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.
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.
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:
Do not read any further if you are a supporter of the “Unnameable one”.
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….
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.
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.
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!”
He has convinced Canadians that ALL media is out to get them too?
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!
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.
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.
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.
In the early 1800’s Edward Cole Painted five paintings, depicting what he feared would occur to the United States should they become a greedy, consumerist society.
America is mirroring the fall of Rome, and we need to talk.
I do not often talk in detail about my pre-music life. Until recently it was not really relevant. But before I “talk politics” I feel like I need to tell you why I should. I was fortunate to have had a life which made me travel and live with people from all over the world from a very young age. I have problems talking about this stuff – i don’t want you to think I am bragging. I am not and I don’t say any of this with any grandeur, because an education is only as good as what you do with it, and I haven’t done anything with it. And until recently, I took it all for granted.
I went to an international high school where not only did I receive the very best classroom instruction, but became friends with and lived within an abnormally multicultural environment for the 1980’s. Students came to this school from all over the world and because it was a boarding school, we studied, ate worked and did three hours of sports a day together. It was mildly militaristic in its teaching style, probably due to the environment created by our Headmaster, a man I later learned to greatly appreciate and admire. But in my four years there, I was perhaps one of his greatest challenges.
Many of my classmates went on the be real rocket scientists, business leaders and innovators in many areas around the world.
After high school I was 15, nearly 16 in university and by 19 received my degree in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. I was very involved with my political father who had a view to send me to the best schools, something he hadn’t received the benefit of and so gave me everything he would have wanted for himself. This world wasn’t such a stretch for me at the time as I was raised, parented and socialized in the conflicted world of french Canadian politics.
I always say “I could make a martini before I made my own toast for breakfast”.
And I also knew terrorism way before we invented ISIS.
In those days, the “terrorists” where I lived, were called the FLQ – The Federation for the Liberation of Quebec. Because of my father’s involvement, they threatened to kill me to keep him out of the turbulent political scene of french Canada in the late 1970’s. And so my new daily friend for many months became an RCMP officer with a gun, who drove me to school every day, and sat outside school in case anyone suspicious tried to come in. I was in grade four.
I naturally don’t relate terrorism to any particular culture, because of my own experiences, terrorists looked exactly like me, but wanted everyone to speak french. Terrorism always comes from the imposition of some form of fundamentalism. Always.
In my case it was language, in the case of the current political climate it is religion.
I have lived in Africa, under a dictatorship government. This had implications for a teenage girl with a big mouth like me, who didn’t like being told where I could walk, or be seen (I was white in a black world), what I could wear, how I should act. It was all very offensive to me, who was born in the year of the Horse under the element of fire. That was the year 30% of Chinese female babies were killed because no one in China wanted to have a female fire horse: apparently they aren’t very good with limitations and tend to have a “fiery” temperament. Imagine that.
In Guinea, I was told what I could say out loud and what I had to keep to myself. This made me crazy. Like when my mother would tell me not to bite my nails which would cause me to become obsessed with biting my nails.
I remember one time being in a government building, with my mother, and I made a derogatory comment about in English to her about a photograph of Sekou Toure – the self appointed Dictator of the country since 1957. She nearly jumped out of her skin, throwing me into a corner whispered to me urgently
“Shhh! We don’t say his name out loud, you can be put in jail!”.
I was completely stunned.
She went on to explain that because the African guards, who were everywhere all the time, especially around the whites always suspicious of our activities, didn’t fully understand what we say when we speak English or french, because our dialects were so different, and offending the Leader was a jail able offense, we didn’t say his name. She cited the case of one man who got drunk (the expats of African compounds do that allot) and went on down the street one night yelling about the “stupid Guinean government” and saying all sorts of things he surely would not have said sober, and was put in jail. They had not heard from him in two years, although there were periodic notes from the government stating that he was still alive.
That reminds me of the time the boarder security guard at the airport in Spain asked me if I had drugs in my suitcase at customs and I answered snidely:
“Oh yeah I have a bag full of weed, of course I do”, in my best resting-bitch-face-teenager-speak.
Then I proceeded to watched in horror as every article of my personal life was strewn about a questioning room while the guard shredded my suitcase looking for evidence of my stupidity.
Subsequently my parents did not speak to me for the next three days.
