Dr. Dawg

My Canada: mourning and celebration

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When I celebrate Canada, I am celebrating my own memories as a Canadian, and a vision of what we might become. When I mourn Canada, I mourn the destruction of precious institutions and the values and mores we used to cherish. Parliamentary democracy, its centuries of conventions torn aside like cobwebs to make way for brute political expediency. The CBC, now debased and gutted, which helped to enhance our imagined community for decades. Environmental protections. The social safety net. Decency, fairness and compassion. Civil political discourse.

So much of the Canada I grew up in used to make me impatient and dismissive. As an angry young radical, I wanted to sweep it away. As an angry old radical, I want to preserve what I once mocked. Smash the state? Hell, no. Preserve the state!

To find my old paths in this monstrous political landscape, freshly clear-cut and strip-mined, is a challenge that has stopped me in my tracks. Perhaps that’s a good thing. We need something new and unheard-of, not worn-out formulas. Yet the sheer wanton vandalism of the Conservatives has me anxiously conjuring up the spirits of the past. I grow unable even to imagine a way forward, other than to reclaim what has been lost and destroyed.

I remain astonished, spirit-chilled, to see that roughly a third of my adult Canadian peers still cheers on the bulldozers. How vulnerable we are to the forces of counter-revolution, to their popular appeals to the reptile brain, their vile political ideology that draws its deadly energy entirely from hate and fear and greed. How did we come to freely impose such government upon ourselves, whose watchword is punishment, whose creed is profit, whose hallmark is self-gratulatory preening? How can anyone still allow themselves to be carried away on the ceaseless torrent of lies and invective vomited forth daily by hired flacks and media flunkies?

Whither goes thou, Canada, in thy shiny limousine in the night?

Yet I shall celebrate today, with friends, neighbours and family, something we still call Canada. The gathering will be hardly enough to fill a backyard, but we’ll be at ease in each other’s company, breaking bread together, saluting our shared and our private visions of a better country and a better world. In that quiet way we once knew as “Canadian,” this alone will be a sufficiently powerful act of defiance to give me hope for the future.

Enjoy the day, wherever you are. Eat, drink and be merry—tomorrow we fight.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on July 1, 2012 10:03 AM.

Murder for profit was the previous entry in this blog.

Canada Day hangover is the next entry in this blog.

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