America is NOT an Assh*le

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I am Canadian and I need to vent.

We are different from Americans in case you hadn’t noticed. For example, we are often said to be friendlier, and can have healthier eating habits like…moose and stuff. Also, if you dial a wrong number in Canada – you may be in for a ten minute conversation and a new friend. We really are like that.  We apologize for stuff we don’t need to apologize for – like the couch or other inanimate object for running into it.

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Our other massive difference – is our political system and well – most of the entirety of our culture and how we relate to each other and our government.  We are a British constitutional monarchy. We have a  parliament and ministers and provinces – not congress, and states. Still a democracy, and also in dire need of electoral reform wehave had our share of stories to tell about our colourful political past, like the time the country tried to split up and everyone freaked out and moved to Toronto. But I have never felt fear – pure and undaunted – as I do now.

What we see across our border is anything but normal, positive or progressive. In fact it stands to put back our efforrts on behalf of the planet and its people by so many light years – I fear we will never recover. It’s really frightening. So scary I almost broke down and wrote a letter of apology to my children for bringing them into this shit hole beautiful broken world. I cannot imagine what their future will be now. And until November this year we had never seen anything as terrifying as the behaviour of the American people through their federal election and the final devasting result.

yes – devastating.

 

For those of you that aren’t scared – wake up.  Maybe like many I have heard, you “don’t like politics” and are busy ignoring the rest of the world in lieu of your small personal universe. Let me say: This is not the time to shut out world events and say “its none of my business” -0h that is a such a cop-out.

But what do we do!!??

We do THIS.Image result for plato on the importance of participation

This conversation of politics, philosophy and the changes emerging in our evolving cultures is REALLY important. even if its just an exchange between you and another person – there is ALWAYS something to learn from each other. Learning here – is the key. We learn from each other, from online resources, books.

We feel ineffectual and powerless to manage the grand enormity of the problems facing north america and the world in general. THIS CONVERSATION is our part in it – it is our connection. The exchange of what we know and understand.

 

ANd maybe we don’t “agree” but I will assume if you believe somethign it is because you feel it is best for your situation. I want to know why that is – because that is how we learn. By listening – an dexchanging. Open the mind people!

And please – read good sources…many sources. And by the way you can’t get all of your political education on YouTube and The Google (as my mother in law calls it) and say you know something.

I just had to say that out loud.

So meanwhile, while the new administration of the USA works very hard to pull the wool over the eyes of its public, by sequestering the media, I am going to say any damn thing I want. If you don’t like it…oh..please read the warning:

CONTENT WARNING:

Do not read any further if you are a supporter of the “Unnameable one”.  11214118_885394291555162_7326107206868106102_n

You’re not going to like what I have to say.

In fact if you are any one of these:

  • a card-carrying member of the KKK
  • a misogynistic prick
  • anti-women’s rights (abortion lets say)
  • A wall builder
  • a race separator

Disclaimers over  – we go on….Image result for canadian prime ministerdownload

Let’s get this straight right now – Our leader in Canada (called a prime minister ) – is handsome and smart and good. let me repeat: handsome smart and good.

The new president in the united states – we will call him “the Unnameable one” is the opposite: Ugly, really really dumb and bad bad bad. “bad to the bone” yes indeed.

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Dear America – wtf were you thinking??

But he appeals to folks because he is “not a politician“, and you the American public don’t like politicians anymore. Well good for you.

For fuck’s sake. I don’t like doctors but I am not going to ask the mechanic down the street to check me for cancer because well – he would not want to do that and would be very bad at it I suspect. But I like my mechanic way more than doctors so…

You don’t like politicians, and you don’t want to get involved (most of you didnt even vote!!! SHAME ON YOU) because pfft politics is beneath you, or you’re too smart for it or something, so you elect Delirium Tremours to represent you.Image result for democracy plato

AMERICA IS NOT AN ASSHOLE – but you have elected a Tyrant.

DT is a horrendous disgusting, materialistic, sexually abusive, insane racist, culturalist, misogynistic – ok I could go on but lets admit it…he does NOT represent the great nation that is the ONLY one to help other nations (what? you gonna wait for the brits? The dutch? oy…)  out of everyone in the WORLD – the only nation to consistently provide help to nations that needed it in the past fifty years.

Americans are AWESOME: Beautiful, brave, big-hearted warm people.

So, who is this asshole who you have chosen to represent you??  Cause it seems shit is now running uphill…

I was just at the grocery store and the cashier there, a nice older lady named Donna and I were chatting.  She told me she was just back from being sick – suffering from extreme anxiety. I assume any interchange with a Canadian about American Politics will result in the same conclusion.  Generally in Canada a conversation about the Unnameable One is friendly because we all mostly agree. All except for Donna I found out.

LIke most friendly starter conversationsm, American politics is a good way to find common ground normally. “Oh my god they’ve gone nuts. who is that arsehole they elected?”, is mostly what you get, whether you are in small town rural like where I live, or big town city – Canadians do not like “the Unnameable One” (not using his name to give him more air time. The man needs to get off Twitter and read a book or two).