We traveled for my father’s work. He worked for Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Justin’s father. For many years he sacrificed his family and life for the politics of Canada. He was raised in a time when Nationalism and national pride was an important thing.
In my opinion, National pride is tribal behaviour and we are evolving past it in large part due to the opening of our communications with one another. In the same way that I benefited from being in an international school and traveling, everyone has now the same opportunity through the internet.
I am telling you all this because I have experienced life in different governmental styles and so come at what I am seeing from a different experience, sometimes a visceral one – shades of insanity from what I hear on TV.
Because of the opening of our communication and a more real knowing of each other through the internet we are loosing our concept of borders, cultural lines we are seeing our similarities and discovering things to appreciate about one another. The idea of wall building offends us. We rejoice at the removal of them, in fact. That is because we are joining in a united consciousness indicating the next stage of our evolution.
It is a very exciting time to be alive.
In studying political science, I focused on two key areas of personal interest and those were ancient philosophy and civil rights in America. Martin Luther King Junior was my inspiration for wanting to study both. I felt like he had the right idea about effecting change, and my studies focused mostly on the peacemakers, the natural leaders who were rarely elected, more universally selected.
In political philosophy we spend most of our time focusing on ancient history. Philosophers, political systems and their evolution, and how culture functions within these ideas. Of course as a 16 or 17 year old I continuously asked myself how this was in any way going to contribute to my REAL life. This wouldn’t get me a job. Indeed my concerns were mirrored by our culture that would assume if you didn’t go from Poli. Sci to law – you were just wasting your time.
So I tried working for lawyers, even considered law school – but I couldn’t stand the idea of gaining my living by arguing all the time. I was a Libra after all.
I became disillusioned with politics in north America, like many people have over the past few years. It seemed like nothing any individual could do would ever effect any changer, and anyways, things were such a mess, where would we even start. It became much easier to focus on my own little life, and my family – what most people do i suppose, and see the world as outside of their concern, like we aren’t a part of the whole thing living on our own little islands.
The fact is, America is mirroring what happened in Rome. Without getting into too much ancient history to bore you, Rome fell because of a few things, historians will tell you it was from economic loss and defeat in war. I will tell you that Rome fell because of a pathological focus on fulfilling human want and desire. Rome fell because people replaced coin with wheat, and we forgot that we rely on everything to survive.
we became arrogant. we invented religion to control people to do what we wanted so that the 1% – yes invented in Rome – could continue to accumulate.
Why? because they mistake material accumulation with happiness, with security, with a feeling of power and certainty – success and accomplishment.
Then an army came over the roman wall – defeated them,. and Constantine took over.
Constantine was a nut case.
First thing he did – build a wall.
Second thing – kick out all the non Christians.
Constantine went on the lead the “Great” Byzantine” Empire.
Basically – That’s Aleppo and Mosul and a whole bunch of places that matter right now.
Of course he named a City after himself (Can you imagine Trumpstantinople?)
Constantine’s “fatal flaw” was that he adhered to a fundamental viewpoint about something and imposed his will on the people.
He imposed through marketing, scare tactics, law, force, judgement.
Others that say Rome fell because of enormous number of slaves, and slaves cannot uphold an economy – they have nothing to trade or spend.
Just a side thought…we actually OWNED each other at one time – can you even imagine that?
No you can’t – because we have EVOLVED.
But at one time, owning a human being was a mark of “success” – upon you, or your family. The more slaves you owned, the more humans you actually owned as property, the more “successful” – untouchable, safe, secure – you were perceived by your community. More respect results in more safety right?
The United States is Mirroring Rome – in so many ways.
Last year i had the opportunity to see H.H The Dalai Lama in Perth Australia, give a talk on what it is we can be doing to improve the situation of the planet. It seems like such an impossibility, when we think about the magnitude of trouble we have created for ourselves. But by he time I left the auditorium, I felt like we could do anything, if I followed what he said.
Which was simply to focus on finding personal happiness.
That doesn’t mean living life selfishly, it means being very responsible for the care and well being of your self – so you can be of the greatest potential service in your life.
Being of service is the function of every human life – no matter who you are, or where you were born. No matter what culture or colour, every person was put here to serve the rest of life. The ultimate tool we are given for this service, is our creativity, our imagination and our ability to understand that we are alive (sentience). Our creativity is this, in whichever form it manifests itself. A life that is directed towards discovering and using that highest level of creativity for the highest and most good – is a happy life.
