Was going to take a break from blogging, but this caught my eye.
Many people who swing by here know I carry two citizenships: the US one I was born with, and the Canadian one I was sworn into. I won't lie here -- I consider myself Canadian. I also still consider myself American. And Irish. Especially Irish. 21st century, people, welcome to post-nationalism.
"U.S. religious groups export their homophobia to CanadaAfter having successfully injected ignorance and bigotry into the American political process, U.S. religious organizations have waded into the Canadian debate on same-sex marriage."
(Via Kos, and A Voice in the Wilderness)
(Confusing? Too bad. Future moves fast people, form your own constructs and keep up.)
But, primarily, I call myself a Canadian. Why? Well, in discussing this once with a friend who's family traces back to the Alamo, I realized that it was my grandfather who came to this country. (and got himself a Purple Heart in the Bulge, in a story both amusing and tragic beyond belief). I go two generations back, tops, when one talks about roots defined by the traditional tribal sense of place.
But it's the 21st Century, people. We are not tribes. This place does not have the "magic liberty rocks." My family, and the specifically American tradition of Enlightenment thought we once valued so highly, taught me to use my brain. That reason, and its application, is what makes us not just great, but should, in theory, be the base quality of admission for citizenship. A tragic irony of modern times is that the people who throw around the term "Founding Fathers" most are the least like those men they profess to revere.
My citizenship is to an idea of democracy, not to the dirt where that idea took fortuitous root. If this continent sank beneath the ocean, would Americans abroad stop calling themselves American? Would "America" as a concept end? No, we bravely brag that the ideals we claim make "America" are bigger than one nation. And then, some turn around and claim them the singular provenance of that nation. The hypocrisy is stunning.
And in following those ideals, I found myself in Canada. I believe in the most fundamental of concept of liberty, Thomas Jefferson's favorite whipping point: "Your rights end where mine begin." At this time, in the US, people seem incapable, INCAPABLE, of letting live and let live. It is a land of enemies, of waiting converts to your cause. Ben Franklin's invitation to "Come, let us reason together," is drowned out in a din of apocalyptic screeching.
This is what defines Canada's virtue to me. Canada does not convert. Canada heals. Canada leads. First among the nations, creating the Peacekeepers. Pushing the Land Mine ban. Still not perfect, but doing their best at reconciling issues with the aboriginal peoples even as other nations such as Australia choke on their responsibility. Allowing Quebec its poetic, myopic thrashings. I'm always a little dismayed at native Canadians who whinny about Canada's missing identity. I, as an adopted son, know damn well what Canada is. "Come, have a pint, I don't mind your odd accent -- mine's a bit dodgy too. Your business is your business, we can all be friends as long as you buy the next round."
Doesn't sound all that fancy, eh? What value is a pleasant place to drink, where everyone respects one another, in this world?
It's everything, you fuckwits. It's worth DYING FOR. It may be the only thing that keeps the 21st Century from spinning off into flames, you shortsighted low-self-esteem-having BASTARDS.
Stop looking south, worrying what the loud lad over the fence is going to do next and what he'll think of you. Look East, where Ireland has remade itself into the world's largest software exporter, showing us that nimble little economies can adapt within a generation. Look West, where the Asian nations forge alliances that will dominate the next half of the century. We're the bloody BRIDGE between those two worlds - because it certainly as shit isn't going to be Putin's Russia that connects them. Hell even our cousins in South America -- cousins by virtue of living in the same shadow -- Canada could reach out, be the central hinge through convenience of geography. Canada, if it wakes the FUCK UP, could be the center of the damn world this century.
And you know why that's good? Because of what we said earlier -- Canada reasons. Canada deliberates (sometimes, amusingly, excessively so). Canada's motto of "Peace, order, and good government" isn't some bloodless bureaucratic letterhead. Read some Fareed Zakariah, some Barnett -- peace, order, and good government will save the world. Not gunslinging.
So, when I see this, this crap, this twisted remnant of 19th century thought, being pumped into the reasonable land I love passionately, it, it ... well, it gets my Irish up. Huh. Postnationalism indeed.
There are two elements here, both worthy of scorn. First, the same-sex marriage debate. The government does not belong in the bedrooms of the nation. It does not tell you who to marry, how to marry, who to love, what God to worship, what books to read ... that is not its job. The government's job when it comes to marriage is to make sure the legal mumbo-jumbo is observed. All the things that make marriage "marriage", all the emotional and religious context, that's up to the individual couples and their communities, be those communites Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, civil ...
If you belong to a church which is against same-sex marriage, fine. If this law passes, your church will not be forced to marry gay people. Do you know why? Because, and I will take this slowly, odds are gay people are not going to your church. Strange gay people are not going to paratroop in and occupy your vestry. This law will not make you have to look at gay people, or associate with them, or like them. You will not have to forgive them, or even agree with them. The special vows that make marriage a holy institution to you, they will not being saying them in your church, changing the meaning of those vows to you. They do not change what "marriage" means to you. You can continue to argue that gay people are bad or wrong or evil in God's eyes, and do so freely. Do you understand? Your. Life. Does. Not. Change. Your rights are not abridged. And so, your right to find them objectionable or icky or evil ends where their right to enter into a legal contract begins.
You may have excellent moral, or religious, or personal arguments against same-sex marriage. But you do not have a single decent legal one. And that is the government's reach, and no farther.
(The fact that Catholics, who faced so much violent discrimination in America as "Papists" and were protected only be the strict observance of separation of church and state, can now deprive another group of that shield is beyond shameful.)
But, general principles aside, to see money for the advancement of conservative American causes not only funneling into Canada, but not getting SPAT RIGHT BACK IN THEIR FACE, is infuriating. Even if you don't believe in same-sex marriage, fine, don't you believe in Canada's bloody autonomy? Oh, yes, remember when Canada returned all those escaped slaves, because the US wanted them back? No? You venal, cowardly, seditious little pricks. I find it incredibly ironic that Stephen Harper is the leading opponent of gay rights, because if he takes this money he might as well be wearing chaps and a t-shirt that says "I'm an American Evangelical's BOTTOM BITCH."
It's the 21st Century. It's Canada's Century, if we have the balls to step up and save the world. To show that here, HERE, reason, and law, and RESPECT stand -- not fear.
Come on people. It's the future. Let's break some shit.