Embarrassments in the Campaign—but So What?

In one of the classic scenes from the classic movie “Casablanca,” French police captain Louis Renault kowtows to Nazi pressure and closes his friend’s nightclub on the most hypocritical of pretexts. He professes to be shocked—shocked!—to learn that there is gambling going on therein…and a moment later happily receives his evening’s winnings from an employee.

Canada’s political parties are likewise currently running about in tremendous shock. They’re shocked to find that the costume-loving prime minister, who badly misjudged sartorial expectations during a state visit to India, has quite a record of showing up in insensitive costumes at talent shows and parties.

They’re shocked to find that the Conservative Party has included candidates, even a leader, whose publicly expressed views about certain matters of sexuality are, well, conservative.

They’re shocked to find that the People’s Party of Canada, a grassroots organization arising largely because many Canadians feel marginalized by the other parties and by the media, have included supporters who hold views that, at best, can be called . . .  marginal.

And they’re shocked to find that the leader of the Green Party publicly professes admiration for Jesus Christ, only to be shocked again when she then trips over herself trying to make clear that her personal views are her personal views and must not in any way be construed to  indicate anything significant about her party or her leadership of it. Right. Got it.

That leaves only the leader of the NDP, who hasn’t had much of interest to say so far in this campaign but must be having the time of his life being shocked by everything going on around him…or being worried that his turn is coming next.

Christians, however, ought to be among the Canadians least shocked by any of this. Christian theology makes it plain that the best of us are capable of pretty significant sin, as well as stupidity, and that we cannot expect the best of us to run for high office. Power attracts all sorts of people, so we can expect all sorts of behaviour. And that’s what we’re getting these days—if not here, then south of the border and across the ocean as well.

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