The World According to John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck made a pretty nifty observation: he said socialism never took root in America because the poor never saw themselves as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. I suppose this is why so many of them oppose progressive tax reforms that would be in their interest to support.

American culture is so hostile to the idea of limits, i.e. Marx was surely right when he called capitalism a “machine for demolishing limits”. It does a pretty bang-up job of demolishing planets, as well.

And now for the obligatory cat picture.

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The Problem With Refugees

We are a nation of immigrants; it’s a fact: go back far enough every single one of us—European, African, Asian, even First Nations and Inuit—can trace their origins to somewhere other than Canada. Humanity explores, it puts down roots and calls wherever it happens to end up home. People attach a lot of importance to their home; this is where they raise their families, form their worldview, worship, work, play and build a life for themselves. Thus, it isn’t terribly surprising when we encounter strangers living among us one of our first instincts is to become defensive as opposed to open.

Canadians might be awfully polite but they certainly aren’t immune to xenophobia or fear. There were three major waves of Irish immigration to British North America: the first came around the time of the American Revolution in the 1780s; the second took place during the 1840s when a potato famine drove approximately 1.5 million Irish Catholics to Canada. My ancestors on my father’s side arrived in the United States during the third wave in the 1890s; they established a farm somewhere in the American Midwest eventually moving north to Canada to take advantage of free land on offer in the Canadian West. In all three cases, the Irish were not generally well-received: in the context of both Canada and the United States, English Protestants felt threatened by the sudden influx of non-English Catholics to their countries.

The Irish were thankful for the opportunities afforded to them by their adoptive countries; nevertheless, inevitably their presence elicited negative reactions among Americans and Canadians alike. Newcomers always force us into uncomfortable spaces by challenging us to re-evaluate ourselves and our priorities; they compel us to ask questions around what it means to be a people and a nation. In the present day, some of us are responding as well as can be expected to Syrian refugees (and, more recently, to others groups escaping to Canada because of an uncertain future in the United States). Most of our problems when it comes to dealing constructively with one another is the result of a certain inability to empathize with one another. The people best responding to the recent influx of refugees are those capable of seeing something of themselves in these new immigrants—people displaced by famine, war, and repression in their home countries; yet, there are others of us who aren’t responding so well: ironically, some Canadians on social media are using the self-same arguments against Syrians that previous generations used against their own Irish, Norwegian, Swedish, German and Ukrainian ancestors, e.g. these people aren’t like us; they didn’t work for what we have; we owe them nothing; they’re wrecking the country; everything was so much better before they came; they’re stealing our jobs; they’re lazy, smell, speak funny, and don’t look like us real Canadians.

The idea of a real Canadian versus a fake one is a strange concept to me; it’s not like we can freeze time and say there, back in the 1820s (November to be exact) during the colonial period, that is what Canadians should strive to be, we should all be white, English Protestant United Empire Loyalists; or wait it’s 1867 and Canadians can be French Catholic now, just not too French, but it’s tolerated; or it’s 1945 and the end of World War II, England is less important to us and out of compassion we’re welcoming Hungarians and other dispossessed persons to Canada because they need our help, we didn’t like them so much in 1905 but times have changed; or it’s 1965 and we have a new flag and First Nations peoples are no longer willing to be second-class citizens and the majority of Canada’s immigrants are from Africa and Asia and, without us even realizing it, we’ve moved from biculturalism to multiculturalism. We didn’t even notice the change (and certainly didn’t plan it). But we are, and will continue to be, a multicultural society whether critics like it or not.

Friedrich Nietzsche observed humanity is in essentially a continuous state of revolution (or paradigm change); we don’t recognize these changes because what once appeared as revolutionary eventually becomes the basis of a new normal. Thus, a Canadian born in 1840 naturally answers the question “What is a Canadian?” differently than say one born in 1867, 1919, 1945, 1965, 1995, or 2017. If there’s a standard definition of what constitutes a true Canadian, it’s a floating one and it definitely isn’t as simple as saying it is someone who is white, English-speaking, and Christian. With that said, the recent wave of Syrian immigration to Canada is taking place during a time of significant stress: the recovery of the global economy from the shock it received during the Great Recession (2009) is still in doubt and we continue living with its legacy, e.g. wealth continues to become increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, Canadians and Americans are becoming more and more desperate because of a sense of financial insecurity, and where the economy goes so too goes our seeming capacity to practice tolerance and pluralism; also, we are also confronted by the specter of climate change and an inability to deal with it effectively or its secondary effects, e.g. 21.5 million people are currently displaced worldwide and considered climate change refugees (some of whom are seeking refuge in North America and Europe); this number is bound to grow as climate change’s effects become increasingly severe and ubiquitous; and right wing political movements—secular and religious—are growing in popularity as though we’re taking part in some sort of macabre replay or dress rehearsal for World War III; given all that’s going on it’s little wonder so many people have such mixed feelings about helping strange Syrian refugees when existing Canadians themselves don’t feel secure enough about their own or their children’s futures.[1]

So where does this leave us? I suppose at one of those revolutionary periods Nietzsche mentioned. The great irony is we possess all the knowledge and understanding to solve every single one of our problems; yet, it seems we’re doomed to repeat past mistakes instead of learning from them because of a fundamental lack of collective character or imagination to conceive of new ways of living with and treating one another. There’s not much historical precedent when it comes to nations or societies becoming selfless or other-centered in times of significant economic downturn, political upheaval or when confronted by an existential crisis as significant as climate change. However, I would argue we can use how we eventually decide to treat refugees and immigrants as a litmus test for our future prospects. Some political theorists argue history is on the side of democracy. I like the sentiment but I would add the following caveat: history is on the side of those who want to survive. The great irony is most people think survival means circling our wagons, siding with the tribe and pushing strangers out. The truth is the world is a much smaller place in 2017 than it was in 1917. For this reason, I believe, if we’re going to survive we’re going to have to find ways to do it together; it’ll be cooperation not competition that’ll determine humankind’s direction and whether there’ll be a Canada or a United States for future generations to immigrate to.

 

Notes
[1]
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/syrian-refugees-poll-trump-1.3988716

Governing by Brand: Trump Inc.

“You know what uranium is, right? It’s this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things. But nobody talks about that.”—Donald Trump

If I wanted to take power, Alexander Hamilton wrote, I would mount the “hobbyhorse of popularity, I would cry out usurpation, danger to liberty, etc. etc. I would endeavor to prostrate the national government, raise a ferment, and then ride the whirlwind to direct the storm”.[1] Demagogues and populist leaders not only direct storms, they create them; they whip the people into a frenzy and the minute they relax their hold—allowing people time to actually think instead of feel—the power monger’s influence wanes.

I have a theory about America’s new president. I don’t think he has any intention of actually governing. He governs by decree and executive order (something he and fellow Republicans vilified Obama of doing). This isn’t governing, it’s institutional cynicism. He’s going to continue doing what he did in the business world—sell a brand.[2] He doesn’t know how to do anything else (and he’s good at it). Yet, being good at selling a product doesn’t necessarily translate into being able to lead the world’s most powerful democracy for a four year term.

