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?