Alberta Politics
Old Glory, perhaps a little less glorious in the eyes of the world this Fourth of July (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Fourth of July Fever: Pay attention when your neighbour has a breakdown; it may be contagious

Posted on July 04, 2020, 3:02 am
6 mins

Happy Fourth of July.

It’s Independence Day at the crazy neighbour’s place next door and the crowds are partying without masks.

How the world sees Donald Trump, as a fire gremlin (Image: Der Spiegel).

We can’t very well send fire trucks to help put the fires out because the borders are closed. It’s just as well, too, because the virus seems to be creeping across the line in our direction, and I’m not just talking about SARS-CoV-2.

So what do you do when the monolithic cultural exemplar that you’ve collectively admired, imitated and feared for most of a century and a half has an existential crisis and starts to rip apart at the seams?

What you do is, don’t ignore it!

Indeed, the last time the neighbours had an existential crisis we came up with that thing called Confederation to preserve a patch of sanity on the top half of the continent.

So pay attention when your local crazies start exhibiting the same symptoms as our American Cousins! You wouldn’t ignore it if they started to complain about a dry cough and a sore throat as soon as they got back from Arizona, would you?

Yesterday, it sounds very much as if one of our homegrown lunatics with numerous firearms, QAnon ringing in his ears, and some kind of a plan crashed his truck though the gate outside our prime minister’s temporary residence.

Mental illness can happen in any family, of course. The disturbing part is what some of our other Canadian brothers and sisters have been saying, especially in this corner of the country. Just take a look at the comments on social media and you’ll see that this appears to be a highly contagious condition, and one that can’t be fixed just by shutting down a few border posts for a couple more months.

Abraham Lincoln in February 1865 (Photo: Library of Congress).

The situation yesterday suggests our police and intelligence agencies might more profitably keep an eye on the foreign-influenced loony local right than supposedly foreign-funded environmentalists who only present a political threat of the sort that’s supposed to able to be sorted out in the marketplace of ideas.

Well, at least one thing suggests a remaining difference between our two countries: The Mounties on guard at Rideau Hall didn’t just blow the poor nut away on the spot.

Meanwhile, south of the Medicine Line, the national holiday today sure looks as if it won’t be a particularly happy one for our cousins.

Their president is not just unsuited to the job, he’s obviously dangerously mentally unstable. The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the country harder than any other country on the planet, including many in the so-called Third Word. That’s partly the result the fractured, extremely expensive and largely private U.S. health care system — the same one our own ideologically deranged right would like to import across the temporarily closed border. The streets of America are not aflame tonight, but they were a few days ago and may soon be again.

As Roger Cohen observed in the New York Times yesterday, as the world looks on aghast, “once saviors, long allies, Americans are now lepers from the Land of the Crazed.”

The Trump White House in 2018 (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Don’t be smug, fellow Canadians. Even if we keep our own lunatics in check, as any seasoned traveller knows there are lots of good people on this planet can’t tell the difference between Americans and Canadians and don’t have the patience to stick around for an explanation.

So it matters for more than just economic and medical reasons that our neighbours somehow manage to recover their sanity in the next few months, which isn’t going to be easy with a man in the White House Der Spiegel rightly characterized last month as a “fire gremlin.”

Certainly, from the perspective north of the 49th Parallel, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are starting to look a lot less appealing as a national ideal than the peace, order and good government we Canadians signed on for in 1867.

Still, if you’re starting to wonder if the United States can survive this mess, it probably can, and might even emerge from the flames a better place.

Granted, the last time the country had an existential crisis, a far better man was at the helm.

Still, as Abraham Lincoln himself is said to have observed, quoting his secretary of State, William Henry Seward, toward the end of the Civil War: “There was always just enough virtue in this Republic to save it; sometimes none to spare, but still enough to meet the emergency.”