Trump doesn’t make anything; he slaps his name on a building or a steak and claims it as his own. Instead of actually reading briefings, Trump watches television to get his information. He listens to white supremacist radio shows and thinks he’s getting an accurate presentation of the state of the nation. If the man cracked a book in his adult life I’d be surprised. He isn’t a thinker. He’s a doer. So, instead of attending intelligence briefings or learning what constitutes or what does not constitute overstepping presidential prerogative, he’s back on the campaign trail bragging about his election how he carried Florida. He’s a salesman, not a president. Three weeks into his presidency and there hasn’t been a single day where Trump’s “finely tuned” administration hasn’t made some sort of mis-step. I hear the bell from the news app on my phone and I cringe wondering ‘what’d he do now?’ I still, honestly, cannot believe he won the election; and it wasn’t his smarts that won him the election–it was arguably the ignorance of the average American voter (who appears to be willing to trade the rule of law and pluralism for the prospect of short-term financial gain). I don’t think people understood what exactly they were buying.

A good test of a man’s character is how he reacts to constructive criticism. Trump fails this test. In order to avoid the justifiable criticism of his executive orders and cabinet picks, he directs attention back on the media calling them the greatest enemy of the United States. The greatest enemy of any country is a leader who resorts to special pleading[3] and cries foul whenever light is brought to bear upon one of his many ill-founded policies. Speaking of policies, when the Free World is led by a man so ignorant of history he cannot be expected to develop policies with a context (he just criticizes existing agreements or institutions a either “very, very bad” or “the worst deal maybe ever”); when you elect the intellectual equivalent of Jared the Subway spokesmen to power, you cannot reasonably expect him to make informed decisions around science generally or climate change (a Chinese plot!) specifically, e.g. his pick for head of the Environmental Protection Agency is a climate change denier.

So, if I have any advice for President Trump it is this: just do it, sir. Build that wall. Think different. Think so differently that it appears you’re not thinking at all. The people will continue to melt in your hands, not in your mouth; because your leadership tastes so good, cats ask for it by name.[4]
Notes
[1] Private correspondence from Alexander Hamilton to Edward Carrington (1792). See: https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-11-02-0349.

[2] Trump reputedly offered Governor Kasich the vice-presidency. The president told Kasich that he could control domestic and foreign policy. When asked what responsibilities Mr. Trump would take care of it became apparent the businessman turned politician would be the face of the White House, i.e. he’d sell the policies and be the brand for a new order. http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/20/politics/john-kasich-donald-trump-vice-president/

[3] The Republican Party recently passed a notion permitting President Trump from not having to release his tax returns. If Trump has nothing to fear and there’s no conflict of interest, why the secrecy? Just like his predecessors he should be required to be forthcoming with information that establishes his trustworthiness and integrity; or we can just take him at his word and trust. When has that ever gotten a people into trouble?

[4] https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33535/10-companies-that-totally-nailed-their-taglines.aspx#sm.0002dixf216rtfiqscz2fcdl6e35p

Westminster: Governing Through Reason, Not Tradition

The Westminster system of parliamentary democracy was established on the basis of reason and not traditional authority: after years of civil war (1642-51) between the middle and upper classes in England forced the Crown to eventually submit to the authority of a written constitution called the Bill of Rights (1688). England became a constitutional monarchy effectively ending the problems associated with either a king or queen changing their mind or a law at a whim. With the Bill of Rights in place, the Crown now governed with the consent of the governed while being limited by the law (reason).

The establishment of constitutional law in England introduced an era of unparalleled stability continuing into the present day. Prior to the Bill of Rights authority was exercised more or less on an appeal to either tradition or power, e.g. family dynasties, etc. and an appeal to God’s will, e.g. Divine Right of Kings. The problem with kings or queens is some of them aren’t particularly bright or well-suited to rule. With the establishment of a functional and well-organized parliamentary system, rulers became accountable no longer to something abstract like a good but to something concrete like the law. No one was above the law any longer.  Not even the king.

Since President Donald Trump assumed the presidency this past January, he has been an executive order writing machine. The executive branch of the United States Federal government has been gradually growing in power since the end of World War II. Although federalists like John Adams and George Washington believed in the need for a strong central government, it is unlikely that they would have approved of any president governing essentially by decree; however, these revolutionary brothers occupied a simpler time when factionalism was only beginning in the new republic known as the United States. In 2017, and with the Congress and American polity so divided, it has become more and more common for presidents to govern less by consent and more by fiat.

The Americans do not have parliamentary democracy; rather, they utilize a republican system that nonetheless possesses certain qualities in common with a parliamentary system, e.g. there are three branches (legislative, executive, judiciary), the government governs on the basis of the rule of law, and the law (and separation of the various branches) ensures no single branch oversteps its power. On January 27th, President Trump signed an executive order effectively banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries traveling to the United States. A federal judge, however, took issue with the constitutionality of Trump’s order and blocked it. Specifically, the judge argued the executive order violated the “establishment clause” of the Constitution (1783). The argument, so far as I understand it, is that the Federal government could not show preferential treatment for Christians seeking asylum over Muslims. The United States, despite assertions to the contrary, is not a “Christian” nation but a “secular” one in which Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. are allowed the freedom of worship and equally secure under the law. President Trump argued the courts had failed the United States. In reality the courts (or judiciary) worked precisely how they’re supposed to by preventing the executive branch from overstepping its authority, i.e. when you become president you don’t become “king of the world”. Your powers are limited (and wisely so).

* * * * *

As early as the 17th Century, democratic ideas like equality and liberty had grown in popularity and acceptance among the peoples of the Old and New Worlds. The Age of Reason (also called the Enlightenment) placed into doubt the wisdom of blindly accepting the authority of either the Church or the Crown. The Enlightenment created a fertile environment for philosophers and politicians to dissent and criticize traditional authority; and with every passing year in France of the 18th century, it became harder and harder for a tiny aristocracy to justify its lavish lifestyle while tens of millions of farmers, laborers, artisans and merchants, etc. all tried to eke out an existence.

Across the Channel in England (1685), King James II attempted to make himself something of an absolute monarch. He believed in and appealed to others to believe in the Doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings. According to this superstition, God had made James II king; therefore, if the people wanted to obey God then they would have to obey James. The middle and upper classes of England were not convinced (and disliked the trend of absolute monarchs appearing on the Continent). During the Glorious Revolution (1688), the English people rose up overthrowing James II.  James’ successor was his nephew William of Orange (later known as William III).

King William III accepted the Westminster System of parliamentary democracy when he acknowledged the supremacy of the English Constitution (Bill of Rights (1689)).  Instead of an absolute monarchy, England established the world’s first constitutional monarchy.  Responsible government had arrived as the king could no longer suspend laws, levy taxes, make royal appointments, or maintain a standing army during peacetime without Parliament’s permission. The King was effectively limited by the law. According to the Westminster System, parliament was divided into an upper house representing the aristocracy (House of Lords) and a lower house representing the merchant class and basically everybody else (House of Commons). The wisdom behind the division is obvious: each house represented the interests of their particular class and new laws (taxes) would have to be approved by both houses (ensuring no clique or segment of society could unilaterally rule the nation). This meant that in theory no one segment in society would have more power than another. For a new law to be passed it had to be demonstrated that it was reasonable, fair and did not violate the Constitution. Gone were the days when the king made up the rules as they went along. Arrived now were the days of responsible government whereby the king and Parliament were held accountable for their actions or inaction.

* * * * *

Canadians living in British North America rightly believed England’s political institutions to be some of the most “enlightened” on Earth; however, the colonies of British North America had the misfortune of inheriting not the Westminster but a colonial system of government with the passage of the Constitution Act (1791). The Constitution Act actually increased rather than decreased the power and privilege of the aristocratic and business elite in the Canada, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The power of the colonial government was so complete that the governor of Lower Canada could be said to possess more power than even the English king exercised in Westminster. The fundamental reason responsible government was not established in Canada was to prevent another American-style revolution. Westminster reasoned that America had rebelled because it had been given too much freedom; therefore, the logical response (to the English at least) was a reduction of freedoms, a turning back of the clock so to speak to less “progressive” times.

