Sunday, December 18, 2016

The issue with joining Canada

Once again The Confederate States of America has elected a horrible human being to the presidency of my country. This time it could be worse than we have ever had before. We have survived Andrew Jackson, we have survived Richard Nixon, we have survived Ronald Reagan, and survived George W Bush. Now these backwards racists have elected a self obsessed mediocre reality TV star who talks about illegally deporting millions of people,  mocks people with disabilities, and brags about assaulting women. He lost by over 2 million votes and won three formerly solid democratic leaning states by a hair, winning the Electoral College. His economic policies are ludicrous and social policies are right out of the works of Nietzsche and Hitler. He is working hard to destroy our relationships with other countries, and had the support of Vladimir Putin. The cabinet he is assembling is the richest cabinet in American history, he promises to eliminate the EPA, cut back on social programs and give himself more tax breaks. We don't even know what his investments are, meaning we cannot know where his conflicts of interests lie. This is hell on earth and will take decades to recover from.

As a response, many liberals are talking about the west and northeast joining Canada. To be realistic, this would not happen because most Canadians will oppose it.

I am in Vancouver right now, routinely ranked as the most liveable city in North America, and I agree with Mercer's assessment. While Seattle, a city of 3.7 million people has only one light rail line which goes from the university which is close to downtown to the airport, Vancouver just finished the line to Coquitlam, which is over a half hour drive from downtown. The Seattle equivalent would be like building a line up to Lynnwood which will not happen for over 10 years. Portland, Oregon is in similar shape to Seattle with the MAX, lauded by Americans as the most European like city in the country, doesn't have the MAX running consistently from 6 am to midnight from the whole metro area, and in New York City crossing the Hudson from Manhatten to New Jersey is far from convenient. There is a reason the city is dominated by taxis. These are also some of the most progressive cities in America and their infrastructure is shit, have horrible vetting programs to keep white supremacists (read terrorists) out of their police force, the roads have literal potholes, and have traffic like no first world city. Quantitative quality of life surveys are dominated by German, Japanese, and Canadian cities at the top of the list. At the state level my home state of Washington has the most regressive tax code in the country, refuses to fund basic education, and can't pass a carbon tax because our media is so biased. We are next to Oregon the least corrupt state in the country as well. It would have cost less for me to go to UBC as a foreigner than my own university as an in state student.

The only people we have to blame are ourselves. The Democratic party's unwillingness to go to court over voting rights has hurt our country, and have not brought the Electoral College to National debates. The party is only as good or bad as its members. So why should Canadians want us to join their country? Even many liberal Americans tend to be uncommitted to no brainer policies like mass transit and carbon taxation. Our most progressive politicians frequently oppose such policies and our best and brightest refuse to run for president. Why should Canadians want us gumming up their election system?

On the other side Canadian politics is not as good as most Americans think. Stephen Harper successfully turned Canada into a petrostate and their currency is struggling as a result, increasing the prices of imports. It is going to take a long time to get out of this rut they are in. Justin Trudeau just approved multiple large pipelines as Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline and Trudeau is making it unnecessarily harder for tourists from Europe to visit. Their election system is so bad that despite never winning a majority in an election Stephen Harper survived as PM for three. No party has won a majority of the vote up here in decades. Canada is wonderful, and I love it so much, but is not the utopia many Americans think it is. If they had an influx of more moderate Americans from California and New York electing members of parliament Canada would probably lose many of the programs like Medicare progressives in America yearn for. Never forget the Public Option was killed when Democrats had a filibuster proof majority and all but one Democrat in the Senate voted for the Patriot Act. Russ Feingold was defeated in his next election, when he should have been a presidential candidate in 2004. Why would Canadians want us to join?

Instead of crying about leaving the United States let's clean our own house first. Call our politicians to build infrastructure and fund education. Fix our election systems and cut carbon pollution. Make a more progressive tax code and call for an open border with Canada. Make it easier for European and Japanese tourists to visit the United States. When our politicians break their promises, kick the bastards out. Turn off cable news and read newspapers written by scientists, not public relations/journalism majors. Call for people to speak reality and end this culture where everyone is entitled to their own facts. When our districts are gerrymandered, use the Voting Rights Act and the courts to make our elections fair. Make us a country which would not pull Canada backwards but push them forward.

Once we do this joining Canada would be possible. Once we do this, we won't have to.

1 comment:

  1. This is well thought-out and articulates your main points well. Although I wish your introduction weren't quite so deliberately antagonistic, I think your conclusion is perfect!