I worry sometimes about the amount of “American content” in this blog. Is it too much? Is it my only focus in life? When I ask those questions of myself the answer is always: “No, but…” No it is not too much given that this is an American election year at a time when we hardly recognize our neighbouring country any more. But is it futile to even write about the situation? And then, No, it is definitely not the only focus in my life but so much of my life, our life as Canadians, is controlled and influenced by what happens in the USA that I do need to be focused on what is happening there. Legalities no longer count—witness the free trade agreement with the ink hardly dry on it and the imposition of tariffs on Canadian steel. Over 2 billion dollars a day crosses our border, both ways, in trade. Yes, we need to keep our neighbours in focus.
There was a very interesting article in yesterday’s Star in which the writer suggested that we are concerned not just for trade, not just for the economy and not just for ourselves. His quite lucid argument is that this time is different. Every nation likes to think that it is “better than” its neighbors. We do and we laugh at our neighbours lack of an inclusive health care plan for starters. But this time there is a genuine worry for our neighbours themselves. This election is rapidly descending to depths that were simply unimaginable to most of us, including our neighbours, just four years ago. Yet the perversion of democracy, the judiciary, essentially every government department and institution, and the total rejection of science, all for political gain, is not only indecent it is morally indefensible and quite likely illegal. Yet those who wield the power write the rules.
So I/we follow the US election out of concern for our country and ourselves but increasingly out of a bewildering sense that something is going terribly wrong and that our neighbours are in serious trouble. We cannot work out this mess for them and that is what really worries us as most of us have friends and even family members in the USA. We know them to be good people, in many ways like us, and we know they deserve to live without the tension and division that is the new substitute for thought and policy. It is like watching a rebellious child thrashing about but in this instance it is a whole country and their future is under threat and being re-shaped without their permission in a way that will cause them to suffer for many years to come. So of course we mourn for them, we mourn with them, and pray that somehow the foundational dream of their country will survive and that in time a new day will allow them to live that dream once again without fear or favor to none. So let us pray, for our friends, families, and neighbours….