Absolute power was therefore given to the aristocracy of Upper (Family Compact) and Lower Canada (Chateau Clique). The reason the British chose to side with the aristocracy was because they were predictable: they could always be counted on to pursue their own self-interest at the expense of the greater population. (Not much has changed to be honest.) To the British Government the elite were “our kind of guys” (so to speak). The masses, unlike the aristocracy, were supposedly incapable of being reasoned with. They had to be controlled. Members of the upper classes argued the poor simply didn’t know what was good for them. Whenever any segment of society possesses privileges not enjoyed by all a condition of class struggle exists; and Canadians in the 1830s no less than the English (1688), Americans (1776) or French (1789) before them desired liberty and responsible government.  Politicians like Louis Joseph Papineau, William Lyon Mackenzie and Joseph Howe, though differing in their means, all wanted the same thing: they wanted the citizens of British North America to enjoy the self-same democratic rights enjoyed by the people of England itself.

In every society (regardless of the century), there is an ongoing struggle between two classes of people: there are those that “have,” e.g. aristocrats, priests, wealthy businessmen, etc. and those that “have not,” e.g. serfs, slaves, plebeians, and industrial workers. The 19th century political philosopher and economist Karl Marx called this condition a class struggle. To him class struggle was a permanent state of affairs; it could only be destroyed by destroying class itself. Further still, Marx argued it was natural for the upper class to try to maintain its privileges. After all, if you were rich, wouldn’t you seek to maintain your standard of living? And it was just as understandable for the lower classes to want to improve their own material and legal situation. Marx argued that the workers and laborers would one day rise up, cast off their chains, and overthrow the ruling class. He further argued that the working class (whom he called the Proletariat) would establish an ideal society where class no longer existed.  Marx of course was completely wrong. There were Marxist or communist revolutions in the 19th and 20th centuries; however, a new ruling class always emerged following each revolution that was successful, e.g. the Bolsheviks formed the basis of an economic elite in the Soviet Union while the inaptly named Communist Party (in contemporary fascist) China likewise forms the basis of an elite.

The colonial system in British North America established through the passing of the Constitution Act (1791) was by its very nature unfair; that is, it placed all the decision-making power into the hands of the few (oligarchy) while completely ignoring the needs of the many. For example, the common person had the privilege of paying taxes but no say on how those taxes might be spent. In such a situation, it was inevitable that the lower classes would regard violence as preferable to the status-quo. The rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada (1837-38) were a catalyst for such change. The rebellions woke the British up to the fact that maintaining “peace, order, and good government” in Canada did not depend upon building an alliance with the wealthy elite. Instead, good government depended upon the reverse: establishing relevant democratic political institutions that empowered everyone—regardless of class—giving everyone a voice in their own government. The English learned this very same lesson in the 1600s when they removed a would-be absolute monarch in James II.  For some reason the British lacked the foresight to apply the same wisdom to the American colonies in the 1770s or its Canadian possessions in the 1830s.

Society, when governed by laws, runs smoothly; it might be counter-intuitive to people in positions of great power but laws are supposed to be inconvenient; they’re supposed to be limiting, i.e. we cannot rely upon the good character or judgement of men or women occupying positions of influence. Instead, we rely upon a combination of a leader’s prerogative while balancing their decisions against constitutional standards of what is lawful and what is not. While I doubt President Trump is much of a student of history (especially legal history), I suspect he learned a valuable lesson when he attempted to push the ill-advised executive order banning Muslims from traveling to the United States through. Specifically, he is not the “boss” of the United States; he’s the “president” and there things he can do and things, constitutionally speaking, he cannot do.

Canada: A 21st Century Nation

“Canadians often point out that while the American constitution promises “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the constitution of Canada–written in the 1860s in England–sets a more modest goal: “Peace, order, and good government.” This difference reaches into every corner of the two nations. My favorite example is a book of medical advice. It was written by a Canadian, Judylaine Fine, and published in Toronto under an extremely modest title, Your Guide to Coping with Back Pain. Later, American rights were acquired by New York publishers; they brought out precisely the same book under a new title, Conquering Back Pain. And there, in a grain of sand, to borrow from William Blake, we can see a world of differing attitudes. Our language reveals how we think, and what we are capable of thinking. Canadians cope. Americans conquer. Canadian readers of that book will assume that back pain will always be with them. Americans will assume that it can be destroyed, annihilated, abolished, conquered. Americans expect life, liberty, happiness, and total freedom from back pain. Canadians can only imagine peace, order, good government, and moderate back pain.”– Robert Fulford

Canada shouldn’t even exist because we’ve broken virtually every rule where it applies to nation building. Countries are normally fairly simple and straight-forward things—one language, one history, one people. By contrast Canada isn’t one people but many; it is arguably the only genuinely multicultural nation state in history. Yet, appearances are deceiving: according to a 2016 Angus Reid poll Canadians are becoming less and less tolerant of Muslims compared to Americans.[1] The United States breaks a number of rules when it comes to nation building, too; they are a nation of immigrants and just as culturally diverse as Canada. However, Canada is officially multicultural whereas America typically encourages new immigrants to assimilate. This is why the Angus Reid poll is so intriguing: Americans are comparatively more supportive of new immigrants keeping their customs, language, etc. than Canadians are.

Pinpointing when modern nations first appear is difficult. Some scholars assert England was the first nation state by drawing our attention to the year 1689. In this year, England adopted the Bill of Rights which effectively limited the power of the king while centralizing authority around the English people themselves through a constitution. Some scholars suggest the French Revolution (1789) brought into existence the first truly national identity: people residing in Republican France no longer identified first and foremost with their province but with their nation as a whole. This view is not without its challenges; that is, only 50% of France’s people actually spoke French in 1789.[2] If one of the hallmarks of a nation is linguistic unity then France fails this test. No country is without contradictions like France’s: Canadians don’t have one official language, they have two…and counting. Canada’s history is not a single narrative; it’s a shared collection of stories.

Despite Canadian’s living as a patchwork of cultures, Canada has a rich history of intolerance. In shades of Plato’s “one and the many”[3] dichotomy, there are numerous examples in Canada’s history where the English majority (the “one”) attempted to push out or assimilate minorities (the “many”). In 1837 and 1838, rebellions broke out in both French and English Canada. Once the English authorities quelled the revolts, Queen Victoria sent Lord Durham to investigate the causes of the discontent in British North America. Durham, an Englishman, argued English Canadians rebelled because they were tired of being dominated by an unresponsive, selfish governor and ruling oligarchy. So Durham recommended England grant English Canadians more decision-making power and responsible government. However, when it came to the French they didn’t rebel for the same reasons as the English; rather, the French were, according to Durham, simply incapable of loyalty because of their race. Durham recommended the French be assimilated as soon as possible. The rebellions led to a lot of property damage in both English and French Canada. To help English Canadians pay for the damage a bill was passed by the United Assembly of Canada approving the appropriate funds. The French were denied similar compensation (because they were French). In 1848 the Canadian Government experienced some reform under the leadership of an Englishman named Robert Baldwin (1804-1858) and a Frenchman, Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine (1807-1864). The two men worked to end the French-English tension by passing the Rebellion Losses Bill into law. The bill granted French Canadians compensation for damage caused by England’s army during the 1838 uprising. English Canada didn’t respond well to the bill—a hoard of them responded to the bill’s passing by burning the colony’s assembly to the ground.

