Well this morning began in a pretty typical way. I was walking around in the bush checking on some survey while peripherally checking twitter in case some issue demanded my attention and input. I noted a couple tweets regarding the Wildrose Campaign bus from some people. I knew that the bus was being unveiled today so didn’t think much of it. I just assumed that the usual suspects were adding their critique on the shade of the color or something. Still tweets kept popping up on the bus so I knew something was up. I paused and had a look at a picture of the bus and saw what is pictured below:
Yes. In an epic failure of graphic design Danielle Smith’s torso was pictured on top of a pair of bus wheels which caused some rather unintentional imagery.
As an unabashed partisan supporter of, founding member of and multiple term member of the provincial executive of the Wildrose Party, how was I to respond to a twelve foot depiction of our leader like this?
As a socially liberal man married to a strong political woman (aka @Jaanikka) how was I supposed to respond to this image?
Well I will tell you: I laughed my head off!
I am not talking the obligatory LOL that I give on twitter when somebody says something moderately amusing. This was a deep, rich and real outright laughing fit in the middle of the trees. I then jumped in on some of the growing laughs and jokes about the whole thing on Twitter.
Face it people. The picture is hilarious and there is nothing wrong with laughing about it or making good natured jokes about it.
I understand that elections and politics are serious business by their very nature and importance. That is why distractions and laughs like this are indeed so important. I take politics very seriously. I have put thousands of hours and dollars into politics over the years. Rest assured I don’t take the issues and policies lightly. I still however can laugh at myself and the party I support when the situation calls for it.
In past election campaigns my fondest memories are not of the knockout punch delivered in a church basement all candidates forum. I remember the fun/funny things. I remember a car chase with a black Saab driven by a supporter of an opposing candidate while I drove a mobile billboard though the suburbs of Calgary (it was a low speed chase). I remember asking for Mr. Korea at a door due to poor walking papers only to be told by a young lady in perfect English with excellent sarcasm “We are Korean but nobody named Korea lives here.” (awkward but I still got a sign placement). I remember 3am stakeouts to try and catch a serial sign vandal (and we did catch him).
Campaigning and campaigns can be fun. They have to be. It is tough and important work being on a campaign. A person can wear themselves physically and emotionally out very quickly if they will not let themselves relax and have some fun at times. To do so a person has to lighten up and be able to laugh at themselves first and foremost.
I see that some people immediately labelled all of the banter about the bus as being sexist. I say with all sincerity: Kiss my butt. It is not. Geeze. People can make jokes about Obama without being racist and people can make jokes about female politicians without being sexist. I despise people trying to shut down humour and discussion by claiming sexism or racism when it is not really there.
I have seen many who keep saying that this would not have gone viral like this had it been a male candidate. I say BS people. Below is a picture that somebody tweeted. It is funny too. Now, had that bus had a male political candidate pictured, I assure you that the banter and the jokes would have taken off and been just the same.
Look, sexism does exist and women in politics get terribly abused unfairly in public life. There is a double standard when it comes to critique of their appearances, their attitudes and even their voices. We saw it in a recent repugnant headline about the Alberta election in the Huffington Post, we saw it when people commented on Clark’s cleavage in BC and we saw it in the utter character assassination of Palin. I hope that we can grow out of it as many great women are indeed staying out of politics due to not wanting to endure that scrutiny and abuse.
The above being said, that has nothing to do with the current Wildrose bus affair. There are some individuals who went too far in their comments such as Progressive Conservative campaign manager Piotr Pilarski tweeting about tassels and such but that is to be expected by nuts like him. He would have been just as offensive on something else had this issue not popped up. The majority of the banter was good natured and it was fun.
Danielle responded excellently. I can only guess that she was not immediately amused by the error. It is expensive and certainly distracts from the campaign.
All the same, Danielle put out a tweet saying:
“Glad to see everyone is so interested in our bus. 😉 Guess we’ll have to make a couple of changes huh?”
Nothing more needs to be said. This is a passing issue. Some embarrassment was had as well as some fun. Hopefully some lessons were learned and there is likely now a better system of checking on things being implemented by the campaign team.
Some people have complained about all of the joking being childish. Well nobody knows how to relax and have some fun better than a child do they?
Pull the stick out of your arses and laugh a little people. Be a child for a moment. It is going to be a long campaign.