Big in size
but with a squeaky little voice,
Canada is like
an effeminate linebacker
facing the south-of-49ers
across the goal line of an undefended border.
We have steroids without strength
mass without muscle.
a huge collapsable shell of a country.
because the Americans cannot be bothered
to deal with the
that would inevitably follow
the easy pushover.
Could Celine Dion save us?
Or Bryan Adams or Margaret Atwood?
Or even Douglas Coupland, Tony Onley and the Bare Naked Ladies linking arms?
Not even the whole mess
of Canadian culture
— bilingual and multicultural —
could save us
if the Americans put their minds to it.
The manifest destiny
ensures that it will happen
one day, some day.
And then many of us will become
like Idahoans or Puerto Ricans.
Maybe we’ll qualify for grants
and affirmative action
as the third largest minority
blacks and hispanics.
Maybe we’d alter American politics
with our semi-socialists
and our semi-fascists
and our quaint idea that government can occasionally
be a good thing.
More likely, we’ll become
a minor market for Wal Mart
an inconvenience for weather forecasters
and a fiscal drain
on southwestern startups
and other entrepreneurs.
If there’s a futures market for snow, native land
claims and Gallic intransigence,
Maybe they could sell us
where benefits are better.
A great commercial from Portugal.
If nothing else, this last couple of weeks has shown that the Trump Presidency is a total shambles.
Trump himself has proven to be unable to tell good from evil (in the clearest of circumstances) and that failure has cost him the support of many senior GOP leaders, industry giants, and representatives of the arts and culture. He has threatened the world with nuclear war, sabre-rattling that has jolted even America’s closest allies. He has encouraged a police state with over-wrought immigration crackdowns and a desire to pardon Joe Arpaio. His legislative agenda has collapsed. And all the while, Mueller’s Russian probe gets closer and closer to its central target.
Now Trump has jettisoned Steve Bannon (after Spicer, Preibus, Flynn, etc), in a move designed solely to distract attention from all the other issues. Who is next, we are left to wonder?
It seems distinctly possible that Trump may be impeached if Mueller’s findings hit a bull’s eye, or he may choose to pardon everyone and resign before that happens. Many would cheer either of those possibilities. But is that really what we should be hoping for? If Trump goes, we get Mike Pence as the next President, and I contend that that would be far worse.
Politically, Trump is a clown. He is probably a racist but frankly I don’t think he has any deeply held beliefs other than those espoused by any Mafia chieftain — money, personal glory, and family. His administrative incompetence has already saved us from Trumpcare, for example. But Pence is very different.
Mike Pence is a far-right fundamentalist ideologue with absolute conviction in his heart that his beliefs are good and proper. By all accounts he is a decent legislative manager with executive experience at the State level. He is well liked by the GOP majority in Congress. He is no clown and he is very dangerous, especially to women who, he thinks, should be be relegated to the kitchen and the bedroom and kept strictly under the control of the men in their lives and communities. Roe v Wade would be a prime target for erasure, as his rule in Indiana proved.
If Pence becomes President this year or next, we may well look back on Trump’s partial term as the good old days of fun and laughter.
So what to do?
I think that the 2018 Congressional mid-terms are key here. It is vital that the Democrats (God help us!) get their act together enough to grab control of Congress. The more mistakes we allow Trump to make, the easier that should become. With control of Congress, the worse aspects of Trumpism can at least be ameliorated.
Then, we need to allow the widening Mueller and Congressional investigations to destroy Trump slowly throughout 2018 and 2019; slowly enough to keep Pence out of office. During the same time frame the Democrats must find a candidate strong enough to beat Pence in 2020.
This last is what I am most concerned about. The Democrats have proven themselves far more able and willing to eat their own children than to gather together behind a strong candidate. If they fail to coalesce, and soon, I fear we are to have four years of Trump followed by eight years of Pence. In that case, by 2028 there may no longer be elections as we know them, the judiciary will have been cleansed of all reason, and the Handmaid’s Tale may be a grim reality.
Thirty-one years ago today, I spent what I remember as a muggy afternoon wearing a collar and tie and a jacket. I sang “O Canada“, swore pledges to the Queen, and in return I was given the extraordinary privilege of Canadian citizenship.
It remains one of the most moving and important events of my life.
Thank you Canada!