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Elections, Elections Everywhere

The US Election is over and once again George W. Bush has received the presidency. While this seems to be the wrong choice to most of the rest of the world (http://217.160.163.211/globalvote2004/), it’s the one that Americans have made and, unlike in the 2000 elections, they have done so quite clearly. Not only did they award the Presidency to the Republicans, but also control of their Senate and Congress. While probably better for Canada, as President Bush partially campaigned on being less protectionist than John Kerry would be, it means another four years of nervousness for the rest of the world.

Americans poured out in a great show of their Christian faith. In fact, if you look at the exit polls (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html) you’ll see that the “Most Important Quality” of President Bush, according to those who voted for him, is his religious faith. However, their showing of faith has led me to question my own.

You see, I had faith that the “moral majority” was really just a vocal minority. I believed that people had become more tolerant and that, while there were still some hardliners who were unable to accept that any other form of spirituality was valid, these were very much in the minority. This election proved me wrong.

I believed that, for the most part, we’d come to understand that marriage is an expression of love between two people, and much like the old taboo against inter-racial marriages, the taboo against homosexual marriage was also crumbling. However, in the 11 states that proposed amendments defining marriage as strictly man/woman, the proposals were passed, 11 times.

I had faith that even among those who don’t agree with my beliefs on these two issues, the American people would see the lies they had been told, the massively ballooning deficit, and the slow but steady trickle of dead American soldiers, and remember that they are in a country where government and religion are supposed to be separate. But the American people apparently had other ideas.

This election took my faith away. Perhaps all this time I’ve been foolishly optimistic in blaming America’s rogue-like actions strictly on the American government when perhaps I should look toward the American populace instead.

What it all boils down to is that, perhaps, people in general aren’t as good as I’d thought them to be. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

It also kills my hope that there will be any change in the upcoming Alberta provincial election. Once again, Premier Klein is running, and so far his worst opposition is himself. Yet if the election in the United States is any demonstration, even that doesn’t mean much when it comes time to vote. After all, if people are voting on intangibles, then there’s little chance of reaching them with rational discussion.

A Good Idea Spreads

The Alberta government has picked up on a good idea from Manitoba. In 2005-2006, 10 bursaries that cover 100% of medical school tuition (http://www.gov.ab.ca/home/index.cfm?page=932) will be available. These bursaries will go to medical students in exchange for a five year commitment to practice in rural Alberta.

Now that the Alberta Government has begun realizing how bursaries can be a win-win situation, it’s my hope that they start applying this solution at a more general level. They should look for high need areas and apply these kinds of conditional bursaries wherever they can. It not only means a better educated and skilled populace for Alberta, it also helps us where we need it most.

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