases.
I dislike chanting and slogans as a form of protest whether I agree with the protestors’ position or not.
There is something mind numbing about chanting at public forums and besides, we are by now impervious to that style of rote, mechanical reiterations.
I am not suggesting that Albertans should pull punches and be unduly restrained when objecting to the carbon tax.
I am suggesting however, that ranting and chanting like a belligerent lynch mob should be discouraged as it does a disservice to the cause.
It is always more persuasive to voice one’s objections in a manner that is well thought out and clearly expressed.
When looking at the recent election in the US with all its aberrations, vulgarity and flagrant disregard for the truth, rather than studying that phenomenon as a strategic playbook, Canadians would be better served by examining it in the context of a cautionary tale.