I mentioned before that I believe in judging people not by my philosophy of life, but by their own. I feel the exact same way about countries. What’s wrong with us as nations is about our betrayal of our best selves. When the US is un-American, when Britain is unlike it’s best traditions – and yes, my Canada too can be just as bad a hypocrite – and is just as wrong, whenever it is. There’s no other way to prove I mean my political points in a non-tribal way, but to take a few serious (and also sadly well-deserved) shots at my own country. But just for the record, I personally identify as human, and resent any attempts to box me – or anyone else – into any tighter a definition than that with categories. As Chomsky pointed-out in his first life (as a linguist) – we are all capable at birth, of absolutely all of humanity’s languages, and the inheritance linked to them.
First off, Canada likes to see itself as a cuter smarter smaller version of the American thing – an Allosaurus to their Tyrannosaurus, if you will. Utter and complete nonsense. The far-better analogy is to say that we’re the hyena, to the American lion. The lion kills, does so honestly, eats it’s pick of the carcass. The hyena comes by later, makes fun of the lion, and then when the harassment gets too much for the hunter, gets to feast on the carcass they did nothing to bring down. There is almost no point upon which Canadians criticize the abuse of American power, where we consistently reject the commercial benefits of this abuse. I cannot think of a purer or more shameful hypocrisy.
We also boast about our wondrous immigration policy and the peaceable integration of people from around the world, without any general intention or attempt to reduce or discourage their own rich cultural heritage. But the entire history of our country has been based upon an outright evil campaign of state power weilded directly against the families of the first-nations who our populations and enterprises displaced. Ancient history? Not at all – nor was the dismantling of residential school systems, just a couple of decades ago, the end of the determined state assault upon our original inhabitants. Native children are STILL being taken away from their parents in absolutely staggering numbers – now processed into the (incredibly profitable) foster system – and raised once again without close individual care, and the precious connection to their culture which is a birthright we know we all deserve. Let’s please remember it was ‘well-meaning’ white people who beat and raped the residents of church-run residential schools not so long ago. This has to stop.
I saw a comment on a friend’s page the other day, and managed to restrain myself in the name of neighbourliness. The discussion was about how completely unacceptable it was that many native communities don’t even have reliable water and sewage systems yet. The gist of the comment was, “I’m a white woman who lived near a reservation, so I have right to my opinion – and I’ve seen a lot of corruption.” I put it to you – would anyone entertain an idea like, “I know some Scotsmen who are really crooked – so there’ll be no water and sewage for the lot of them.” NAE!
Finally – Canada has a particular specialist national-evil that we don’t like to talk about (because it benefits our economy in general – and like others elsewhere, it’s comforting for us to stay ignorant about where such perqs actually come from). We’re some of the biggest mining assholes in the world. We complain about foreign corporations buying our aquifers (indeed, objectively insane) but Canadian gold mines threaten the natural drinking water sources of poor people all over the globe with cyanide poisoning (and of course corrupt such governments as are susceptible, since there is no history of any dissuasive domestic penalties being exacted back here, for such malfeasance).
Yes we stayed home for the Vietnam war – just like we did for Iraq – but we have never had any problem at all making money from all the bullets used. Oh heck – and I didn’t even get started yet, on the Satan owned and operated tar-sands!
So there you go, my international tribe of friends and fellow freaks – please don’t ever be offended, folks. ZERO moral high-ground, here – competition or one-upmanship is never my purpose or intention when I tilt.
I assert only that to do the useful (and emergency-necessary) work of turning humanity back from the brink, we ALL ought to stop lying for awhile. But I’m really not trying to pull one of those old-time journalism tricks like – let’s you and he fight, and I’ll write about it. (tempting though it can sometimes be)
Here is how the turtle island protestors outside the ministry put one small part of our ongoing national shame, when I was visiting there, just the other day.
And this rather beautiful page was posted next to a heartbreaking and long list of names of first nations children who had committed suicide right here in Ontario, recently. Both of these make me weep – my apologies, but these statements and voices must be conveyed directly, to be appreciated.