Thursday, June 27, 2019

American politics

It may seem odd that a life-long resident of Canada, born in MontrĂ©al and having lived and worked for the past forty-three years in small-town rural Ontario should find American politics captivating. But I do. The enthralment interestingly reflects a similar absorption of my predecessor in the practice of law, R. A. Jamieson, QC. Over the past ten years or so - since we increasingly began spending part or all of our winter in the United States of America - my curiosity and understanding of American politics has grown. I hasten to add that the winter sojourns are not in themselves cause for the burgeoning interest and fascination.  I have for example discovered during the same period that I know more about American politics than many Americans.  This is perhaps a small compliment because it really discloses little more than that I spend enormous time watching US cable television (including Fox) dedicated solely to marketing the topic; and, I consider it perfectly natural to troll CNN and BBC news daily on the internet to unfold the latest strange developments in American politics.  I am by contrast shamefully ignorant of Canadian politics, both federal and provincial, except to the extent that they derive fertility from American politics. I likewise suffer an embarrassing disregard for foreign affairs generally. My present political amusement - like everything else I have done all my life - is devoted to a niche objective.

The aim hasn't any agenda other than to digest American politics to the point where there is a derivative explanation of it. I consider the United States of America the current-day Roman Empire; and, regrettably I feel that its winning ways are similarly doomed. It is regrettable for two reasons:  one, we in North American have a great deal to gain from the continued prosperity of America; two - and this is the more pertinent concern - I think the Americans may be on the wrong track, unwittingly of course. These are obviously bold statements from a nobody (not to mention a rude stroke by a "foreigner"); but the course of events - and what I have learned from those whom I know in the United States of America - leads me to conclude there is a very real threat that Americans may miss the boat. It is all a product of that metaphorical Roman character, the background of superiority and success.  Nothing contaminates a cause more poignantly than pride - as ready as we are to encourage everyone to feel good about themselves. Arrogance is one of the ingredients which thrives with success; and it too leads to erroneous inclinations. It may be considered archaic to attribute to Americans a disposition similar to that of the Romans but in terms of history not much of humanity has fundamentally changed over all those years.

After watching the first of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate debates last evening I have drawn some further conclusions. It might seem over-adventurous of me to label my idle thoughts as conclusions but their effect upon me is that.  First, why have the Democrats persisted to market the immigration issue solely as a moral controversy?  This is a painfully "liberal" tactic which will have no traction whatsoever with many of Trump's so-called "deplorables" who are understandably fearful of losing their own jobs. The other unmentionable truth is that many Americans of any stripe or background are less than sympathetic to the unnamed interlopers from poor and war-torn countries around the world - especially if they have the indecency to look or dress differently. It is another of humanity's inescapable predilections to reject people who are not the same as us, as though the partiality were founded on thought. Until immigration is fashioned as an improving economic opportunity - something even Genghis Khan was known to do - its rejection will continue to be both inhuman and unreasonable. My guess is that the majority of immigrants - themselves fearful of far greater ends - would be willing to undertake occupation of almost any description, pay taxes and settle in. Everything I have seen about immigrants is entirely contrary to Trump's image of them as free-loaders and miscreants. There is also the very real possibility that the American population will decline over the next decades as the persuasion of raising a family diminishes. A nation needs people to work, simple as that.

I have trouble accepting the American tolerance of Trump. While the Republicans have already proven themselves totally sycophantic (I shall never recover from that disgusting scene of Trump's lackeys mouthing his praise one by one in the Oval office),  I have difficulty excusing the Democratic avoidance of the issue.  Last night Trump was mentioned very infrequently. He is the problem!  No amount of side-stepping him will do anything to advance the cause of either Americans or the Democratic party. I am hopeful that in this evening's debate Mayor Pete (Buttigieg) will - out of a sense of honesty or "what have I got to lose" - face the dilemma directly in language that Americans can appreciate. For all the wonderful things that can be said about many of the political hacks who are in this race, Buttigieg is the only one who is my opinion meets the current standards of age, intelligence, military service and singularity. If - as I suspect is the case - the Americans are fed up with "business as usual" and expect to see anything happen to change it all, Buttigieg is their best answer.  The lobbyists and monied people will follow whoever wins, they don't really care.  But the Americans have a vital need to get someone with brains and respectability to lead them.

We spent the day wandering along the St. Lawrence River, pausing to sip coffee at the Ivy Lea Club.  The air was balmy and warm.  But my focus this evening is upon the upcoming debate. This evening's event has the potential to turn the tide.

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