How can war happen if everyone has such a focus?
In Rome, they became hyper focused on material things – sex, drugs, alcohol – everything and anything to get away from the fact that they were heaping a massive amount of abuse onto other living beings, slaves animals and the land – for what they believed to be the satisfaction of their baser nature desires.
Seem familiar? Sounds like Vegas to me.
After Rome fell, they tried to propagate Christianity, We had the Inquisition and all sorts of insanity – all based on the idea of one man that a fundamental concept that was created by man had to be protected, through destructive use of force.
Today we have another man, proposing to jail those who wish to speak freely, to condemn women who take control of decisions regarding their own bodies and well bring, he would launch nuclear weapons because his feelings have been injured, he would impose what he believes, and his ears would be closed to anything outside what he believes.
We have paid for the choices that Constantine made up to today. We will continue to pay for them, if we give any more focus to those who speak in old ways – tribal conquest, war, conflict – these are not what will accomplish what we need anymore.
Take away the ammunition. IN all ways, and you end the war.
There are lessons to be learned from Rome, because what followed was even more horrific, and continues to this day.
Want to know the rest of history – really without all the fluff:
Romans formed Europe, Europe invented wine and boats, people probably got tanked, got lost in the ocean and landed in random places they never intended. They saw people different from them, killed them, sobered up and stole the land. They acquired new kind of slaves and have been trying to continue the enslavement ever since.
Every colonized nation has this story.
Will we continue to do what we have done in the past KNOWING it doesn’t work to improve life on the planet?
Today, it is the original people of the lost lands that are going to have to save us, which is ironic after all the crap we have heaped on them as colonialists.
OK, political rant over. But let’s at least go away with the idea that if America is not going to fall like Rome,. then each person has to do their own shift. Its the only thing that can effect mass change.
There is the moral of all human tales;
‘Tis but the same rehearsal of the past. First freedom and then Glory – when that fails, Wealth, vice, corruption – barbarism at last. And History, with all her volumes vast, Hath but one page…
The other day I had to explain Quebec politics to an American friend of mine who happens to be a very well read, politically savvy individual. The conversation took place on Face Book so it involved a lot of punctuation and very deliberate usage of words. It was not easy to do.
It started with a Table Topics question I like to post on my page every morning:
“Who do you believe is the most dangerous person alive today?”.
I was surprised when my American friend responded “Stephen Harper” – our ineffective and blundering Canadian Prime Minister.
“Harper?” I asked him. “I was sure you would say Dick Chaney”…
“Harper’s gas line project is ridiculous. He should be thrown out of office”.
“Yeah well he is doing nothing for Quebec that’s for sure” I said.
“What’s wrong with Quebec?”
This is where it became challenging…
“They announced they want an election to separate from Canada”
“Why”? Ah – the question to open a can of worms…
“Let me try and explain…”
“They are trying to pass a Bill which would put a Charter into our Provincial constitution that says that people working in the public sector are not allowed to wear any religious symbols, like Hijabs or Yarmulkes.”
“What do you mean “not allowed”?”
“It’s the same as our language laws. We aren’t allowed to speak any language but French at the work place.”
“hunh?what do you mean NOT ALLOWED?”
How to explain Quebec Politics to an American…
Many years ago there was an 11 minute fight in a place called The Plains of Abraham in Quebec where the British whooped the French and they have stayed mad about it ever since. The story could actually end here…
In the mid 1700’s France imported into Quebec a bunch of prostitutes chosen by the King called “les Filles du Roie”. I am proud to say these are my ancestors. They were sent here to attract moer male settlers, and populate the country with as many good looking French people as possible. The French are known to have had an average of 14 children per family by the mid 1800’s. The culture is based in the catholic religion who believes God made everything else except condoms.
By the 1800’s all sorts of people were immigrating to Quebec because of its easy access port, busy economy and promise of some form of stability which was not being experienced in many parts of Europe. Settlers from all over found their place and established their cultures inside “New France” including Irish, Italian, Spanish, German, British and Jewish people creating individual pockets of cultural comfort in different emerging cities.