So I say to Donna with a smile:

“Yes! I understand your anxiety – its been a rough ride with the American elections. I have not slept properly since the horrible morning I woke up and saw the awful results”.

She looked at me with drawn eyes and then quickly down to her register again, I could tell a little afraid to express herself.

Then she says carefully;

“Yes well – maybe some people are tired of politicians. Maybe the media is so evil we really don’t know anything that is going on!”

Oh.

He has convinced Canadians that ALL media is out to get them too?

Great.

I understand the perspective, and can truly and probably more than most people relate to the feeling that politicians are generally asshats, self serving, egomaniac, selfish, liar, cheater – this is what has emerged over our years of developing Western democracy. A sincere hatred of the political archetype. But if we want a democracy there is work to do for us all! Image result for meaning of the word democracy

A democracy isnt just freedom and no work or involvement. It is indeed the opposite!! If you want no work in your political system then just head to Russia where the government just makes all the decisions for you. Easy Shmeezy. Here in north america, we like freedom. and freedom takes work. A democracy is where a political system involves an election of people to represent YOUR INTERESTS to the rest of a culture.

Are these really your best interests? Becasue if “Delerium Tremours”dumb dumb is what America thinks of itself – I think we are in a stellar amount of trouble as a planet.

Let us remember that those people who would run for office are NATURALLY not the best leaders. Who are the people you admire? The ego-less ones: Martin Luther king, Gandhi – now THOSE guys had serious leadership and support that caused enormous social and cultural reform.  Their power did not come from an election though. It was Natural Acceptance. Not much of that happening with the DT eh? And that is what we need right now – a popular leader who is bent on freedom, inclusiveness, kindness, peace and non-violence.   Image result for gandhi peace

I have no answers, no conclusions – but for poor Donna and all the other beautiful Canadians who are being led astray by these contemptuous morons I say – hang on to your inner Canadian! Don’t get sucked into the rhetoric!  People have told me I am opinionated.  Yes probably.  I think we are all opinionated – but I know how to use my words to express it, and because I care very very deeply about the future of our world.  Plus,  I have actually really given considerable mind-space to politics and culture – maybe because I am a political scientist so that’s what we do.

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But please
– if you want to know more, go to something better than the University of Google.  Don’t just read MSN and Facebook. YouTube is NOT a course. Please read something that is not online. We call them books. Marcus Aurelius comes to mind. Maybe a little Plato to spruce up your democracy seeking day?  Definetly: Humes, Kant, Locke, Rousseau – now those guys know their stuff.

And be KIND to each other. For god’s sake. I don’t care what you think or what you believe – not one bit. I dont even want to change your mind – because I know that is quite simply impossible.  But I guarantee you that if you are passing around rhetoric to increase the fear and sadness, hatred and intolerence  in this world (that our children have to take over) – whether you are Canadiabn or American – I will have a conversation with you that you may or may not enjoy.  Better get your big-boy/girl words ready.

I am done being quiet and letting idiocy run rampant.

So….Peace America! Stay beautiful. You dont need to be “great again” – you already are. Please start acting like it.

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What Do We Tell Our Children?

A far too personal introduction: I am a white French Canadian mother of seven farmer and musician.   Maybe that gives you an image in your head of someone different from you – maybe someone  who would not necessarily care about what was happening a world away in Ferguson Missouri. But I do care – very much. And I hope my personal information will be relevant only to you at the beginning of this article – and by the end it will no longer matter.

My daughter brought a really interesting blog to my attention – she had been talking about it for a while – written by a beautiful black woman who promoted cultural peace.  She had strong well expressed opinions and my daughter admired her.

AFter Ferguson, it began to change and I saw my daughter’s passions begins to rise. SHe said herself,

“Mom there’s a fire inside of me that I have never felt before”.

I admit to enjoying this.  I like seeing my kids care about something deeply. But she was clearly pissed.

The woman’s blog had apparently turned from being appealing and powerful, to angry and hateful dismissing comments from white readers, calling them “privileged” and discounting their support.  My daughter’s fiery temper rose out of her feet and exploded from her mouth in a diatribe of expletives.

“You’re doing the same thing”, I tried telling her quietly.

But she was angry – angry at being pigeonholed in the box of “all whites”.  Incensed at not having her help and support for the black people protesting in Ferguson accepted and acknowledged I suppose. Then again Maybe she was feeling a little of what black’s in America have felt their whole life?Stereotypes, invisible and unimportant. Out of control.

Which brought me to my question…

what do we tell our children when they come to realization of unfairness and inequality?  What power do they have?

When I was a young girl, my family had a condo in Daytona Beach. I remember it well – a row of fancy white buildings dotting the beach about a mile off of the Daytona main. Across the street was a shopping center with a Publix and beside that an exclusive golf course; all very private – all very white. I didn’t understand what that was – I was young and untouched by the invisible lines that separated us.  Back home my best friend was a Jamaican boy whose father was a renowned biology professor who won the Order of Canada.  My “type” of racism was reversed. I thought ALL black people drove Volvo’s and were academics.  Of course this was untrue for everyone – white or black – but that was also the age that I assumed everyone’s birthday was on the same day as mine. I suppose it’s just the way the young mind processes and groups things trying to understand the world as we are growing up.