17 Comments to: Fourth of July Fever: Pay attention when your neighbour has a breakdown; it may be contagious

  1. Abs

    July 4th, 2020

    The trouble with all the dog whistles certain politicians are fond of using is that the dogs might respond, and the dogs might have rabies. They will never take responsibility because they are too immature and ego-based to behave like grown-ups,. This frat-boy game they’re playing has serious consequences. How long before the next one? How long before it doesn’t end like this?

    The problem with imitating a lunatic is that after a while the lines blur. This is where we are now.

    Reply
  2. Athabascan

    July 4th, 2020

    The lesson is clear for any correct-thinking Canadians:

    Resist any and all CPC (aka Canadian Republicans) politics that would have us move closer to adopting American -like policies. Resist all efforts to privatize public good.

    Shun anything that Sheer, Ford, Moe, and kenney say and do, because our lives depend on it.

    Reply
    • Hana Razga

      July 4th, 2020

      “Shun anything that Sheer, Ford, Moe, and kenney say and do, because our lives depend on it……”

      Don’t forget who the puppet master is behind the scene.

      Reply
    • Mike in Edmonton

      July 4th, 2020

      Sadly, the noisy ones in Oilberduh and Saskatchewan have proven they’re not “correct-thinking” about much of anything.

      Reply
    • Peter

      July 4th, 2020

      Remember harper is driving the bus and getting paid by kenney to do so. Research the International Democrat Union, the global club for Conservative word domination. steve runs that too.

      Reply
      • Bruce

        July 6th, 2020

        These guys operate from the IDU playbook.
        I am never surprised by what they attempt!

        Reply
  3. TENET

    July 4th, 2020

    Ominous! The Hinterland/Metropolis divide is so obvious. Our work takes us from Hillbilly country to Edmonton City almost daily. Hillbillies wear Caps but very few masks. A huge proportion of city-dwellers wear masks.

    Reply
  4. Sam Gunsch

    July 4th, 2020

    Regarding Canada’s homegrown & Alberta led Wexit contagion, some polling today.

    Kenney happily whipped up separation fears to pound on feds, and now his recent efforts to dampen it down not having much impact.

    EXCERPT: ‘• 11% think it is a good idea for Alberta to separate, another 26% could live with it, while 63% say terrible.

    In Alberta, 20% like the idea, 26% could live with it, and 54% say it’s a terrible idea. Federal Conservative voters are 10-points more open to or supportive of the idea.’

    https://abacusdata.ca/wexit-polling-divide-conservatives/

    Reply
    • Mike in Edmonton

      July 4th, 2020

      Important confirmation of what sensible people already knew–the “Wexit” crowd isn’t much of a crowd at all.

      For the 1-in-10 who want to leave, I’d say: The US is due south. Put on your MAGA hat, ask the border guard when’s the next Trump rally, and tell him you’re a political refugee. Why? “Those damn Liberals are being mean to me! They banned assault rifles! They even have socialized medicine!!! My God, you GOTTA let me in!!!”

      For the 63% who can think rationally, remember–there’s hope. You may not agree with the NDP platform (when they eventually announce it) but if you can’t vote FOR Rachel, you can sure vote AGAINST Lord Jason. Meanwhile, we have to tell Jason when he’s wrong, and tell Rachel what we need to put things right. For example:
      – Reverse Jason’s corporate tax cuts. Ignore the howls from CEOs (see advice to Wexiters, above).
      – Offer retraining to victims of oil-company layoffs, preferably something close to their original jobs, e.g. capping abandoned wells for guys who used to drill new ones.
      – Restart and expand the energy-efficiency programs for commercial buildings with tax-based incentives (e.g. discounts on property tax?) based on extent of refit– let’s try +20% for NO refit, -5% for LEED Silver, -10% for LEED Gold, -20% for LEED Platinum.
      – Seriously consider long-term investments in oil and gas–i.e. whether to make any at all. Carbon capture and storage is probably a non-starter due to cost. Further expansion of bitumen extraction is NOT viable, it’ll lock us into at best 50 more years of corporate welfare. At worst, Alberta will be stuck with the bills when Big Oil abandons bitumen extraction. Remember the multinationals left Alberta tar sands behind several years ago.
      – Alternative energy might be the one bright spot. Alberta has some companies already doing wind, solar and geothermal. This may be Alberta’s best-kept secret. Expansion could provide jobs for those guys laid off by oil companies.

