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. 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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