The Plague-Ground – I am a Marxist Liberal Activist

There are certain life-changing events you can get a heads-up on: graduation, marriage, kids, divorce, bankruptcy, and very often, even death.

But others just sneak up on you, and ……pow!

Not only is your life different from that minute forward,  your view of life is changed forever.

This happened to me last night when I tuned in to the Republican Convention.

I learned that I’m a socialist, a radical and weak on crime. I’m in favour of higher taxes, defunding the police, opening borders and appeasing communist dictators.

Worst of all, I learned I’m a member of the cosmopolitan elite.


True, like four out of five Canadians, I live in a city. True, that city happens to be bigger than Chicago. But true also, Toronto is much more cosmopolitan – which means “including people from many different countries” – than any American city, except Miami.  In fact, one out of two citizens in Toronto were not just born somewhere else; they were born in a different country.

So yes, I’m a cosmopolitan, and given the Trumps’ definition of an elite as any group of people they don’t much like, I’m a proud member of the cosmopolitan elite.

It seems I’m also a lover of socialized medicine. I’m certainly a big user of it. So, guilty as charged. But that phrase “socialized medicine” is not new, nor the property of Donald Trump and his followers.

Thirty years ago, Jean and I were hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to West Virginia. Once a week we’d come down from the mountain ridge, stick out our thumbs and hitch-hike into the nearest backroads town for food and supplies. We quickly learned to assess our chances of being murdered by the person who gave us a lift, which was invariably in a beaten-up old semi with a Confederate flag in the back window and a rifle nestled below.

We learned to start talking with the driver and to utter three keywords as fast as we could: “Canadians,” “writer” and “doctor.” Upon hearing this last word, the guy driving in the front seat would invariably yell out: “Socialized Medicine!”

This was in 1990 in the least cosmopolitan part of America whose people were part of few elites. How did these Appalachians even learn that phrase? In school? In church? In civics class? Is it in the water down there?

I’m still baffled about the source. But there are few things in Trumpworld that are more despised than what, if you’re a Canadian, we generally revere.

Frankly, the opening night of the Republican Convention scared the hell out of me. What with Kimberley Guilfoyle, Donald Trump’s girlfriend, SCREAMING AT US! and the creepy, gun-toting, rich, white couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey,  who threatened a parade of Black Lives Matter protesters and referred repeatedly in their 4-minute speech to the “Marxist Liberal Activists” infecting American, well, it moved from a distant diverting circus to a chapter of Brave New World.

Perhaps the Republicans will come up with a new soundbite for their campaign, to take the place of Make America Great Again.

This one is five words and not four. But it fits on a baseball cap and a podium and seems, though it was written by Aldous Huxley in 1932, to capture what the Republicans are really all about today. 

“Ending is better than mending.”

I’d rather fix something – a canoe, a fridge, a marriage, a nation, a world – than throw it out and start over. Who’s got the money, time, energy, will or power to do that?

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24 thoughts on “The Plague-Ground – I am a Marxist Liberal Activist”

  1. I stayed away from the Republic Convention last night, and probably will stay away for the rest of it. Every time anyone of them open their mouths, they lie. I find the constant lying and conspiracy theories too exhausting. I would rather watch a horror movie. Bob….you are very brave to watch it. I look forward to tomorrow’s blog summarizing the nonsense.

  2. Packing up my daughter and son-in-law gave me a built in excuse to miss the opening RNC salvo however today’s press and Bob, your item, opened the crack a little to show me what I had neatly missed. And later I will watch the opening dialogue from A Late Show. Running away from watching this republican fear show (the biggest fear show on earth) is my self-protection (read: turtle in the sand). I am glad you are keeping us posted.

  3. Bob, It must have been tough for you to edit this installment of The Plague Ground given the volume of jolting moments from last nights performance.. For that reason I’ll forgive you for not mentioning that we also learned that the guy in power is actually serving as the “bodyguard of western civilization”

  4. Catherine Morrow

    The gun-totin’ suburban vigilantes accusing others of tending toward violence. The Guilfoyle-as-Cruella-Deville thing. DJTJ ranting down from his bizarrely contorted chin-in-the-air posture — combined with bloodshot eyes. It all seemed like a Saturday Night Live skit gone awry after the green room supplied a few too many power-drinks. Or worse.

    My gawd. It feels like the country has collectively slipped a cog, and they’re now stuck in some kind of broken, perpetual noise machine, clanging loudly and signifying nothing. All on a day when the NYC DA is investigating Trump-org fraud. Again. You just cannot make this stuff up.

    Please, US friends. VOTE. For your very lives.

  5. I find it safer for my mental health to skip the whole thing and just thank God for waking up every morning in Canada!

  6. Actually I watched the whole circus show and will continue to watch and try to understand the mentality of those Trump supporters for what they are. As Canadians we should remain highly vigilant of the enemy lurking below our border. Remember the vote is not in yet and if bingo Don has his way, it never will arrive to his liking. Remember that phrase about not remembering the past. Our parents and grandparents remember the 30’s. Stay tuned. This is going to be an incredible ride.

  7. A good and accurate rant, Bob. But as infuriated as I am with the screaming, fibbing podium speakers, I’m mad as Hell at US network media. They just let it go on and on and on. They need a lie-o-meter in the corner of the screen and every time a speaker spews obvious BS, it lights up and an obnoxious buzzer goes off. Now that’s a Trump convention or rally I’d watch!

    1. I must say I kind of over-dosed last night. At least it will keep me from watching until Friday morning
      when I can catch the news reports of Trump’s acceptance speech.

    2. Catherine — You’re right. It’s not just the craziness. It’s the relentless crazies who pile one after the other, on to the podium and our screens.
      I think I won’t watch it tonight.

    3. Which reminds my of (yet) another great quote from Churchill: “In times of war, trust is so precious that it should be
      accompanied at all times by a bodyguard of lies.”


    Thank you Bob for sacrificing your evening in order to deliver your summary of the RNC….Somehow this morning I watched a a seemingly bat shit crazy Kimberly Gilfoyle screaming the Trump rhetoric at the masses. God help us…she’s a senior advisor to the Trumpster and ‘Melania look alike’ girlfriend of the Trumpster Jr. I’m afraid…very afraid…of what we might be in for and feeling vulnerable. It all reminds me of a fictional Margaret Atwood dystopian world. What has America become…or was it always so..and Trump’s example has given license for bigotry, hatred, division and outright lies to become acceptable ???

    1. Even Melania is only minorly creepy among this crew. I can’t wait till Trump himself speaks on Thursday night.
      Given his world-class self-discipline, about half way through his speech, he’ll throw it away and shoot from the hip
      …….and then we’ll see the real chaos he believes in.

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