E-letter: Our good neighbour

0

A favourite Canadian axiom is, “When America sneezes, Canada gets the flu.” In this case, not only has America sneezed, it has caught Covid, AIDS, leprosy and genital warts while rioting stoned. This can’t be good.

Kerry Knudsen

There are a couple of huge points to ponder, relative to how business in the States may relate to business in Canada, especially since many of the current, extreme political positions in the States have become fully cross-border. 

For one, there is a mood of revenge and hatred visible from the Democrat side. This is no overstatement, from the woman that has the biggest teeth in Congressional history, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future?” From Joe Biden’s spokesman, Andrew Bates, “the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.” 

It’s early to talk about trespassers, but where is this coming from? It used to be that people could have political differences without resorting to violence, yet violence seems to be the new normal with the erstwhile party of peace. I recall Former President Barack Obama famously refusing to let Republicans debate the Affordable Care Act, dismissing their objections to his new idea of “process” by saying, “Elections have consequences,” soon followed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling Congress, “you have to pass it before you can see it.” And THAT was when the Democrats were in charge of both the House and Senate. 

Both Democracies in North America have a long history of fighting like hell until the election, then the losers admitting they have to wait for the next round and the winners recognizing there were, in this case, 70 million voters with families on the other side. It is the way self-governance works. 

I don’t think it’s good for Canada for a “winning” side in the States to spike the football into everybody’s groin, do a reflexive cage dance and burn a precinct. The “other side” has no such record of barbarism, and barbarism has a long record of poor performance once the looting is over. 

 

But there’s something more insidious. It is pervasive in the media, but let’s pick on Fox News, since they earned it. Fox (and the other media) have “called” the election. The got in the habit of this during past elections when the facts they were reporting actually converged with the results declared by the Electoral College. 

However, having Bret Baier “call” the election in the face of strong objections from one of the two opposing parties is tantamount to some drunken streaker calling a game in the face of the umpire. Journalists HAVE NO STANDING in calling elections. At best, journalists need to report the facts, and the FACTS are that the results are disputed, and the Electoral College will report the winner. In this case, the Electoral College may well report the winner after a ruling for two from the Supreme Court. 

The Electoral College in the States is a particularly important institution, embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Without getting too far off into the weeds, the framers of the Constitution were intent that a few, overpopulated urban centres could NOT decide the political future of the rest of the country, unimpeded. This is also the reason each state has two (2) Senators, each with equal power as any other Senator, while each state also has a number of Representatives, based on population. It was as important to the framers that the urban centres not be overruled on every issue as it was that the urban centres not run roughshod over every objection. 

This is not the first disputed Presidential election in the U.S. With luck it won’t be the last. This is the sausage-making that ends up with one of the finest societies ever to grace the face of the earth. Messy? Yup, but also generous, industrious, compassionate, courageous, and deliberative. They have been a good neighbour, and we should hope they stay that way, lest the next 200 years in North America resemble the last 200 in Europe. 

You have heard me upbraid the press more than a few times over the years. Two points on that: 1) I am qualified to critique the media, and 2) they have earned it. 

Journalists enjoy describing themselves as “the fourth estate,” the other three being the executive, judicial and legislative bodies described in the Constitution. In Britain, the monarch and the two houses of Parliament. However, self-describing one’s profession as equal to the elected government, has all the humility and gravitas these days as a selfie at a drunken 17-year-old’s pool party. All the fun is at somebody else’s expense. 

What Fox and the others have done is unconscionable. Fox is not elected. In fact, it’s not even journalism. If you read the thoughts of the framers, even way before the U.S. framers, free speech and freedom of the press attach to a person that has individual thoughts and ideas. Fox has neither. The corporate body has run off Shepard Smith, Gretchen Carlson, Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly, to name a few. So much for free speech. So much for independence. If you’re a “journalist” for Fox, or any of the other networks, for that matter, you are a slave to your contract and your coiffure, you are enamoured of your appearance and fans and you are a parasite on free expression. 

 

This is the very reason so many Canadians are irked with CBC, but can’t say why. I had a CBC reporter call me once on a story I had done and ask me who I thought they should focus on as the “problem.” I said I thought CBC was the problem. She hung up. 

But CBC and all government- and corporation-run agglomerators are THE problem. Individual rights apply to individuals. You cannot trust a government or a corporation to make a moral decision or report the truth if it hurts them. Trust me.