French Canada has at times acted a little on the tribal side, as well. The Quebec nationalist cleric and writer Lionel Groulx (1878-1967) romanticized France and emphasized the racial purity of the people of Quebec; he asserted the French were victims of English Canada. Although there was some truth to Groulx’s claim, e.g. during the Manitoba Schools crisis in the 1890s English Canadians successfully limited French language and education rights outside of Quebec, etc. the cleric was somewhat paranoid. Later French historians from the so-called “Montreal School”, and even the Parti Quebecois,[4] used Groulx’s thinking to justify Quebec’s separation from Canada. John Raulston Saul, author of Reflections of a Siamese Twin, described Groulx’s influence in the following way:

All [the Montreal School] took from Groulx was the negative. The result was a victim psychosis in the extreme. It is now somehow assumed that the Montreal School is just the past. No longer relevant. But in fact their selecting reworking of Groulx became the intellectual foundation of the current separatist/sovereigntist school…This movement—indeed, the Parti Quebecois itself—has within it two very different, often contradictory, parts. One is social democratic and reform oriented. The other comes from the Montreal School, which was conservative, in many ways reactionary, and was tied to the old clerical nationalism…[sic] anchored their catastrophic view firmly in a highly selective editing and interpretation of the past.[5]

Lionel Groulx argued the racial differences between French and English Canadians was insurmountable.[6] These differences continued to play a role through two world wars, the Quiet Revolution[7] of the 1960s, and during two referendums on separation from Canada (held in 1980 and 1995 respectively). Yet, Baldwin and Lafontaine’s example of cooperation at least suggested Groulx’s pessimism wasn’t entirely justified: when there’s a willingness to compromise and work together people—even ones belonging to different ethnic or religious groups—can live and flourish together.

Following the 1995 referendum a separatist politician named Lucien Bouchard (1938 to present) was elected premier of Quebec. He ruffled a lot of Canadian feathers when he observed “Canada wasn’t a real country”.[8]  In a sense, Bouchard was right: Canada was too complicated a creature to constitute a nation as defined.[9] He was of course appealing to 19th century standards about nationhood. Bouchard didn’t view diversity as a strength so much as a watering down of the French Canadian culture and identity. In the 2001, Prime Minister Paul Martin (1938 to present) argued the opposite observing in an interview “Canada is the world’s only truly post-modernist nation”. Ultimately, he was saying there wasn’t one right way to go about building a country:

I think it is that individuals can actually control their own destiny. That you just don’t simply have to [lie] back and be rolled over by the huge forces of globalization that you can’t control. That it is possible for nation states acting collectively to, in fact, deal with the problems they face. I also have to say something else that really didn’t come out of this meeting, but that this meeting certainly confirmed, and that is that Canada is really, I think, the world’s first 21st century country. We have a very post-modern view. Not only is our economy open, but in fact the waves of immigrants have changed the way Canadians look at the world. I think that we are by far a more modern country than almost any other, and that there is a huge opportunity for Canada to play a leadership role. We are not a dominant power such as the United States. We are not narcissistic as are so many Europeans in the process of building Europe…And we have this much more progressive view of the way in which the world ought to evolve.[10]

Canadian nationalism, with its focus on openness, was the opposite of the nationalism that pushed the great powers of Europe to destroy one another in two world wars during the 20th century.[11] Diversity, tolerance, pluralism, openness, etc. should all be considered strengths; and despite the Angus Reid poll Canada is a multicultural society. We have our challenges (as do all nations, even ones with homogeneous populations). But I’m confident, invoking Abraham Lincoln, that the better angels of our nature will eventually win out and the irrational fear some Canadians have of Muslims will abate. Yet, optimism notwithstanding, tolerance is almost always tied to how well the economy is doing. People aren’t rational but emotional by nature: so when we are personally doing well financially we project a sense of wellness on to others; however, when we aren’t doing well we are more likely to blame others for our own misfortune.

Ultimately, nations are not created simply by passing legislation limiting the power of the King (England) or by lopping off his head (France). Nations are multi-headed and complex creatures. In the Canadian context, Canada breaks the rules and is successful primarily because, to quote John Raulston Saul, “[Canadians] accept their non-conformity with some ease. They live it and so it makes sense”.[12] So, while not every Canadian is necessarily on-board with multiculturalism, at some level most Canadians appreciate why it’s so important that it succeeds: with the rise of racism and nationalist movements in the 21st century in both Europe and North America, Canada is one of the few countries capable of acting as an example of what peace can accomplish when there’s such a huge temptation to go to war with our neighbors.

 

[1] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/poll-canadians-multiculturalism-immigrants-1.3784194

[2] William T. Cavanaugh, Migrations of the Holy, p.4.

[3] In philosophy, the question of the “one” and the “many” concerns whether or not reality can be accurately described as a “single, united whole” or as a something that is “multiple, divisible”. For example, the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (1942 to present), just like Albert Einstein (1879-1955) before him, attempted to establish a single so-called “theory of everything” to describe reality; however, all attempts so far to describe physical reality through a single formula (or theory) has proven impossible. Instead, scientists are forced to describe reality through many different models.

[4] The Parti Quebecois was a French separatist political party founded by the journalist Rene Levesque (1922-1987) in 1968.

[5] John Raulston Saul, Reflections of a Siamese Twin, p. 19.

[6] The French and English do not belong to separate races as defined. Instead, they belong to different ethnic groups within the same race.

[7] The Quiet Revolution was a period of intense socio-political and socio-cultural change in Quebec characterized by the effective secularization of society, the creation of a welfare state, and realignment of politics into federalist and sovereigntist factions.

[8] Steven Jay Schneider and Tony Williams, Horror International, p.239.

[9] Nations are supposed to be simple things. Canada is far from simple. According to 19th century standards, nations consist of one ethnic group speaking the same language, worshiping the same God (in the same way), and sharing a common history. For example, Germans and Japanese nationalists insisted their respective countries were the greatest in the world in the 1930s. Around the same time Italians under Mussolini reminded the world his country was once the seat of Roman power. In some respects deserved and in others not so much, France has persisted insisting it possesses a certain je ne sais quoi which sets itself apart from other nations. Turning our attention to China, the Chinese historically have referred to their country as the “Middle Kingdom” (a place existing mystically between Heaven and earth) while Americans are notorious for thinking themselves exceptional in absolutely every way. Canadians are different (or at least they think they are); they love their country while not holding themselves up as the standard by which all other countries are measured. Canadians admit they do some things well while acknowledging other countries do, too.

[10] Interview of Paul Martin by Candida Tamar Paltiel (G8 Research Group), November 18, 2001, Ottawa. http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/g20/interviews/Martin011118.pdf

[11] Wars make nationalists and nationalists make nations. In the case of the United States, it took two major wars—the American Revolution (1776-1783) and the Civil War (1861-1865)—for it to become a modern nation state. In the case of the Dominion of Canada, it became a country in form with the passage of the British North America Act in 1867; however, Canada did not become a nation in fact until its success at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France (1917) during World War I. The shared sacrifice of Canada’s soldiers (French, English, German, Jewish, First Nation, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) gave Canadians a shared sense of pride resulting in a shared sense of identity. Although war is not the only way to build a nation, it seems to play a huge part in the development of national identity.

[12] John Raulston Saul, p.9.

