Fear and Loathing in Harper’s Canada

Hopefully it’s not too late to keep us from becoming like “Merica”
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015

Is this what it’s come down to? We’re all so paranoid, so afraid of anything we don’t recognize, don’t understand, or that’s different, that we’re ready to call the police and cry out “terrorist plot!!” at the drop of a hijab? How sad is that.

By now you’ve probably heard the recent news of that clever & inventive 14 year old Texas boy who was arrested at his school for bringing a home-made digital clock to class as part of a science project. News of this outrageous incident has gone viral. By all accounts he was quite proud of his hand-crafted device, and was eager to show it to his teacher. But some doofus at the school thought it looked liked one of those hokey movie time-bombs and freaked, called the police, and had the young lad arrested, cuffed, finger-printed, and hauled off to a lockup detention centre. Why? Because his name is Ahmed and he’s a muslim.  So I guess he must have been a no-good terrorist, right? Well, maybe by Texas standards.

Look, I get it. The world changed dramatically on 9/11. But instead of doing everything possible to restore calm and confidence, the US has become a trigger-happy battle ground where every little movement in the shadows is interpreted as a terrorist plot, a threat to freedom, and an attack on personal safety and the American way of life. And it seems as if anyone of arabic descent is suspect.

At least that’s what some people, especially ignorant Texans, seem to believe. I mean, give me a break. Texas is fast becoming a laughing stock. Their over-the-top reactions to every little incident is making them look like paranoid buffoons. I truly feel sorry for sane, rational, compassionate Texans who get grouped in with these ignorant, redneck, “if it ain’t American and Republican then it’s evil & weird and deserves to die” extremists who share the state with them. All I can suggest to those good folks is, maybe, move away. But then again, I do hear it’s beautiful there, and they probably do have some good, decent neighbours, so never mind. But they have my sympathies.

I think most rational thinkers had hoped that the election of Barack Obama a few years back would usher in a kinder, gentler era that would cultivate a more accepting and tolerant national attitude towards people of every ethnicity and colour. Instead, it seems to have fostered an even more heightened sense of paranoia in those who suspect there’s an anti-American terrorist plot behind climate change science, medicare, deescalation of military hostilities, international diplomacy, gun control, social welfare spending… and intelligent school children. Obama’s two terms in office have regrettably coincided with an increase in assaults by police officers on innocent people of colour, cases of unprovoked rage and prejudice like that brought against our young public-school inventor, and mass shootings of innocents by outraged and deranged white supremacists. Fear has prompted an increasingly extremist social backlash of violence and hatred. Oh sure, Obama has done his best to calm these waters. But those in power who prosper from fear and hate, have done everything they can to drown out his message with their fear-mongering rhetoric. Plus, the America that Obama inherited from the hawkish Bush Jr. Administration was quite simply a psychotic, trigger-happy, mine field. Obama’s best efforts, no matter how well-intentioned, were doomed from the get-go.

Now normally, I wouldn’t be too overly concerned about how ‘Merica” manages its crazy affairs. They are, after all, a nation that opens each day with a national anthem that glorifies war. And look who’s the Republican front-runner for their 2016 federal election. So what can you expect? But this attitude of “keep the masses under control by keeping them in a constant state of fear” is the exact same philosophy that our own Prime Minister Harper has been following. Fear climate change warnings, he says. Fear the Kyoto agreement. Fear those know-nothing scientists who lie to you about climate change and the environment (especially folk-singing scientists who study bird migrations and feel that Harper’s time in office has over-stayed its welcome). Fear terrorists. Fear socialism. Above all fear democracy. Fear all those suspicious Syrian refugees. And fear those who are against going to war with Syria. Fear transparency. Fear the compulsory long-form census. Fear Justin Trudeau (because he’s just not ready). Fear anyone who says the tar sands are bad for the environment. Fear gun control. Fear all those needy aging and ailing veterans. Fear anyone who feels that Canadian soldiers should go back to being peacekeepers. Fear those pinko, liberal teachers. Fear the pinko, liberal media, especially the CBC. Fear your pinko, liberal parents. Fear your Provincial legislators, especially if they’re not Conservatives (meaning they’re pinko liberals). And most definitely fear all those who are not old-stock Canadians.

Yup. Harper is all about keeping us in a constant state of fear, just like his American Republican idols. And, of course, he portrays himself as the only leader who can manage all these issues and save us from these dastardly things we need to fear.

Come on, Canada. Before we become even more like those paranoid Americans, let’s bring some kindness and gentleness back to our nation. Let’s start mending fences instead of building walls. Let’s start treating others with compassion and tolerance instead of suspicion and paranoia. Let’s start sharing more love and laughter with each other instead of insults and anger. Let’s do like that “Harperman” song says, and vote someone into office who will treat us with respect instead of disdain. A leader we can once again be proud of, instead of having to apologize for. A leader who will help restore Canada’s international image as a kind, fair, and giving nation. And especially a leader who will restore and respect the rules and spirit of our once-treasured, and once world-envied, Canadian democracy.

I’m just sayin’.