IT’S APRIL FOOLS, ANY VOLUNTEERS?

I had a surprise this morning. My eldest son decided to put shaving cream on my hands while I slept. He was sorely disappointed when I awoke, foiling his dastardly plot. He did succeed with the shaving cream on the light switch to my office, though.

It is becoming apparent that the older we get, the slower our mental faculties become. Well, at least mine are, and I am hoping that I will have some company on the journey, perhaps with you. I had no sooner wiped the shaving cream off of my pants, as that is where it ended up, when I sat down and started to read a few websites.

The story I was reading was on PAPundits and involved how Hillary would be a good contender for the G.O.P. ticket in 2008 now that she has moved so far to the right of where she used to be. I mulled it over for a second, and then realized it was an April Fool’s gag. Shame on me for even remotely falling for that one. That will teach me to read anything before I am completely awake.

Has anyone besides myself realized that there has been a dramatic attempt by our media to wage a full scale war on Stephen Harper’s physical image? You would think that they would have learned after a couple of Liberal blogs ended up ruining the political careers of several prominent players at both the federal and provincial levels.

I remember my school days. While growing up, I lived in a one-parent home and in a housing project. My wardrobe? Scant. I never had the latest styles, nor even clothes that fit great. My poor mother tried to fix that, but when you have worn a shirt that is too small for so long, any attempt to get you to wear something that fits is impossible, because by then the proper size feels awkwardly too large.

I guess that makes me a little more sensitive than most. I was picked on incessantly, and remember craving the day when I no longer had to attend school. Perhaps then I would be among people of a higher mentality who would no longer measure me by my clothing.

Not much has changed in school, and the fashion consciousness of our youth has been throttled up. Now wardrobe is more important than ever. It can make you or break you. In fact, wearing the wrong color can even get you shot today. But what about the adults? Does it matter to them as much?

I remember during the summer when Stephen Harper was doing his barbecue circuit, the media was quick to point out that he had changed his hair style. I was somewhat taken aback that anyone would notice, let alone make a story out of it. What is that all about?

After becoming prime minister, much hullabaloo was made about his expanding waistline. Now, during his recent international trip to Mexico to meet with Presidents Bush and Fox, the press is wondering in full front page splendor whether Prime Minister Harper’s wardrobe came with the job.

While there may be some humour in how utterly stupid the press is making itself look, just what kind of message are we sending to our youth? Forget substance, forget ideology or education, make sure you look attractive, are in vogue, and worry about your clothes, because they will define your worth?

As the mood of distrust and dislike between the leaders of Canada and the United States begins to dissipate, all our press corps can focus on is the image that they see in the lens of their camera. Not substance, but style. Forget the fact that there may be some movement in upcoming legislative matters regarding entry into the U.S., which many of us rely on, and I guess the softwood lumber talks resuming soon are no big deal. Let’s focus on the vest.

That perhaps explains why we have elected so many poor prime ministers in the past. We measure them by their suave, and not their character. Our media is important. It ensures a level of accountability and prevents the worst from happening in our politics, but it seems those who run the big conglomerates are putting their own agenda ahead of their responsibility as journalists, and that hurts us all.