Podcast Episode 19: America like…WTF?

In episode 19, the Hooligans discuss the significance and meaning of Donald Trump’s recent (and surprising) victory in the American presidential election. The cast considers the impact of Trump’s stated policies for Canada, the United States, and how the controversial figure’s rise in the United States is increasing popular support for ultra-right wing political parties in Western Europe (a trend not seen since the 1920s).

Episode 19: America like…WTF?

Click on the hyperlink above to download and listen to the podcast. Feel free to leave a comment or question in the comments section below. One of the cast members will respond.

Thanks in advance for listening and check back regularly for updates to the site and podcast. Also, if you like what you hear please follow us on Word Press to receive notifications on when the blog or podcast is updated.

Notes & Clarifications
1). On the night of the election, Mark Halpern (one of the hosts of Showtime’s Circus) was interviewed on Stephen Colbert’s Election Night Special on November 8th.  Halpern is one of the managing editors of Bloomberg Politics and a senior political analyst for MSNBC. He and co-host John Heilemann followed both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. Halpern argued that Trump’s election was one of the three most disastrous events to befall the United States, e.g. World War II, 9/11 and of course November 9th, 2016.

2). On November 8th Donald Trump won the presidency by winning the electoral college; however, for what it’s worth Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, e.g. As of November 11th Clinton had received 60,467,245 votes (or 47.7%) while Trump received 60,071,650 (47.4%).

Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/latest-popular-vote-results-2016-hillary-clinton-has-almost-400000-more-votes-winner-2445216

Three other candidates won the electoral college but received less of the popular vote, e.g. Clinton had more than Trump (2016), Al Gore had more than George W. Bush (2000), Grover Cleveland received more support than Benjamin Harrison (1888), and Samuel Tilden received more than Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876.

3). Rick made reference to John Cruickshank during the show. Cruickshank is a former contributor to the Toronto Globe and Mail who, during a recent interview on CBC’s The Investigators, discussed the reasons why media’s predictions were wrong. Also, Cruickshank provided some interesting insight as to the significance of Trump’s unexpected victory. Specifically he said the campaign was covered “as if it were a plebiscite on the character of Donald Trump, but it wasn’t, really. It had a lot more to do with the fact that for almost all of the American population, they haven’t had a raise in 40 years.” You can watch the interview by clicking on the link below:

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/americans-vote-out-media-1.3846307

4). During the show Rick made reference to the stagnation of African-American wages since the 1960s, i.e. as a cohort this group actually made more money in the middle of the 20th century than they do in 2016. The site linked below presents information from a report published in 1965 called “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.”

Source: http://yourblackworld.net/2013/03/02/the-black-family-is-worse-off-today-than-in-the-1960s-report-shows/

5). There are a series of important elections coming in Europe in 2016 and 2017. The election of Donald Trump, and specifically the way he won, has emboldened and increased support for right-wing political parties in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Belgium and Italy. The BBC article linked below provides a context for understanding the paradigm shift currently taking place in Western Europe.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36150807

6). During the podcast, Rick couldn’t recall the name of President John F. Kennedy gave to his administration’s time in office. Kennedy called it the “New Frontier.” Kennedy pursued a domestic policy which carried on with liberal social reforms enacted under the President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. In terms of foreign policy, Kennedy encouraged Americans to make a difference in the world by joining the recently formed Peace Corps and to land a man on the moon before the Russians (during the so-called Space Race).

Three Girls & A Guy American Election Night Facebook Chat

Read as the cast shares the contents of their Facebook chat conversation on the night of the election.

Jessica Clare: So who’s watching coverage already?

Angelea Marie: Championships from the weekend are archived on wftda so I’m watching roller derby Lol.

Richard James III: I am following. Early lead for Trump

Jessica Clare: I’m doing periodic check ins. I know some people who are following close already and they’ve already got intense anxiety. For mental health reasons I’m for real not following intently till latr

Richard James III: Trump says if he doesn’t win ‘it was all a waste of time; quite selfish of him to say that because he should be proud to represent the needs of his supporters. The election is not about him.

Shooting at California polling station: 1 dead, 3 hurt.

Angelea Marie: Omfg…

Richard James III: I tht Kodos and Kang promised there would be no need for a blood bath…

Angelea Marie: The States is F*****.

Richard James III: Well Canadians killed one another at poll stations…in the 1830s

Angelea Marie: Get with the times America.

Richard James III: Clinton 68, Trump 57

Texas will make things interesting

Jessica Clare: It’s terrifying even that he’s leading at this point. Even if he doesn’t win his strength right now signals some scary stuff. Saw the shooting article :holy s***.

Richard James III: White men are being challenged

It isn’t just political correctness and Academia–it is control of power structures

Jessica Clare: Yep.

Richard James III: Working class though. The wealthy do not care about economic displacement (they have benefitted from globalization).

Angelea Marie: It is terrifying. Makes me not wanna go to Disneyland in May.

Jessica Clare: I’m just trying to pretend it’s not actually possible for him to win. Like, I want to believe the muse of fate just wouldn’t allow it

Richard James III: To be honest though I can appreciate the desperation of this segment of American society, ie. this segment has been struggling with secondary effects of economic dislocation more than any other (specifically suicide rates of white men much higher than any other demographic since 2008).

The frustration is palpable

Jessica Clare: And frankly I think their frustration leads naturally to Trump over Clinton. I wouldn’t feel like she’d alleviate the situation in their place.

If that makes sense. Sorry, my brain is seriously sleep-deprived right now 😳

Richard James III: If she becomes president she will be confronted with some existential and paradigm issues akin to what FDR faced in the 1930s depression era (crisis of capitalism and democracy)

Jessica Clare: Oh whatever happens tonight the madness doesn’t end tonight. If she gets in she’s in for a fucking rough term

Richard James III: Well the drama certainly won’t end tonight. I am concerned for the safety of both candidates to be honest

Jessica Clare: Did you read about Trump saying he’ll demand a recount if he doesn’t win?

Richard James III: Yes but only under certain conditions

Angelea Marie: Yeah I heard about that. What a poor loser. And that’s who the republicans have chosen to represent them.

Richard James III: Specifically, if the electoral college numbers are close he will try to challenge the result; if there is a clear victory he will accept the result

Jessica Clare: Oh okay that’s more reasonable than I assumed

Richard James III: That’s the thing, really, is we are often guilty of believing (unqualified) our assumptions about our opponent. So it makes intuitive sense just to assume Trump is going to be an ass about things.

Jessica Clare: To be fair, even if it’s technically a logical misstep…it’s not like he hasn’t set a precedent of whiny petulant behaviour. You’re right though, assumptions are a huge part of what’s made this election so caustic.

Richard James III: Totally understand

I guess though a person can be ‘whiny’ one time and ‘reasonable’ the next.

We shall see I guess.

What are the numbers at now? I am watching Oilers playing Pittsburgh.

Jessica Clare: Haha I suppose they can! And 125 trump to 97 Clinton. He’s halfway home

Richard James III: What ‘big’ state did he get…Texas?

Angelea Marie: That’s just sickening. Ugh.

Richard James III: It is democracy heh.

Jessica Clare: Yep. Texas.

Richard James III: That is no surprise

Jessica Clare: NERP.

Richard James III: This gets interesting once Florida is decided.

Angelea Marie: Need Florida to win, I hear.

Richard James III: Yes and Ohio, Pennsylvania too or equivalents.

Jessica Clare: T 125 C 104. Closing the gap a bit. God this is gonna be a tight race.

