Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Great Divide

On Tuesday, George W. Bush was re-elected as President of the United States.

A vast number of Canadians do not like Bush. And yet the American people re-elected him with a solid majority of votes. Apparently, Americans don’t think the same way that Canadians do. And, I am compelled to ask why. Look at what we have in common: We are two nations formed by usurping the land of natives, founded on Christian principles by white men and created by people who were displaced from their homeland and sought to build a better life. And yet, there is a significant political, social and ideological divide between us. The differences are many.

The U.S. is a strong military power respected (if not feared) the world over. Canada has no military to speak of and other nations really don’t give us much thought in that respect. The US became an independent nation in 1776 by fighting for their independence. Canada became a nation in 1867 through diplomatic and peaceful means. The U.S. had slavery. Canada did not. (Slavery was abolished on our soil by the British parliament 33 years before Canada became a sovereign nation.). The U.S. has inner cities rampant with drugs, crime and depravity; Canada does not. The U.S. has racial riots. Canada doesn’t. U.S. citizens get to vote for their President directly. Canadians don't. They vote for their local candidate and the leader of the political party that elects the most candidates automatically becomes the Prime Minister. The U.S. executes some of its murderers. Canada does not. U.S. citizens vote democratically on social issues like gay marriage and marijuana legalization. Canadians obediently follow the dictates of their unelected, ideologically driven, supreme court judges who are appointed for life by the Prime Minister.

Many people think that the major difference between us is our health care systems. The U.S. has a capitalistic system. The poor can be deprived of health care if they cannot afford it. However, those who can afford it, get it post-haste. And there is never a shortage of care. Canada, on the other hand has a socialistic system. In Canada it is illegal to pay for health care – everyone gets access to state funded doctors and hospitals. However, there is always a shortage of care and ordinary Canadians can die waiting in line for treatment while rich, famous, influential and connected Canadians get immediate treatment anytime they want. (Hmmm, wait a minute -maybe our health care systems aren't completely different. After all, both let the rich get preferential treatment:-)

Anyway, the major differences between the U.S. and Canada, I think, have to do with religion and military might. In the U.S. George Bush, an admitted Christian who based many of his policies on his Christian beliefs, was elected president. In Canada, Stockwell Day, the leader of the opposition, was vilified, ridiculed and discredited among Canadian voters because of his Christian beliefs. This, I think, strikes to the heart of why we are so different.

Americans still adhere to their belief in the Christian God. Their President says “God Bless America” and the American people do not see this as a bad thing. America is, if not a Christian nation, a nation that respects its history as a Christian culture. In Canada, however, it’s an entirely different story. Canada has already made the leap from Christianity to secularism – from belief in an established set of understood values, to belief that everyone has the right to set their own values and no one has the right to judge anyone else for any reason whatsoever. And in Canada, unlike the U. S., there is little if no respect for the founding Christian culture.

I think that, because they actually look to their historic Christian values as absolute, many Americans are more able and willing to judge others and to take action on those judgements. Canadians, having no definable values, are not willing to judge anyone or anything and therefore, will likely never take action on anything if challenged. (Check out the story of Bill Sampson for a glimpse of how impotent and dismissive the Canadian government is when dealing with atrocities committed against Canadians in other countries.

Christian Americans have built a powerful military and are willing to use it when they feel threatened. Secular Canadians, however, have a neglected and decimated military and therefore will never be able to defend itself if threatened.

And this cuts to the crux of the matter.

If attacked by terrorists, Canadians could never conceive of waging war on a country that harboured them. Not only do we lack the military ability; we also lack the will. The U.S., on the other hand, is both willing and able to wage war on anyone who attacks it. George Bush was re-elected because of his ability and willingness to wage war and kill America’s enemies. To elect a leader for this reason would be unspeakable if not unimaginable here in Canada.

Two nations, created by Christian people who had much in common. Who woulda thought that we’d end up so different.


Blogger Mikey Mayhem said...

I was also very suprised myself as an American that George Bush not only won the electoral vote but the popular vote as well, It is kind of scary.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Scand79 said...

This has possibly been pointed out to you, but I would like to reiterate that 49% of Americans did *not* vote for Dubya.

That being out of my system, now, I would like to say that your description of the differences between Canadians and Americans is interesting. As an atheist, anti-war, pro-socialist American, I would probably feel a lot more at home in Canada. Indeed, many like-minded Americans have made their way to your borders, which is bad for the U.S. (these people need to stay *here* and help stand up against Christianationalism) and probably both good and bad for Canada.

Do Canadians worry about their well-being, being situated so close to such an aggressive nation? I would. Socialism and secularism aren't very popular here, and Georgey might just as well interpret his reelection as a calling to spread democracy and Christianity to the four corners of the world--oh, wait, he's already done that. May the Christian god help us all if Canada discovers a really huge oil field, because I doubt it would take much for the American people to be convinced that we need to extend the gift of our value system to the Canadians by waging a war against our peaceful neighbors.

It *is* amazing the difference between the ideologies of our two countries. With both of our roots in Christianity, Canada has gone more the way of the Quakers, and the U.S. has gone more in the direction of the fundamentalist Protestants. I wish with all my heart that my country could swing away from the fundamentalist right, but with each passing day that seems less and less likely. This last election was such an *enormous* disappointment. I watch my fellow Americans like I watch my own family: I love them, but I can't at all understand how we can be related.

11:47 PM  

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