      Any other ideas? Let’s send ’em to Rachel.

      Reply
  5. Jerrymacgp

    July 4th, 2020

    You know, for all their fandom for all things American, I wonder if all the Trudeau-Notley haters out there would be interested in Canada adopting an equivalent to US Code Title 18, Sect. 871, which makes it unlawful to “knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect… “, an offence punishable by steep fines &/or up to five years’ imprisonment. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/871

    Imagine if these cowboys & rednecks displaying open threats of bodily harm to our current PM, or former Premier, had gotten a knock on the door by well-dressed feds with those cool little coiled ear buds & been taken into custody for questioning? Imagine if they tried the same stunts south of the “Medicine Line” & came to the attention of the US Secret Service?

    Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      July 5th, 2020

      Does this mean it is legal to use the postal service to make a threat against ordinary people?

      Reply
  6. Ron

    July 4th, 2020

    “The Mounties on guard at Rideau Hall didn’t just blow the poor nut away on the spot.”

    I am sure they were focusing on the ‘content of his character, not the colour of his skin’.

    Reply
  7. Dave in Sask

    July 4th, 2020

    The 18th amendment to the US constitution was designed to keep the common people from electing one of their own. But in 2016 it worked to keep Hilary Clinton who won the popular vote by 3 million votes from being President. Because Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by small margins he got all those states electoral votes and was elected by the electoral college to be President.

    So the electoral college worked to keep the popular vote winner out and put Trump in.

    I believe Trump won because he pretended to be on the working class side. But once in power he abandoned them for the billionaire class that both Republicans and Democrats have favoured for the last 50 years.

    Now the working class not only has no one on its side in government and the whole country has a mentally ill President. So the disease I’d catching on north of the 49th. What if he hadn’t been caught by the RCMP who this time had the good sense not to shoot him. In the US he would have been killed on the spot so the government could control the story. As it is we may learn the real facts because the intruder is alive to tell it himself.

    Just what is it that the US is independent of now?

    Reply
    • Murphy

      July 4th, 2020

      Drumpf won because he was given more media coverage, of every sort, than any other candidate in a society with a failed public eduation system and resultant permanent , underclass, that is dominated by the mass control techniques developed by Edward Bernays, Ivy Lee and Walter Lippmann, techniques which have been honed for seventy years by the Central Intelligence Agency. They installed a weak “strongman” in their own country, just as they do in countless failed states across the globe.

      Reply
    • Peter

      July 4th, 2020

      Some, not without justification, are identifying the Parliament Hill knob’s transfer into custody as nothing more than white privilege. This in contrast to recent arrests by police whose video appear to show excessive police response.

      Reply
  8. Murphy

    July 4th, 2020

    The shennanigans in the US do not pose the worst existential crisis faced by the debauched hegemon. The race riots in the Red Summer of 1919 far exceeded the current round of distractions in terms of political depth, ferocity and bloodshed. Likewise the riots in the ’60s were of much greater significance with regard to posing a threat to the existing socio-economic structures. Drumpf was installed to be removed, like Saddam Hussein or Noriega, and the intelligence folks are very much at ease with what is going on at this juncture.
    https://www.nytimes.com/1919/10/05/archives/for-action-on-race-riot-peril-radical-propaganda-among-negroes.html
    https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/watts-rebellion-los-angeles
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html