Richard James III: There’s a certain part of me that wants to see Trump win.

Angelea Marie: Yeah the sadistic part.

Richard James III: The reptilian part of my brain, the limbic system.

Angelea Marie:

😜

Richard James III: When I was a kid I remember helping my dad build a porch.

He asked me for a hammer while he was kneeling over.

I grabbed the hammer and this thought popped in my head, ‘I want to hit him on the head.’

I wasn’t mad….it just sort of appeared out of nowhere—that is the limbic system.

You all have experiences like that at all….?

Angelea Marie: Yes I’ve had random weird thoughts like that before.

Richard James III: For instance….

Angelea Marie: Oh you want an example? I don’t have one off the top of my head but I remember it happening to me as a kid and hoping it didn’t mean I was a psycho Lol.

Sometimes my brain wanders off to “what if” tragic events – like someone driving into me with my kids in the car. Then I indulge myself in imagining what I’d do to someone if my kids got hurt.

Richard James III: ‘Indulge.” Hehheheh.

Angelea Marie: Lol it is an indulgence. It’s an acknowledgment of that animal side that all humans have. Logically, I know it doesn’t make it okay to hurt someone else because they’ve hurt me.

Richard James III: Human nature is funny. We are both beautiful and terrible at the same time.

Angelea Marie:

Two sides to the same coin.

Richard James III

god_larson

Angelea Marie: A jar of krill Lol. That’s a good comic.

Richard James III: THAT is an awesome comic strip.

Jessica Clare: Oh man step away for supper come back to very compelling thoughts on the limbic system and one of my all time favourite comics.

Richard James III: We aim to please. He won Virginia. Protest votes in Virginia cost Clinton that state.

Jessica Clare: A lot of the time when I’m walking on bridges I have a weird urge I have to resist to jump off it–ABSOLUTELY NOT because of any emotional compulsion but because I always think I’d love to splash into the water below. And I have to like, rationally remind myself I wouldn’t like the trip down. That limbic too?

Jessica Clare: Yeah?

Richard James III: Yes i think so. I want to ‘go splash.’ Baha.

Jessica Clare: Yeah! It’s awful man:P

Angelea Marie: I think a lot of the trouble we humans get into is because we go “hmm I wonder what would happen if..?” or sometimes because we just skip that step altogether Lol.

Richard James III: I agree with you Lea. How have we managed to survive on this planet for 200,000/6,000 years?

Jessica Clare: Hahaha I think that’s entirely true.

Richard James III: The Peso was going up with Clinton’s early lead.

Angelea Marie: 200,000/6,000 😂😂😂

Richard James III: Now it is plummeting

Angelea Marie: Good observation Rick.

Jessica Clare: Haha oh good gravy.

Richard James III: Asian stocks tumbling.

Jessica Clare: Okay I’ve got a friend who’s anticipating riots if Trump doesn’t win. Thoughts?

Angelea Marie: Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Richard James III: Riots are possible with either side winning.

Angelea Marie: His supporters have already turned up with guns at the polls. I agree Rick.

Richard James III: I feel like Aragorn on top of the wall just before the Battle of Helm’s Deep breaks out…calm. Then one of you two let loose an arrow.

Jessica Clare: I’m trying to calm her down. I don’t see like a huge, united riot, like country wide. But there will be violent fallout I think for the next several weeks

Richard James III: And BAM the battle starts. It will be France in 2005 all over again.

Angelea Marie: It’ll be like Vancouver when we lose a hockey game…..

Richard James III: Or that.

Angelea Marie: A huge united riot would be akin to civil war and I don’t think ‘Murica is there yet. Close though.

Richard James III: I ran a survey election of my own. Clinton winning by quite abit. I think though someone voted 30 times.

Angelea Marie: Too bad the rest of the world can’t vote in this U.S. Election. Trump wouldn’t stand a chance.

Richard James III: I want Germans to have a vote.

Angelea Marie: Heck, let’s just get this New World Order happening already.

Richard James III: Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.

Jessica Clare: Bahaha this might be a step in this direction.

Richard James III:

kodos

Angelea Marie: Shiver me timbers.

Jessica Clare: Aww see now who could say NO to voting for that face?

Angelea Marie

😂

Richard James III: https://pandesite.wordpress.com/2016/10/09/elections-101-kang-and-kodos-on-clinton-and-trump/

I wrote this a month or so ago. I have had about 70 views (40 of them in the last three days).

Elections 101: Kang and Kodos on Clinton and Trump

Richard James III: Traffic coming to the site/podcast through Internet searches and not FB. Someone searched and found the site by entering the following search phrase, e.g. Kodos and Kang take me to Clinton!

Jessica Clare: Hahah that’s awesome.

Richard James III: Grrrr, found a typo. I got the election date wrong. Fixed that mofo. Gah I hate when I do that. You might find this encouraging: the same Republican surge took place early in the previous two elections but Obama was elected. My wife made this observation. She’s so smart: S-M-R-T.

Jessica Clare: *and she dances will the house goes up in flame * Clinton won new Mexico. I’m guessing that’s minority voters showing up

Richard James III: They clawed their way over the wall.

Just occurred to me: maybe Obama wasn’t the anti-Christ after all…

Jessica Clare: Bahaha it just occurred now he might not be? So…you thought he was before?

Richard James III: I am being tongue ‘n cheek. Republicans kept saying Obama was. I think, wouldn’t it be clever, if Satan aka the anti-Christ was brought in by the religious right? Aka Trump.

Angelea Marie: Isn’t that how it always works?

Richard James III: And I am being figurative.

Jessica Clare: Haha oh I gotcha, I was bugging yous

Richard James III: I do not believe in such a thing as anti-Christs. I am invoking a corollary of Jean Paul Sartre who said “hell is other people” and would observe now “Trump is other people therefore the anti-Christ.” Seems logical to me.

Jessica Clare: Haha it’s PERFECT logic.

Angelea Marie: Trump is a sweet potato in a wig.

Jessica Clare: BAHAHAHA I love that. Except for the fact I love sweet potatoes…

I do not love Trump.

Richard James III: Sweet potatoes are good for you.

Ergo, Trump is good for you.

Angelea Marie: He’s only useful in his true form – sweet potato. He won’t be of use to us as President.

Richard James III: Trump won in Ohio.

Jessica Clare: Haha I’m just picturing an actual sweet potato in the white house, giving out orders.

Richard James III: And over 200,000 third party votes in Florida. Prob cost Clinton the state.

Jessica Clare: But now I’m not laughing so much.

Richard James III: CBC Headline: Strong Trump showing so far has markets ‘increasingly worried.’

Angelea Marie: If we don’t have laughter, we’ll have nothing if Trump gets in.

Jessica Clare: God you know I sincerely didn’t even think of the economic ramifications. Like short term.

Angelea Marie: I didn’t either. I didn’t think ‘Murica was actually that stupid to let it happen.

Richard James III: Well, the worth of markets and currency are fundamentally tied to consumer confidence. So it makes sense they either go up or down based on perception.

That is the short-term.

Over the long-term if Trump plays around with various trade agreements we’ll see some global shifts in the economy which will quite possibly be painful to Canadians.

Canadians who supported the idea of a Trump presidency are pretty short-sighted, in that, if he raises those tariff walls he promised to raise then farmers, producers, etc. can kiss America good-bye as a market.

Want to know something interesting?

Jessica Clare: Always.

Richard James III: Thanks Obi Wan.

The erection of tariff walls preceded both world wars in the 20th century.

