Election 2015, The Shame Of It All
Watching the Canadian federal election debates is a primer in nostalgia politics. In their turns, Thomas Mulcair, Boy King Trudeau and (in the French debate) Elizabeth (3%) May lament the fall of Canada’s traditional image in the world. A tragic turn, they lament, a calamity of international disappointment precipitated by Stephen Harper.
Citing research (as yet unpublished) on attitudes in the Balkans, French Polynesia and Equatorial Guinea toward Canada, we learn that Canada’s reputation as a noble, compassionate nation is now in tatters. In Boy Trudeau’s Gatling-gun delivery, the government’s refusal to bend to the UN secretary general’s dictates has made us a travishamockery in the league of nations. See if Robert Redford ever comes here again.
This is always a rich vein to mine In Canadian politics. In a land that thinks Lester Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday, lamenting Canada’s fallen status is considered a political kill shot by the media.
The fact that no one abroad can find the joint on the map nor name our PM is irrelevant to those in the nation whose proudest boast is “citizen of the world” (till they need health care when they scuttle back chez nous.) In their view, Canada is a film studio that’s not making the snappy cinema of woe and despond that brought us renown under M. Trudeau pere. Mr. Harper is like some Tyler Perry shambles we’ve foisted on the world.
With his rictus smile, Harper persists against the shaming. While Harper’s record is something less than impeccable (the Tory ads admit he’s got his faults but he runs a boffo economy), it’s hard to square this with the cultural Quisling painted by Trudeau’s jabbing finger and downcast gaze.
From the environment to law ’n order, we can’t hear enough bad stuff about ourselves. But that’s the way we roll in a nation whose motto might well be, “I’m sorry”. Watching this all, it struck me that the greatest Canadian politician of all time might have been Barack Obama, had he been born in Canada not Kenya. (What’s that? He was born in the U.S.? Sorry.)
Obie Wan Ke-know-it-all has perfected the art of the cultural mea culpa in a way Canadians can only envy. And it wouldn’t be such a large leap for him to turn his Humiliation Tour northward when his Washington term ends in early 2017. (After all, Obama’s many breathless fans in the Canadian media have already anointed him the smartest man to ever live in the White House.)
Since he became president in 2009, Obama has issued a steady stream of apologies for America’s behaviors in becoming the world super power. From Chicago to Cairo to Copenhagen, he’s groveled for American hubris. Obama is the god-made-man for the segment of America that lives to apologize for its past indiscretions.
Obama and the Bernie Sanders Phenomenon see the 250 years of America’s history as an irredeemable banquet of stolen goods. All gains are ill-gotten and every step up was on the back of some poor brute. As his wife so pithily proclaimed upon her husband’s ascension to the throne… er, winning the White House, “"[F]or the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” Gee, how modest of you, Michelle.
Forget that the world is trying, by means legal or otherwise, to get a piece of this melancholy national story. In the worldview of POTUS 44, it is fashionable to lament, chic to regret, au courant to cast the first stone at one’s fellow American.
Much of this has to do with the Left’s losing streak in world politics, a streak that started with backing the Russian socialist dalliance and that manifests itself today in its crush on Venezuela, the land of hyper inflation and political imprisonment. Like the bettor in Vegas who always backs the underdog, the Left keeps putting its chips on losers.
So, if they cannot topple the capitalist edifice outright best for progressive scolds to be termites chewing away at the foundation. A look at the contemporary campus climate and the entertainment business reveals many busy workers seeking to grind U.S. history into dust by exposing sins of the past.
And while it’s admirable to feel for your fellow human, when empathy renders you incapable of any action it has passed the point of purpose. Which was fully on display this past week as Obama the Admonisher lectured the UN about the arc of history while Russian president Vladimir Putin ate his lunch in Syria.
As Obama’s fantastic foreign policy demonstrates, earnestly making square with the past is no bulwark against the future. His polling numbers have been under water for much of his administration and there’s no assurance even a Democratic successor can keep the self abnegation game going.
Unless, of course, he wants to head north to Canada in 18 months. Where his act still plays to sellout audiences waiting to hear the worst about themselves.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy #TheUsualSuspects