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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 05.24.11
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

Star Wars: I have a bad feeling about this

There are several Star Wars rules, not least of which is: just ignore the wooden acting.

Another rule is that if Star Wars is on TV, you have to watch it. That's just the way it is.

So after two consecutive evenings of watching A New Hope and then The Empire Strikes Back, I had no choice on a recent Monday night -- election night -- to watch Return of the Jedi when my eldest daughter Emily decided to complete the trifecta. This played into another Star Wars rule, namely that if your child shows interest in Star Wars, you are obliged to nurture that interest, preferably to the point of obsession.

(Incidentally, these rules are optional for the subsequent prequel series...)

That's how I ended up spending my Canadian election evening with one eye on the epic battle between good and evil with the fate of millions hanging in the balance and the other eye on Return of the Jedi.

Forgive me, then, if the two become a bit blurred.

Return of the Jedi picks up where Empire let off, namely with the rebellion regrouping after years of persecution at the hands of the Conservatives. The rebels plan a massive attack on the second Death Star in order to put a final end to Emperor Palpatine's plans to crush all opposition and the CBC.

After two previous movies, voters can be forgiven for thinking, "Haven't we seen this all before?" and that much of the dialogue seems forced and overly scripted. But things start to get interesting about halfway through with the introduction of a bunch of scrappy, furry creatures with big hearts but little weaponry: the NDP.

The Liberals are led by wise but frustrating Yoda who often speaks in inscrutable riddles. He dies, which is sad, but nothing really to get choked up about because his spirit lives on in the form of Justin Trudeau.

The villain in the piece is, of course, Darth Harper who is, by now, mostly machine. He has the power to draw people to the Dark Side, especially in Ontario. Is there good in him? Can anyone save his and Canada's soul? "I know there is good in you," says Luke. "The right wing agenda hasn't driven it from you fully."

About a third of the way into the movie, I started checking on election results and saw that the NDP were beginning their rout of the Bloc Québécois, much the way the Ewoks outmatch the seemingly better prepared storm troopers. Many newly elected NDP members have virtually no political experience, were simply filler candidates for the party, leading me to think that, sure, it's fine to vote for the party but you have to pay attention to your local candidate otherwise we're all just sheep letting the polls do our voting for us and...

Oooo, Princess Leia in a copper bikini!

It looked at first like voters were going to hand Harper another minority. "Your overconfidence is your weakness," says Luke. "Your faith in the left is yours," hisses the emperor.

"It's a trap!" shouts Admiral Ackbar as voters on the left disastrously split the vote.

"It is your destiny," says the emperor. "Canada, like the former Progressive Conservative party, are mine."

"I am a Liberal," shouts Luke, "like my father before me!"

By this point, it was clear that Harper was going to win a majority, thanks in part to the complete disproportion of seats in eastern Canada compared to the west. And, honestly, what was wrong with voters? How could they fall for Harper's narrow, mean-spirited agenda?

"Good, I can feel your anger!" says the emperor. "Let the hate flow through you."

Jedi, of course, has a happy ending: the Death Star and the emperor are destroyed, Darth Vader's soul is saved, and the Bloc are obliterated from the electoral scene.

Ultimately, Jedi, like the election, is fun while it lasts but not very satisfying. I went to bed feeling I had done my duty but exhausted, with Emperor Palpatine's warning to Canada still ringing in my head:

"You have paid the price for your lack of vision."

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through www.townships.ca. He can be reached at ross_murray@sympatico.ca.

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