An important difference here exists between Canada and the USA which is that when the settlers arrived from Europe they maintained their original cultural identity. Canada became a “mosaic” of cultures, as opposed to the American “mixing pot” where immigrants were encouraged to assimilate into the American way of life.
By the time the 1960’s arrived, Quebec had become well established as one of the most international and welcoming places in the world. English and French were widely spoken making it accessible to anyone who spoke two of the world’s major languages. Expo ’67 heralded the culmination of hundreds of years of evolution in the Quebec political tapestry. The nations of the work gathered for a Fair that would promote peace and harmony between all nations. But the peace wouldn’t last. Somewhere in the background, the French of Quebec were still simmering, down from the generations about the events on the Plains of Abraham and the domination of the English in the emerging and booming trade economy. Prime Minister of France Charles de Gaulle came to Expo under the guise of attending the fair and declared “Vivre le Quebec Libre”, putting words to a sentiment that had been bubbling under the surface for unilingual francophone Quebecers.
The “Quiet revolution” began – but not so quietly.
People were kidnapped and killed. Bombs were detonated. It was a brief but nasty par of Quebec history and the beginning of real extremism which we are seeing a resurgence of today. My family was very involved in the political movement of what we here call “the NO side”. This is the anti-separation movement. The “other side” is the separation movement – those who want Quebec to be its own country. Everyone here has an opinion on this issue. Slowly and over time, French pro-separatist politician have gained power in the National Assembly – the political house of power in Canadian provinces, and have put into place on law after another which has irrationally eroded the personal freedoms of the Canadians living here.
Our American friends have to remember when talking about Canadian politics that we are not a democracy. We don’t have the same basis premise in our political structures. We are instead what you call a “constitutional monarchy” – which means we were poartially governed by the queen of England for a long time. Until the mid 1980’s any laws or changes ot our constitution had to be “approved” by the queen. Our government owns some of the major businesses as well, which makes us socialist.
I could go into allot of details about the people and the dramas which revolve around our politics here but my intention is not to give you a history lesson. More like a current events update…so I will give you some specific details so you can relate to the level of craziness we have reached
You are not allowed to speak English at your work place. If the “Office of the French Language” catches you, your business can be fined. Heftily.
Your child is not allowed to go to school in English ESPECIALLY icf you come from a country where all you ever spoke is English. Its all about blending.
You are not going to be allowed to wear a cross, a Hijab or a yarmulke at work if you work in public
You will not be given medical service if you don’t speak French an dthe attendant doesn’t speak english.
You will not be given service by government agents (including tax offices and police) in English
Retail businesses are told to address clients only in French. They have signs up no their store fronts saying “In Quebec we do business in French” (written in French obviously)
No advertising in English. Ever.
All products imported into Quebec have to follow regulations about how BIG and how small French and English have to be. English can only be 20% of the size of French writing.
The insanity goes on and on.
Here’s my point…
In a world where we are in DIRE and urgent need to promote understanding and cohesion between individuals and nations – Quebec is the fastest backwards moving place on the planet as far as I can see. We have all the education, technology, and social structures in place to be a wildly successful place – an example to the world even on living in integrated cultures. Instead, we spend all of our time promoting our own opinions. Conclusively, places in the world who identify with their nationalistic cultures, linguistic, religious or political structures have the hardest time.
The other day I asked the question on Face book “ How important is your national identity to you?”
I was somewhat surprised at how many people said they were “Proud Canadians” – that their country is very important to them. But when I asked myself the question, I was more surprised to understand how UNIMPORTANT my nationality has become to me. I could care less about being Canadian, or Quebecker, English or French.
I have come to believe…
Who we are is not our country. Who we are is not our language or skin colour or religion. We are part of a living system – all of us together. Our belief that we are separate or different from each other has resulted in us causing major destruction to the place that we live. It is critical that we understand that we are not only part of one geographic location – we belong to the world – and the world has no real borders.
As long as we hold on to language, skin colour, religion, culture or national identity our “personal” identity, in Quebec or any other place – we are doomed to continue making the same mistakes we have made throughout human history. Quebec is a prime example of the opposite of the direction we need to be taking to unify the cultures of the world.
By personally dropping your identity with religion, language, nation, skin colour, ancestry – each individual can contribute to shifting the perception of each other from opposed to united.