A few days ago I sat in my ragged, half broken recliner and watched history unfold. A day after the holiday reserved for arguably one of the greatest humanitarians yet to walk upon this Earth, Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama ascended the podium and took his rightful place at the head of the world’s preeminent Superpower. A moderate, a reformer, a popular icon and a unifying force in a nation whose people have been viciously tearing at each other’s throats for the last decade; the late Clinton era was arguably the beginning of this tumultuous time. A man who can garner respect for the now much maligned United States in the wider world and hopefully use his country’s influence to help forge a brighter future. This is a win-win situation isn’t it? The Americans get a well respected and popular new president who appears to actually be an earnest person while the rest of the world gets to deal with a far less belligerent superpower which will hopefully abandon its fumbling attempts at unilateral aggression. Who could possibly lose out? I decided to wait a few days out of respect, before I answered that question.
The loser is….
Believe it or not…
I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but while in America, hope springs anew, north of the 49th parallel I believe that we are in for a silent spring. Don’t get me wrong! I’m excited about Obama’s presidency. I’m damn excited! The guy just closed Gitmo and the CIA black sights on his second day in fucking office. But thanks to the Canadian nationalism instilled in my by decades of CBC and government approved education, I must always consider the happenings in DC and judge them accordingly through that lens. The appraisal is a bleak one my friends. While the Americans are celebrating the final triumph and possible redemption of their somewhat convoluted democracy, Canadians are facing an altogether different immediate future. A government stalled by a cowardly prime-minister and his ineffective minority government. Not to mention the sheer embarrassment we have been forced to endure after the representative of the Queen of England, the Governor General, whom most people in this country previously viewed as mostly a ceremonial figurehead, actually had the stones to shut down the government in a move that while legal is fucking undemocratic as Hell. Oh and by the way, she used to be a separatist to boot. While this would be merely infuriating during most times, the fact that she did this during the onset of an economic crisis, a crisis which the government had previously largely ignored until it had to be bullied into acting by a coalition of the all the other major political parties, was goddamed maddening. When the government’s scare tactics and bluster didn’t work they moved to shut the down government….wonderful. Oh and that opposition, which was finally functioning coherently for the first time in over two years may have now once again turned in on itself and resumed being fucking useless. So while the Americans are slowly regaining their reputation, beside them (both figuratively and literally) we look like a bunch of squabbling, divided and retarded semi-colonials. Fan-fucking-tastic. And even if the Conservatives do manage to stave off a confidence vote, we may be better off with an election. Does anybody think the charisma-less, unpopular, social-conservative Reform Party holdover Harper will gel with Obama. Fuck no! He was Bush’s boy, tied to the neo-conservative, neo-liberal faction of Western politics. A faction whose attempts to reform the socio-economic system have left us with a faltering global economy and deep social divisions. Oh and a half broken Iraq, a quagmire which thankfully our former half-mad quasi dictator Jean Chretienkept us the hell out of in one of his few moments of lucidity. God bless his crazy ass! So with Canada’s democracy faltering, our leader floundering, society under assault by unnecessarily draconian bills like C-61 and our economy teetering on the brink of a major fucking meltdown, our country is on the business end of a whirlwind which first started brewing down south. And with our neighbours on the rise while we are still hurting, more and more people are looking south for hope and becoming increasingly cynical about our own leaders. With good reason my friends. You see during the last few years comparing ourselves favourably to the Yanks has been easy. With Captain Accomplished and his Reganite background dancers in the Oval office, we quickly became the paragon of civility, liberty and decency in North America. It made us value our society’s uniqueness and rightfully so. But taking shots became so fucking easy that we became smug, we became arrogant and we lost sight of the quickly growing flaws of our society. The re-opening of East/West divisions and a stagnant political culture for example. But now that America has slowly begun to get its shit together we will soon lose this nationalistic crutch. And we’re going to have to get our house in order, largely on our own and as a nation. We don’t have a herculean national champion to invest our hopes and dreams in for two reasons. Firstly this nation is a society dominated by the principle of consensus, it takes a lot more to be a hero in this country. Secondly, we don’t have one handy. So it’s us just ladies and gentlemen. A new era has dawned, now we just have to see if Canada has what it takes to be a part of it sooner rather than later. I hope we do. If not I’m going to do what my Commonwealth forebearers used to do. Fuck off to Australia.
If you can’t tell which parts of this are sarcastic…..I really can’t fucking help you.