Archive Logo.jpg

January 21, 2005

If you haven't already read Silfray Hraka...

...on the subject of selective quotations, and the sudden Blue State passion for Secession and their EUrophilia... some of whom are taken to quoting Jefferson on the subject of 'the reign of witches' should, perhaps, read the whole letter - wherein it is a plea for unity, not disunity.

John | Permalink | Comments (2) | Politics
» Random Fate links with: An observation from Canada
Comments on If you haven't already read Silfray Hraka...
Alan briefed on January 21, 2005 06:41 PM

[Hi John - this turned into a longer comment than I had expected but was triggered by your post.]

These times your country are living in are perhaps too "interesting", under the logic of that Chinese curse. One thing we up here have up on you in recent history is experience with division. The calls to "unity" remind me of the Quebec separatist era of 1965 to 1995 - which has largely and surprisingly dissipated, perhaps if only for a time.

The ideological divide is obvious to all. Yesterday, during NPR's call-in after the inauguration one particular caller, phoning-in on the dedicated "Republican line", was so full of anger and hate at his perception of the anger and hate of the Democrats/liberals it really got me to wondering. Up here, due to our looser and dynamic confederation, the provinces right now have greater autonomy than the feds impose overall control (this shifts decade to decade) compared to your states and feds. We do not now expect national "unity" anymore so much as a working peace. What makes that possible, however, is one province, Ontario with roughly 40% of the entire population which plays national trump card. You lack that fluke of history and also lack the Parliament. So the anger expressed in that 1-2% swing in the national vote becomes the main story as states have too little power to effectively form blocks on issues as might be expressed in a Parliamentary form of democracy. Gridlock.

There must be a better outcome than the triumph of 51% over 49%. It really can't be enough to say the 49% are now wrong anymore than that other 49% was in 1992 when your Federal goverance was reversed and the then minority was subject to ridicule. I fear, however, if the attitude of that caller is indicative of the common mood. When asked what he would give to foster greater unity he said he would give "my value to the liberals as well as a place at my church" - of course only if they would sub-ordinate themselves. Little dignity and individual autonomy in that. How would a person who saw things in the 49% be the slightest bit attracted to that pew? The core of mutual disrespect is a bad situation.

So what to do? After the very close call of Quebec separatism in 1995, we worked towards a greater asymetrical arrangement where provinces got to express themselves more indiviually. But that donesn't really appear possible for the US now. If I were a US liberal, I would focus on the local and the state level and forget for this term and likely the next the prospect of running Washington. My goal would be swinging states back and that takes time. Either that or creating enclaves much as the South and Prairie states have in the liberal eras - move to New York, Oregon.

Neither of those outcomes are, however, "unity". Is the best you can expect is successive slim majorities one way or another?

Justthisguy briefed on January 21, 2005 09:47 PM

Went there, Read The Whole Thing. It's a good reminder about how pulling quotes to suit yerself can totally change the meaning of a piece of writing.

That old saw about the Devil quoting scripture also comes to mind.