there’s nothing a Canadian hates more than success
Canadians have this too-diffident attitude. It’s the attitude of an awkward, polite, but secretly superior adolescent who goes “awww, shucks” when company comes for dinner, then next day draws smutty pictures of the dinner guests on a public toilet’s wall.
If we had more sense of our true place in the world, what we do best, uniquely, we’d be more honest and more humble.That’s how I define humility: knowing your place in the world, what you do well and what needs improving; but never falsely modest or showing unearned self-esteem.
We are, said The Atlantic, the world’s most successful and last remaining progressive society and democracy, openly and unashamedly committed to progressive values.
We are, said Churchill, the linchpin of the English-speaking world.
We are the world’s committed peacekeepers and a sanctuary for the dispossessed.
These are huge accomplishments.We should be proud of them and do more of them and build on them.
So why, then, are we always ready to throw it all out when some tin-pot conservative white male with an agenda offers us a twenty-dollar rebate on our taxes?
You can never stop fighting for what is right, never.
Democracy is not the norm. Freedom is not guaranteed.
Empathy and compassion and reason and equanimity and compromise are delicate, fleeting conditions. They sound simple enough, but they presuppose an active mindset. Our commitment to justice needs to be continually renewed as our understanding evolves. We need the ability to question ourselves and to admit error, to include those we’ve instinctively excluded, to turn our understanding on its head.
You have to question your prejudices, ignore the memes and the simplistic explanations that blame people rather than systems when the people are poor; and call the systems eternal laws when the people are rich.
This is hard work.
And there is no time off, because the freedoms and values we cherish are a tiny moment in macro history, a little experiment just barely showing its first results and waiting for the next iterations that would grow freedom and dignity further and extend their reach.
And for that reason, it’s an experiment that the powerful want to destroy, destroy even the knowledge that the experiment took place, deny its merit, belittle it, call it childish names.
We’ll see later today how committed we are to being a first-rate Canada, or if we settle once again for being a third-rate U.S.A. I’m off to the polls.