Monday, July 04, 2005

Monte, meet Straw Man

Monte Solberg is in Idaho Falls and he’s feeling patriotic.

Freedom, duty, democracy, honour. Wonderful words that pepper the airwaves this weekend. Words that are more than words. I say this knowing that there will be much eye rolling as I speak with any fondness at all about a country that Chesterton once described as the only country ever founded on a creed. The creed that asserts that we are all equally born with certain inalienable rights, and that among these rights are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The same Canadians who scoff at all of this as so much jingoism probably want to forget that the Canadian Charter was inspired by the US Declaration and their Bill of Rights. Stupid historical facts!
(full text here)

I move in leftie circles and know some anti-American Canadians. And I know NO ONE who talks about the US this way; who “scoff at this as so much jingoism.” What Canadians is he talking about? How about some names to back up these claims?

I like Americans. While I don’t always agree with their politics, I’ve always experienced Americans as kind, generous, and friendly. I love visiting the US and even considered moving there once when a parish came calling.

Of course, there are Canadians who define themselves by how not-American they are. Yes, there are some loony-lefties and right wing nuts who hate just about everything American. But on the whole, Canadians respect Americans as friends and neighbours, faults and all.

The problem with Monte is that, he and other folks in the CPC, mistake differences and critiques of American policy with anti-Americanism. Think about the charges of anti-Americanism that came from Conservatives when the gov’t decided not to join the war in Iraq. It was a principled stand in its own right. It wasn’t a shot at Americans. And I was glad when Chrétien announced that we weren’t participating.

So, friends sometimes disagree. And that’s okay.

[NB: I fixed the grammar typos, spelling errors, and cleaned up some of the writing]


Mike said...

Well said Kevin. It seems that this is a common problem with Monte in particular, but also with others that support the CPC. It is the same two-diminsional "you are with us or against us" meme that has infected US political thought of late. Imagine changing your mind when you encounter a good argument and fresh facts. yet this very behaviour was deeded "flip-flopping" by the US right and thus a liability!

And Monte wants to bring this kind of thinking here?

I hope most Canadians do what they normally do when they hear this kind of unfounded attack - smile, shake their head and move on.

Aaron Helleman said...

What Mike said.

I think we need to pressure Monte though, and make him identify 'those Canadians'.

Foolishness is best treated as such. Ignoring it sometimes gives it legitimacy.

Satire is especially an effective tool of the left, and it needs a resurgence. The 'angry left' isn't that appealing to those on the right, but the funny left, hey, that's cool!

Pointing out the illogic of that two dimentionality is important too.

Kevin said...

Mike, Yeah, the whole "flip-flopping thing." The biggest sin in American politics. Bizarre.

Aaron, There's the "angry left" and the "funny left" (Rick Mercer rocks!), but you forgot the "boring left." They're the ones who rattle off stat after stat while everyone's eyes glaze over.


Stephanie said...

The problem with Monte is that, he and other folks in the CPC, mistake differences and critiques of American policy with anti-Americanism.

It is a similar conflation of a peoples with a government that leads morons to accuse those who criticise Israeli government policies as "anti-semitic". By the same logic, if I criticise the policies of Gordon Campbell, then I must therefore hate all British Columbians...

Kevin said...




Psychols said...

Great post Kevin and a great title. Simplistic thinking is an inevitable part of political debate but Monte is an elected MP. If Monte considers disagreement with current US policy to be anti-americanism, I guess he'd agree that the millions of Americans who voted for Kerry are unpatriotic.