    A principle difference between then and now is that there is no political leadership of any kind in the economic underclass. The FBI, the great heroes who caught Hannibal Lecter, allied with military intelligence and organized crime, assassinated or exiled the leadership of the underclass, an underclass in which Americans descended from slaves brought from Africa, make up a significant portion. Fred Hampton was drugged and blown to pieces while asleep in his bed. MLK was murdered by organized crime figures in a complex operation set up by Army Intelligence. Likewise Malcolm X was killed in an assassination linked to federal law enforcement. BLM is funded by billionnaires, you know, those people for whom the FBI and the US military industrial complex are hired guns. Their “leadership” comes from the FRSO which oversees groups that are directly funded by people like Soros and the Ford Foundation. The ubiquitous logical fallacy “conspiracy theory” is now used as a substitute for analysis of the role of the billionaire class in manipulating political unrest in every part of the globe that is subject to the US hybrid war against China and any potential allies.
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/nothing-but-a-northern-ly_b_355670
    https://frso.org/statements/the-time-is-now-to-join-a-revolutionary-organization-join-freedom-road-socialist-organization/
    https://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-ocasio-cortez-tlaib-Democratic-Socialists-state-level.html

    The same people behind the destruction of Yugoslavia, you might remember that diverse non-speculative financier-owned state whose violent demolition was enthusiastically embraced by good ol’ progressive Canada, are up to their eyeballs in BLM, even supplying the trademark neoliberal fist logo that i saw spraypainted on a utility box a block from my home last week.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2000/12/11/us-advice-guided-milosevic-opposition/ba9e87e5-bdca-45dc-8aad-da6571e89448/

    This flabby peddlar-cum-Rambo who set out to do whatever it was that he intended to do to Li’l Magus is not the product of US kookiness. He’s exactly what you get in a place like Canada that gaslights it’s population with a mishmash of progressive garbage while simultaneously pushing the cult of entrepreneurism, predatory speculative finance and fealty to the militarist imperial metropole. Li’l Magus failed to get the Security Council seat because Venezuelans and supporters of that actual defiance of the US psychopathy, teamed up to sink the Canadian comprador movement. The only thing keeping Canada under control currently is the fact that our only permanent underclass has been made up of dislocated indigenous people, but the widening inequality, dumbing down of the population and complete alienation from the farcical concepts hawked by the “progressive” element in our society will produce that kind of chaos sooner or later.

    The only real resistance, whether conscious or not, is the doffing of the absurd Chupacabra masks in the face of incontrovertible evidence that the “pandemic” bears no resemblance to the marauding scourge created by the nexus of intelligence agencies, global financiers and the degnerate corporate and state media complex.

    Reply
  9. Dave

    July 5th, 2020

    I suppose it is one of the questions for our times – Is crazy contagious? I wish the answer would be a straightforward no, but I suspect the real answer is much more complicated than that.

    On the one hand Canada does have a different history, somewhat different traditions and institutions than the US. For the most part, Canadians look at the current state of the US with some degree of horror and sadness (we thought they were a bit better than that), much as we might a family member or friend who is having a some sort mental health crisis. I suspect we would also like to try be supportive, although not sure how to help or if we can, while trying not to get dragged into the quagmire ourselves.

    However, we do not live in a vacuum and there are also some people in Canada, for whatever reasons, who admire the current leadership in the US. The chaos caused by the current leadership of the US inevitably extends beyond its borders because it is a world power, whose actions have an impact on many other countries, including us.

    Two good examples of this: At the end of the previous G7 summit hosted by Canada, the US President took offense to some remarks our Prime Minister made and went off on a rant against him. As much as we might want to only say non confrontational things and speak in a calm non threatening voice, there is no telling what might set a mad man off. More recently, the US has decided that despite the recent Canada-US-Mexico trade agreement (which we worked so hard to get as insurance against this type of mad man behavior) that it is still not happy about some trade issues and it is again threatening our aluminum industry. The obvious conclusion – as long as the madman and the madness is loose, no one is safe, but we probably knew that already anyways.

    I suspect that for the most part, Canada will insulate itself as much as possible from the insanity currently rolling over the US, but we also have to brace ourselves for some spill over. Of course, insanity is not necessarily a permanent or unmanageable condition, so we can also hope the US will recover its senses and eventually get back to a more stable condition, something I hope will happen soon. There are hopeful signs that the Trump spell on his country is waning and that enough people there are waking up to the reality of the situation.

    Reply

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