The LA Times Op Ed

Screenshot of the LA Times Opinion page at Midnight
Right on sched­ule (at about mid­night, PST), the LA Times put up my Op Ed. It’s a pret­ty dull head­line (In fact, it reminds me of some of those you see in The Onion, like Local Man Inspires 14th Off­beat News Sto­ry ) The title I had writ­ten as a slug was The Coun­try is Always Bluer on the Oth­er Side. Yeah, I know, too ‘clever’.

I was told that it was also picked up on the LA Times Wire, and have since found out that it has appeared on one of my favourite lib­er­al news aggre­ga­tors, Com­mon Dreams. Holy cow! 4th from the top this morn­ing, 2 away from (Oh crap!) Ralph Where-the-whole-mess-start­ed Nader.

So, with­out fur­ther ado, I post it here, for that day when it scrolls off the cur­rent news and I may want to refer to it:

Dems in Con­trol? We’re Still Stay­ing in Canada
by David Drucker

My wife and I awoke, as usu­al, to NPR. Before polit­i­cal cor­re­spon­dent Mara Lias­son got to the end of her first sen­tence, I knew the news was dis­as­trous. George W. Bush had been reelected.

“Hon­ey,” I said, “remem­ber when we talked about mov­ing to Canada?”

I’m sure a lot of oth­er dyed-in-the-organ­ic-wool lib­er­als mut­tered some­thing sim­i­lar that dark morn­ing in 2004, but unlike most of them, we meant it. Plan A: John Ker­ry wins, we build that dream ski house in Ver­mont. Plan B: Move to Van­cou­ver, Canada.

So, Plan B it was. We’d had enough of Bush, the direc­tion the Unit­ed States was going, and this was the last straw. Nev­er mind that we lived in Cam­bridge, Mass., arguably the most lib­er­al city in the bluest of the blue states. We were pack­ing our bulk gra­nola into our diesel Bee­tle and head­ing out.

Eight months lat­er, we were set­tling into a new home and jobs in British Colum­bia, when Cana­da had its own elec­tion. For those unfa­mil­iar with the Cana­di­an sys­tem of gov­ern­ment, the prime min­is­ter is elect­ed by par­lia­ment — not every four years but after los­ing a no-con­fi­dence vote. After a few of those there was a par­lia­men­tary elec­tion in Jan­u­ary, which led to the elec­tion of a new prime min­is­ter, Stephen Harp­er, of Canada’s Con­ser­v­a­tive Party.

Harp­er ran on cut­ting tax­es and turn­ing a fed­er­al child-care pro­gram into a month­ly pay­ment per child. The oppo­si­tion’s neg­a­tive cam­paign ads sound­ed eeri­ly famil­iar: He sup­port­ed Bush’s war in Iraq, was against sign­ing the Kyoto envi­ron­men­tal accord and want­ed to “reex­am­ine” gay mar­riage (which is legal in Cana­da). A shiv­er rip­pled down from our berets to our Birkenstocks.

Then, a few weeks ago, we awoke, as usu­al, to the Cana­di­an Broad­cast­ing Corp. Before CBC morn­ing show host Tom Allen got to the end of his first sen­tence, I knew: Back in the Unit­ed States, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty had won con­trol of the House and the Senate.

“Hon­ey, did we make a big mistake?”

By “big mis­take,” I mean, not the kind in which you switch lines at Whole Foods and the line you’d been in sud­den­ly starts to move. We’re talk­ing big mis­take like sell­ing all of your stock in Ben & Jer­ry’s the day before Unilever buys the company.

But it turns out that Cana­di­an con­ser­vatism can look awful­ly lib­er­al. So far, Harp­er — derid­ed as “Bush lite” — has, for instance, intro­duced a par­tial tax cred­it for month­ly tran­sit pass­es. The Con­ser­v­a­tives have pro­posed a Clean Air Act for Cana­da, and although it’s not ide­al, it’s still some­thing. Harp­er said that these new laws would “insti­tute a holis­tic approach that does­n’t treat the relat­ed issues of pol­lu­tants and green­house gas emis­sions in iso­la­tion.” When was the last time you heard any U.S. politi­cian utter the word “holis­tic”?

Did I men­tion uni­ver­sal health­care? Even Harp­er seems com­mit­ted to keep­ing that.

We’ve come to the con­clu­sion that the Unit­ed States has drift­ed so far to the right that any self-respect­ing Cana­di­an Con­ser­v­a­tive would be con­sid­ered a rav­ing lib­er­al in Wash­ing­ton. Stephen Harp­er is no George W. Bush. We may not agree with him, but we don’t feel ashamed every time he opens his mouth. We might yawn, though.

So we’re stay­ing in Cana­da. But good luck with that new Con­gress, eh?

They cut a few items here and there, includ­ing a ‘cheap shot’ accord­ing to one edi­tor, that I took at Bush.

In the inter­est of full dis­clo­sure, we did, in fact, leave Boston in a Diesel Bee­tle, but there was­n’t any bulk gra­nola in it (but we have been known to eat, and even make gra­nola. Seri­ous­ly, if you’ve nev­er made it from scratch, it’s worth a try, at least once.) We sold the car and dropped it off in Wash­ing­ton D.C. . While Pam has been known to wear a beret (and Birken­stocks), I don’t own any (with these odd­ly shaped feet, fugged­aboutit!). We do lis­ten to Tom Allen, the host of Music and Com­pa­ny, but I can’t remem­ber if it was he or Judy Mad­dren in the World Report on the hour that had the news. I guess I just want­ed to give a plug to Allen, since I’m a huge fan of his show and him. Final­ly, I make no claims about get­ting the whole Cana­di­an par­lia­men­tary sys­tem and elec­tion process 100% right. We’ve only been here a rel­a­tive­ly short time and I’m only just start­ing to learn how it all works. I’ll get it down even­tu­al­ly, in prepa­ra­tion for citizenship.

10 Replies to “The LA Times Op Ed”

  1. Hi,

    I just read your piece on Com­mon Dreams and had to write. My wife and I left the US for Nicaragua after the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. We could no longer stom­ach was is hap­pen­ing to our beloved country.

    Though the Dems have pow­er now, most of them have been com­plic­it in the events of the past six years. I expect only a slight mod­er­a­tion of the cur­rent Theoc­ra­ti­za­tion and vio­lent agres­sive­ness of the USA.

    We grew up in Ver­mont, dur­ing the days of the com­munes and the “back to the land” move­ment, there­fore the peace sign and tie dye are in our ear­li­est mem­o­ries. That back­ground taught us to want peace and dis­course rather than war and arrogance.

    Many peo­ple are leav­ing the US. We meet them every day. It would be inter­est­ing to quan­ti­fy that movement. 

    Rob Thomas

  2. Thanks, Robert! Say, I’ll bet you read it in Japan! 

    If so, that would be the far­thest my words met eyes. Cool.

    On the oth­er hand, if you’re back in town, hope to see you soon and get caught up.

  3. You bet, I did see it here in Japan! Will be back for the hol­i­days and look for­ward to catch­ing up. Hope you enjoyed the pheas­ant and that snow set­tles a bit before I return!

  4. Hi Pete -
    Thanks for the compliment.

    BTW, I give you cred­it for rec­og­niz­ing the humour (I guess I have to spell it Cana­di­an style now). You’d be sur­prised how many peo­ple think we actu­al­ly shov­eled oats and nuts into our VW. It makes one’s head spin.

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