So, Bush visited Canada today. The DJs on the commercial radio station, the Morning Morons, were talking about the protests accompanying his visit. They seemed genuinely perplexed by this. "Protests? in Canada? Huh." But there was no mention of what any of the protests were about.
Okay, I'll clue you in: the Iraq War.
Canada is also cranky with the U.S. because of trade disputes, some lumber issues and beef bans after the mad cow scare. But that's not why people are protesting in the streets. This portion of the article exemplified why Bush gets my knickers in a twist on an almost daily basis:
In a joint news conference with Martin, the president was asked about his low popularity in a country long associated with cordial ties to the United States.
"We just had a poll in our country where people decided that the foreign policy of the Bush administration ought to stay in place for four more years," Bush said, dismissing the negative sentiments.
What is he saying here, exactly? He was asked about his low popularity in Canada, and he responded by indicating that he won the U.S. presidential election. Is it just a non-sequitor? Is he confusing the U.S. and Canada, like those people who accused Canadians of being "unpatriotic" for not supporting the Iraq War when it started? Or is he suggesting to Canada that if they don't like his foreign policy they should take it up against the U.S. people instead, because they voted for it? Did he just forget -- as he often seems to -- that foreign policy is about interacting with other nations, not about playing tough for the benefit of homegrown warmongering isolationists? (Yes, I know, "warmongering" and "isolationist" should be antonyms. But these days, somehow, they're not.) I don't know. It makes my head hurt.
The Bush quote continues:
"I'm the kind of fellow who does what I think is right, and will continue to do what I think is right. I'll consult with our friends and neighbors, but if I think it's right to remove Saddam Hussein for the security of the United States, that's the course of action I'll take. And some people don't like that; I understand that."
Note the deliberately folksy use of "fellow" -- that achingly artificial "just folks" veneer that Bush uses to make it seem like he's a man of the people, while that OTHER wealthy Yale graduate is just a poncey elitist. And that appeal to the "values" voters by talking about what he thinks is "right" as if it's a moral consideration, and strategy or practicality have nothing to do with it. It doesn't matter if the Iraq War is an utter failure, because it was the RIGHT thing to do! It doesn't matter if we sacrifice tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, thousands of American lives, and utterly destroy their country, because it was the RIGHT thing to do! You know, normally, when people talk about doing something that was unpopular or that other people thought was a bad idea, because they thought it was the right thing to do, they're talking about something where THEY WERE THE ONES WHO HAD TO MAKE THE SACRIFICE. You know, "I knew it was dangerous to hide the Jews in my attic, but it was the right thing to do.
Bush's attitude is more like if you interviewed the soldiers after they invaded the attic. "It wasn't easy to shoot those kids when they were looking at me with those big tear-filled eyes, but I knew it was the right thing to do, and I shot them."
Ooo, and then he finishes it off with that condescending little "And some people don't like that," as if we're talking about his bad manners or his taste in cowboy hats. (Note: the problem with Bush has never been whether he is, or is not, an idiot. The problem is that he treats ME, as a member of the American public, as if I'M an idiot.)
I'm still not planning to move to Canada in any serious way, although we do have friends who have said that if the Gestapo invades we can sneak across the border and crash on their couch. I live in Bellingham, and I don't really have to move to Canada. We are completely inundated with Canadian media, Vancouver BC is closer to us than Seattle, and Bellingham is as liberal-minded as anywhere I've been. In fact, I think it would be groovy if all the disgruntled Americans who are thinking about moving to Canada sort of collected here instead, and made Bellingham the epicenter of the new liberal movement, as well as economic development.
Our Canadian friends have sometimes introduced us as "Americans -- but they're not like other Americans." I know what they mean by that. They mean that we are not like the stereotype of Americans as ignorant, pushy, flag-waving bigots. I usually respond by pointing out that we are like other Americans. There are a lot of Americans like us.
Approximately half the country.