 Only a few blocks away from the condo was a suburb of Daytona, a mainly black neighbourhood.  I remember going food shopping with my mother at the Publix the white patron’s annoyance when we were behind a black customer in line because they would take longer with counting their food stamps.  Eventually when I got a bit older, I would get in to a great deal of trouble for stealing all of my mother’s food stamps and going into that neighbourhood to put them into mail boxes anonymously – I was grounded and I didn’t apologize.

 My experiences in Florida and in other Southern states throughout the 1970’s-1990’s showed me clearly that although segregation may have been abolished by law – its roots remained strong and unyielding somehow.  That maybe the right to vote was extended, and the Jim Crow laws were repealed, but white America found other ways of subverting the black population.  Employment and educational inequity, healthcare inequity – keeping the masses at bay.  There was a quiet agreement amongst (especially) southern whites to keep the black population powerless and poor. And the bar that black populations set for themselves was comparatively lower than that which was afforded to the “privileged” white population. Somehow, the roles that people had assumed under segregation were behaviourally ingrained and were being maintained by mutual agreement of both sides.  These rules of behaviour are born of a hundreds of years of mistaken identity, brainwashing and blatant human error.  We have been inundated through every powerful means available – radio, TV, literature and art, previous generational beliefs – that we all have certain roles certain expectations to fulfill as either white or black people.  And in reality we just go about the business of doing what is necessary to become what we believe is expected of us with no conscious recognition that this is what we are doing. We are like robots – walking with blank blinking eyes not ever considering where our actions thoughts and choices are coming from.  Until incidents like Ferguson and Chicago wake us up from our dream-like state.

 In discussions I have with people about cultural differences, I often hear quick defensive statements like –

“I had a black best friend”, they would say. Or “I had a black girlfriend”

We are ALL racist, I would insist. That doesn’t mean we can’t become better. Realizing that is the first step to a more conscious moving forward. My point is that we all have limiting thoughts about beliefs about other cultures. Until you have really lived and been immersed in the way a culture functions and flows, you cannot possibly have the first idea about the motivations behind people’s choices and actions. 

When I was travelled through China the first year it opened its doors to tourists, many of the people, especially children there had never seen a Caucasian person except in a book or the rare TV if any they got to see. My father was especially attractive to the children. They would surround him in droves waiting for him to sing a song or tell a story.  A fat white man = Buddha.  Someone who was not starving and was “full” and happy.   Our perceptions of each other have everything to do with how we have been shown the world. 

I have been very lucky to have been able to travel a great portion of the world in my life, and even to live in places like Guinea, West Africa. I was young, white and clearly a minority when I arrived in Guinea. It was a jarring experience, which for someone else may have been unsettling but for me, the moment my feet hit African soil I felt at home, welcome and happy.  I was often found skipping school to go hang out in the “pig village”, the neighboring village that had the responsibility of keeping a gentle giant pig.  Beside them was the drum village where I learned the most basic and important things. In Guinea I was a minority very often.  However, as opposed to the black experience in America, of being treated as lower and lesser, in Africa I was treated with gentleness and kindness.  As a person of “non-colour”, and maybe because I was young and enthusiastic, I was treated with extraordinary open hearted kindness and welcoming.  They enjoyed my differentness I think. The different way I dressed or spoke or expressed myself with my hands. Even the things I would laugh at or ask questions about.

But in North America – we aren’t “enjoying” each other’s differences. We berate and condemn – we are afraid of differences.  Studying political science I became enthralled by leaders like Martin Luther King and Gandhi. It was starkly apparent that there was a great deal more power and lasting impact in a peaceful change rather than volatile war which only seemed to give us temporary spurts of peace always awaiting the next battle (case in point – the Middle East).The good news for all of us, is that all that it takes to get past this kind of poisonous unconscious living – is to become aware that this is what we are doing.  ASs long as we continue to publicize our opinions and thoughts in terms of “black – white” / “them- Us” we are fulfilling the role of believing that we are separate – that we are different. We are continuing the destructive illusion.

situations like Ferguson are a great opportunity to evolve. 

1-Figure out that we are humans are not separate and 2- then go on the figure out that we are connected to everything that is alive and 3- start treating the planet like we understand our connection.

 Ferguson is critically important – our tipping point.  It is vital because it is creating a necessity in shifting us closer to and understanding that is the ONLY solution to saving our world is to go deeply within our own selves and to stop looking for solutions on the outside. It is our THINKING that has gotten us here – it is only by understand what we are thinking and why we think it, that we can get out. This can only be achieved at an individual level. So, if you ask what it is YOU can do to help in Ferguson,  this is your answer:

KNOW YOURSELF DEEPLY  

This is what i would tell my daughter

– that she should never lose her passion

– always use your powers for good

 – thought is powerful – but it’s not who you are. Find out WHO you are. Don’t be addicted to your thoughts about anything

Maya Angelou – the great poet Laureate and philosopher who spoke on behalf of all people said clearly –

“Do the best you can until you know better – then when you know better DO BETTER”.

 Now that we all know better we can do better.