Friday, April 22, 2011

Containing My Excitement

I've supported the NDP my whole life. It's a frustrating activity - every now and then you get this surge of optimism, this feeling that 'this time is ours'. And then again and again we are disappointed. Something happens along the way - cold feet, maybe. Or a gas tank only half filled. Who knows.

And that's been a long, long time now - enough to temper my natural tendency towards excitement right now. Put that differently - I feel like dancing in the streets right now. Yesterday, I read poll stats in a daze and looked at the commentary again and again...

But I keep telling myself, 'don't rush to conclusions; we've been here before'.

I mean, we haven't. 1988 was probably my inaugural election as a person paying serious attention (I was 13), and it was a serious heartbreak for the NDP (and for Canada). But there's a lot different tis time out - most obviously 'the Québec issue'. We're entering a long-weekend family holiday with a most curious situation: one of the NDP as real contender. Obviously everyone else will sharpen their knives against Layton over the next few days - Duceppe in particular will need to spend the rest of the campaign doing nothing other than attacking Layton. But if the surge holds, or indeed if it even continues, all the attacks in the world might be too little too late. Indeed, attacks against Layton are more likely to backfire than attacks against anyone else because the man is just so damned likeable.

In fact, this might be what's currently happening: that the large numbers of people who like Layton as an individual, or who say they'd like to see him as Prime Minister, have realised that the best way to support him is by voting for his party. One hell of a realisation, surely.

And of course, if it is... if it really holds to 2 May, and we see a parliament that has a much strengthened NDP caucus... well, then I'll celebrate. I'll dance in the streets like I'd like to now. It's what I've wanted to see since I was a little boy.

But until then? Well... call me superstitious. Maybe I just don't want to jinx anything.

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