Monthly Archives: September 2019

Me, Myself, and Canada

I woke this morning with a very high self approval rating. This is not usually the case. Ordinarily I’m castigating myself for eating late at night and then not being able to fall asleep. Or for forgetting to brush my teeth, which is rare because I’m a very strict taskmaster. I’m like my own S&M club, where I work both ends.

But this morning I looked at my tired, aging face in the mirror and said, “You’re doing okay. There is nothing you can do to reverse this morning look, unless a genie comes along at this very moment (I look up in the air at nothing) so bloody well relax already.” And for once, I listened to myself. “What wise advice,” I said aloud, being very comfortable with audible conversations between me and me.

This is the curse and pleasure of living alone. Now that my husband’s witty banter exists only in my head, I’m fielding discussions that should be internal but are more like a noisy parliament session. My political debates before the Manitoba election were fierce, rivalling Gollum in the split personality department of side taking. Now that the federal election looms, I’m back at it.

I wonder how many of us succumb to the eeny, meeny, miny mo form of decision making. My husband was a politician so I’ve seen, nay, walked through the grass on both sides of the fence. So even with the people I’d never vote for (no matter how much my contrary Gollum side likes them) I’m still able to view them as wanting the best for their country and themselves. And yet. Am I doing what I always do, voting ‘same as usual’ or will I pick the best one for the job?

Dostoyevsky said, ‘You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners.’ Nelson Mandela and Churchill both said you could measure the degree of civilization in a society by how it treats its weakest members. Mahatma Ghandi said the same thing about how society treats animals. And Margaret Thatcher said ‘The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.’ Then there’s climate change, harder to ignore if you live on the East Coast.

Choosing the right politician generally comes down to addressing one’s own anxiety. Am I bothered by other people’s pain, or by the idea that my country’s debt is growing too large? Do I see immigrants as an economic boon or as people who cost the taxpayers a lot of money? Do I believe people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps, or is it just easier for those with stable home lives, safe upbringings and/or white privilege?

Whichever politician we pick, and however we choose to address our anxiety, we’re all in this together. As Canadians, we share a social contract that agrees on many points. There’s the unique culture we share, with each province offering it’s own flavour. We really are a people who apologize a lot ( I have a video of myself in childbirth, and mid scream, I stop to say sorry to my midwife.) We pride ourselves on being nice, and for the most part, I believe it’s true. Let’s not lose that. As part of Team Canada, I’ll stick up for you, and you stick up for me. ¬†Okay? Now let me check in with my other half to see what she thinks.

“I concur!” she says. I love it when we’re both in agreement.