Sweet, huh? Protectionism. We have a serious case of historical amnesia.

Angelea Marie: Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Jessica Clare: Oh good lord we certainly do. And are.

I was reading today though apparently Trump opposes the TPP?

I didn’t have time to dig into the article properly but does that sound familiar?

Richard James III: I believe he does oppose it.

Yes. For good reason he opposes it largely because of the state-investor arbitration component I think.

Richard James III: This state-investor component gives corporations inordinate amounts of power in the countries they operate in, e.g. if a government passes laws to protect either labor or the environment and these laws hurt profit margins, for instance, a corporation can appeal to the TPP investor-state provision and actually sue a government.

This ostensibly means governments (nation states) do not actually have full sovereignty and power has shifted to these transnational companies. The state-investor arbitration disputes that do take place are largely overseen by the very lawyers who drafted them in the first place. Zero transparency. Quite shady really.

Jessica Clare: And so he opposes it on the grounds of…not wanting to give up that control to other nations big companies?

Richard James III: I should think so, yes. That’s why most people oppose it (or the educated).

The blue collar workers oppose it because agreements like the TPP do mean more jobs….just not in America.

Or Canada.

These agreements make it easier for jobs and factories and such to be moved to China, India, etc. In the 1990s when globalization was really coming into its own, national governments in America and Canada, etc. tied human rights, pensions, and such to allowing corporations to move to the Far East; however, over time those rights and pensions/benefits for Chinese workers are being ignored.

Apple is one of the worst violators, e.g. not giving workers pensions for creating their iCrap. This despite the fact workers are actually owed pensions by law/agreements. Those same workers are killing themselves due to terrible working conditions and exploitation. There are “suicide nets” installed on tall Apple factory buildings in Shanghai. It is a pretty messed up situation, really.

Richard James III: The only thing, in my honest opinion, keeping North America’s economy going is in fact deregulation and the extension of cheap credit.

We are meeting our material needs, and maintaining our standard of living, not through high paying jobs (those jobs in the manufacturing sector are largely gone) but through access to cheap credit. We are “pretending” in a sense that our economy is strong; it is not strong by many measures.

Richard James III:

clowns

Jessica Clare: And it’s amazing that that’s the case because we’ve already seen that facade collapse in recent history.

Richard James III: The 1920s.

This is regrettable, the Democrats losing, from an economic standpoint.

Clinton was on record saying she was going to bring back Glass-Steagall. This was the act FDR passed into law preventing stock brokers from being so free wheeling with the economy.

Bill Clinton repealed it back in the 1990s.

Wonder if Trump would re-introduce it….kinda doubt it.

Angelea Marie:

angelea

Richard James III: That a sweet potato?

Jessica Clare: Hahahaha that is MAGIC.

Angelea Marie: That is a sweet potato with Trump hair Lol.

Richard James III: How you find such an exquisite picture?

Angelea Marie: I made it Lol.

Richard James III: Heheheh. Thats a lot of effort. You and Alaine are meme creators.

Angelea Marie: It wasn’t too much effort. I’ve had a lot of practice with photoshop making derby posters and memes so I’m getting quicker.

Richard James III: You’ve found your calling.

Jess next time you come into town try to make time so we can get together for our “dinner” and a movie. *wink wink*

Angelea Marie: Lol I’m a Jill of all trades. Yes! That would be fun.

Look what I found at Value Village:

godnotgreat

Angelea Marie: it’s in my bathroom so all my guests can have something to read when they visit the can 😜😂

Angelea Marie:

mammoth

Richard James III: His autobiography is quite good. Hitchens. Not the mammoth’s.

Angelea Marie: They have a choice though, I’m not unreasonable. I’ll get around to my to-read list one day.. 😅

Richard James III: You read all the books I lent you yet?

Jessica Clare: Haha we’ll have to very expressly plan our “dinner and a movie” night. I’ll drive out for it, but it’ll have to be the main reason I’m driving.

Angelea Marie: *crickets*

Hence, I’ll get around to my to-read list one day.. 😳

Richard James III: Take care of my babies

Angelea Marie: They are on my bookshelf, scolding me daily for not having read them all yet.

Richard James III: 191 Clinton, 187 Chump.

Angelea Marie: Omfg.

Richard James III: Like little chicks

The books want their momma to puke/give them food. Feed them… Wow. On the news an African American pundit said something very powerful just now

Angelea Marie: Deets.

Richard James III: Trump’s support represents the last gasp of white supremacy in the United States.

Angelea Marie: I like it. Hopefully it cuts as close to the bone as it’s expressing.

Richard James III: Apparently Trump supporters believe Michelle Obama is a man. Hehe.

And the Obamas kidnapped their kids.

Duning-Kruger Effect much?

Angelea Marie: Brutal. People are stupid.

Jessica Clare: In fairness Michelle Obamas arms are friggin JACKED. They’re impressively and enviously masculine.

Richard James III: These are rumors being bandied about at Trump rallies.

Jessica Clare: Heh oh obviously! I’m just kidding around.

Richard James III: There are rumors Trump gropes beautiful women and….oh wait.

Angelea Marie: You should see my arms now, from working at the stables doing farm chores. It’s ridiculous!

Richard James III: Michelle Obama is a beautiful woman in every sense.

Angelea Marie: Class act.

Jessica Clare: Oh my god of course she is. She’s incredible.

Let’s be clear, I was totally kidding. I absolutely admire that woman. Beautiful inside and out.

Richard James III: No takie-backsies, Jess.

Jessica Clare: Now what scares me about that pundits comment is that this may be the “last grasps” of white supremacy….but it’s a tight grip now. Race relations are not going to calm in the states for a long time.

Richard James III: The Canada Immigration website just crashed apparently. Heheheh.

Jessica Clare: Hahaha oh my god it actually has.

Richard James III: No but the balance of power–in terms of demographics–is shifting inexorably in favor to non-whites or at least the historically marginalized.

Angelea Marie: No, it’ll take several years for this fall-out to settle. But the tide is definitely turning.

Richard James III: 2020. Next cycle.

Angelea Marie: White people aren’t going to calm their collective tits in a scant four years.

Richard James III: Dont need to. They won’t have the same bloc voting power is what I am saying.

Jessica Clare: Yeah I doubt they will…but in that time I suspect minority voters will activate more.

Richard James III: This will change the face of state legislatures and the fed.

Jessica Clare: Yeah? You thinking like district lines will get redrawn?

Richard James III: Gerrymandering?

I don’t know. I suspect so. The Supreme Court will become an obstructionist institution with a Trump presidency which means effective attempts at maintaining the status quo will be made.

Never understood why the Americans allowed their Judiciary to become affected by partisan politics; it should be politically neutral.

Jessica Clare: Oh absolutely it should….the extent of lobbyist influence in the entire system is mind-boggling.

10:26pm You named the conversation: P & E: Apocalypse 2016.

10:26pm You changed the conversation picture.

devilll

Richard James III: There are hundreds of lobbyists for every individual member of Congress.

Angelea Marie: Agreed. They need to start wearing suits like the NASCAR people.

Richard James III: Heh. I would support such a law.

Jessica Clare: Me too. Haha imagine it.

Nice group name change btw.

Richard James III: *curtsey*

curtsy even

Jessica Clare:

bluedress

Jessica Clare: Dat you

Richard James III: I embrace my femininity. But I would wear a blue dress. Blue is my color.

Jessica Clare: That is a blue dress!

