Quantum of solace

Justin Trudeau is too good to be true or, in these bizarre political times.

“Normal computers work either with power going through a wire or not, a one or a zero. They’re binary systems. What quantum states allow for is much more complex information to be encoded into a single bit. A regular computer bit is either a one or a zero, on or off. A quantum state could be much more complex than that, because, as we know, things can be both, a particle and a wave at the same time, and the uncertainty around quantum states allows us to encode more information into a much smaller computer. So that’s what’s exciting about quantum computing.”

Some physicists have applauded the speaker for his understanding and clarity of expression. Other computer nerds said that the speaker has not got it completely right. But most people have been utterly wowed. Because almost no one in the world, it seems, expects a politician to know anything at all anymore, forget about also being able to actually articulate it. It could be the fault of the worldwide dissemination of words of wisdom from former US President George W. Bush, whose protestations that people should not “misunderestimate” him did not stop anyone from giggling sadly and cynically when he said, “Well, I think if you say you’re going to do something and you don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness”.

Or maybe it is the US presidential hopeful Donald Trump whose racist, misogynistic and insensitive language and behaviour may have made him into a folk hero for the boorish but has lowered standards for politicians everywhere.
Or maybe it is Russia’s Vladimir Putin and his strange desire to release bare-chested photos of himself grappling with wild animals or jumping onto aeroplanes or whatever other bizarre things he does? Or is it revelations that British Prime Minister David Cameron had some unsavoury connection with a dead pig during his college years?

Or our own Prime Minister who has told us that Lord Ganesha’s elephant head proved that plastic surgery was practised in ancient times and, moreover, that the science of in vitro fertilisation was known in Vedic times. And so much like Mr Putin, comic books tell us that Narendra Modi also had some close encounters with crocodiles when he was a little boy. Instead, here’s Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. He was elected in 2015 and took the Liberal Party from 36 to 184 seats — the biggest such jump in Canada. Mr Trudeau is 44, does yoga — including a mean Mayurasana which is no easy feat — and is a liberal, feminist, non-racist, open-minded, multi-cultural, compassionate, forward-looking politician. Plus, he can also talk about quantum computing when he needs to.

Either he’s too good to be true or, in these bizarre political times, we are just overjoyed when a politician who is an elected head of state can actually sound and behave like a human being. Mr Trudeau is not just young (he’s 44, but in politician-age that’s about 14), there is a refreshing “realness” about him. And he seems to be bucking the trend of a world turning increasingly Rightwing and/or fascist by defeating a conservative government. He is a liberal and proudly so. He has not yet obfuscated on issues. He has not yet shown his “trustworthiness” in Dubya fashion. He has not yet revealed that everything he promised was a “jumla” in our own homegrown Amit Shah manner.

Sadly though, the cynic in one refuses to die or even shut up. Many felt that US President Barack Obama would magically fix everything in America and the world. He even won the Nobel Peace Prize before he did anything at all. After eight years of Mr Obama — who at least still makes sense when he talks — here is America unleashing Donald Trump on the world. Whether or not Mr Trump even wins the Republican nomination, the damage has been done: hope has been battered by buffoonery. Long ago in India, some people had some hopes from Rajiv Gandhi when he became Prime Minister after his mother’s assassination in 1984. But Gandhi came to the throne tainted by the riots that started with his mother’s death and his family legacy. And all too soon, his dreams of changing India were destroyed by stalwarts within his own party and by the end of his tenure we were giggling every time he mixed up his Hindi with statements like “Hum jeetenge or losenge”.

Mr Trudeau also comes with a family history — his parents, Pierre and Margaret, were quite the highfliers of their time. His father was Prime Minister of Canada twice — from 1968 to 1979 and again, from 1980 to 1984. But Justin Trudeau appears for now to have forged his own path. And unlike Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, he is not an old-school socialist who appeals to the young in spite of looking like Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future.
For us in India, even as the Trudeau government prepares to apologise for the terrible Komagata Maru incident, we know that Mr Trudeau’s Cabinet is more representative of Canada’s ethnic diversity than our government is representative of India’s minorities. He has more Sikhs (four) in his Cabinet than Mr Modi, as
Mr Trudeau pointed out to

Mr Modi and to the world. Thus proving, wonders of wonders, that he has a sense of humour with a bit of a sting and he is not afraid to show it. The tragedy of politics is that all too often it corrupts. People become caricatures of themselves as they scramble to stay in the same place, to cover up with bumptiousness their failures and shortcomings. They urge us to “misunderestimate” them as they tell us some random and boring “thoughts of their mind” while ignoring burning issues all around them. Maybe it won’t happen. And until then, we have the miracle of Justin Trudeau, fitting into the zeitgeist without succumbing to the past’s pitfalls. Not a binary of 1 and 0 but a power that is much, much more. For now he’s a quantum of solace. Okay, forgive me. He asked for it.

( Source : Columnist )
Next Story