Richard James III: The events of tonight remind me of a quote from Adolf Hitler. He hated democracy and observed why he hated it, i.e. winning elections was like moving a magnet over a dunghill to find what would stick.

Jessica Clare: Well it looks kinda periwinkle there…

Richard James III: That is a pink dress!

Jessica Clare: Are you colourblind?! Haha.

Richard James III: The magnet is the politician’s promise and whatever sticks to it are the pieces (voters) of dung which want those promises kept.

Periwinkle is not blue.

Jessica Clare: Jesus that’s a stark metaphor isn’t it?

And it’s closer to blue than pink, brah

Angelea Marie: It’s blue. Lol.

Richard James III: Actually periwinkle is part of the blue and violet family.

I am just as justified in saying it is purple-ish as you are saying it is blue.

Google it.

baha

Jessica Clare: Okay we’re totes say the same thing here re:colour.

Richard James III: Speak Engrish?

Jessica Clare: Haha my point is that dress ain’t pink.

Richard James III: Hey, wanna come to Japan?

*classic avoidance*

Jessica Clare: Bahaha umm maybe?

Richard James III: I am taking a group to Japan in July. I will stay away from Hiroshima though if Trump is president.

Someone get Alaine in here already.

Jessica Clare: Oh in July? Ain’t enough time to save for me. That’s a good idea though.

And right?? Is she still part of the group?

Richard James III: She doesn’t get notifications.

Jessica Clare: Ahhh so.

Richard James III: Washington went to Clinton (210), Iowa to Trump (228).

I am binge eating tonight with this whole election thing.

Jessica Clare: Oh yeah? What’s on the menu?

Richard James III: 5 pieces of pizza, bag of M and Ms, two cokes, box of cracker chips, and two bowls of mini wheats.

Jessica Clare: Holy monkeys you weren’t kidding!

Richard James III: to be fair I work out a lot so i need lotsa calories…but i could eat much better sources of energy to be sure.

Jessica Clare:

nomnomnom

Richard James III: hehehehe.

Jessica Clare: Haha hey man I ain’t judging. I do that sometimes and I definitely don’t work out like you:P

Richard James III: I ain’t judging.

Jessica Clare: I’m having chocolate tonight. And frankly I’m on the verge of regaining the classic “sqvishy radio announcer” body for a bit before I get used to early mornings again and can figure out an afternoon workout regimen of some kind.

So, may as well embrace it!

Jessica Clare:

chocolate

Richard James III: I wish you lived closer. We could be workout buddies every so often.

Jessica Clare: I would love that.

Richard James III: I am quite liking learning how to fight. Best cardio workouts ever and super low impact compared to running a 23 km Spartan Beast race up and down a mountain.

My toe nails are still black from the race I ran in early August.

I have to admit I am really disappointed but perhaps not surprised by this election.

This election was not a plebiscite on principles (“What kind of America do we want?”) but a mandate for Trump on job creation. Economics seems to “trump” everything–especially when the economy isn’t doing all that well for a significant segment of the American population.

Richard James III: Kind of an interesting development, really. Even white people on the left are changing patterns abit. They’re joining movements like Occupy and the people who typically belong to these protest movements against power–the poor, people of color–are now joined by economically dislocated whites who were born into the middle class but who cannot really expect to have the same standard of living as their parents given prevailing economic realities.

Richard James III: Here’s a curious thought: what kind of relationship will a Republican dominated Congress have with Trump? He isn’t really a Republican, not really.

Jessica Clare: That might be the thing I’m most interested to watch in the next while. Trump has consistently flaunted convention through his campaign. How far will he try to push the “conventions” (legalities) of the role of president? And how will other party members, legislators, congress etc react, and will they be able to reel him in to keep him operating within the legal confines of his role?

Richard James III: He cannot rule by fiat. The Constitution was designed to prevent such a thing from happening by incorporating checks and balances. The Senate provides a powerful counter-balance to the office of the president.

He’ll need to be able to build consensus. Curious if he’s capable of such a thing.

Jessica Clare: Exactly the question. I imagine he’ll try to avoid those checks and balances at least on occasion. I don’t think he considers himself a person who has to be responsible to anyone

Richard James III: He can’t “skip” or “avoid” them.

If America was like Colombia, sure. He could do it. There’s enough corruption and complicity and virtually zero civic virtue in that country.

But not really possible in America. Too many people genuinely love and believe in democracy (despite the lobbies).

I am confident the American government can survive a man with as big an ego as Trump.

Jessica Clare: I also am confident. I’ve been saying for some time I take comfort in thinking that if trump wins (and I’m going to bed soon thinking he’s got it), then it won’t be long before he’s in trouble, possibly facing impeachment for trying to skirt the system and getting called on it.

Richard James III: Getting into trouble.

Yeah, his temperament tends to mean trouble or controversy finds him.

Jessica Clare: Oh but he has the best temperament remember? 😛

Anyway I hate to say it but I’m outta gas. Gotta call it a night sadly

Richard James III: Okay, Gnite. I’ll man the wall. Natha daga thia!

Jessica Clare: And we may die as one of them whether we want to or not.

Richard James III: G’nite, Aragorn.

Errr, Legolas.

Oh wait, I’m Legolas.

Jessica Clare: Haha goodnight elf-man

Richard James III: Nite, home girl.

Angelea Marie: Missed quite a bit while I was getting things done around the house and ready for tomorrow! And alas, I too must call it a night.

Richard James III: Alas, fair thee well. I am the late night warrior.

Angelea Marie: Greet thee on the morn, late night warrior. Guard thy post.

Richard James III: I shalt to the death….or until sleep takes me…waiting on the final, final result.

I want to go to bed having truly earned my nightmares.

Angelea Marie: Lol then fight to the bitter end!

Richard James III: Anon and anon. Take thy face hence, you egg.

Angelea Marie

😂 good night, chicken leg.

Richard James III:

wine

Alaine Berjian:

alaine

Alaine Berjian: Ummm I went to bed at seven and I woke up to this.

Wtf guys 😭

Richard James III: Alaine!

The world ended.

Alaine Berjian: I’m super sick and this isn’t making me feel any better.

Richard James III: Step 1 to survive the next 24 hours

Alaine Berjian: Oh no!

Richard James III: 1). You need a young priest and an old priest.

2). Team up with people who are slower than you or bruise easily.

Alaine Berjian: Why??

Richard James III: The world ended. Trump won.

I am dying here and want to go to bed but want to know the final results.

Schadenfreude

Alaine Berjian: We don’t know yet. The dead people haven’t voted yet!!!

Richard James III: Good point. They’re an overlooked segment of the American polity. What did Trump promise them?

Alaine Berjian: There’s still a shred of hope that I’m going to cling to 😱

Richard James III: I think the keyword there is “shred”-ed.

Well I am heading to bed, Alaine. Watch the wall for me.

Alaine Berjian: Lmao will do

“And so my watch begins….”

12:18am

Richard James III: baha. night.

___________________________________________________

The conversation picks up again early the next day.

Jessica Clare: Welp, friends, it’s been a slice. I look forward to riding out the end of days with you.

Richard James III: Remember that podcast we shot on what we would do if the end was coming….? I’ma come visit you all one at a time.

Jessica Clare: Haha deal.

Angelea Marie: Guess we get to watch America burn.

Richard James III: Heh. It won’t be all that bad.

There will be some awesome meme creation over the next four years.

Jessica Clare: Heh. This is true.

You hear he’s been congratulated by Putin?

Haha that’s a great sign 😛

Richard James III: Alaine made an appearance last night btw.

*points at the corpse*