Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guest Post: Richard Woo Muses...

It is closing in on 10:30 p.m. as I start to put my thoughts down for Patrick’s blog. It might seem an odd time to do so, but since becoming unemployed I find my early mornings aren’t as early and my early bedtimes aren’t as early as they used to be. I find it amazing that I, a ‘stubble jumper’ from the prairies of Western Canada, now live in New England. I’ve learned a lot about this country but I have to say, I’ve a few questions for all of you, because frankly some of the stuff you guys do doesn’t make sense to me:

Politics – I’ll take ‘A colossal waste of money’ for $53 billion, please, Alex.

I don’t know if anyone down here has noticed, but Canada is having a federal election. The writ (which basically starts the game rolling) came down on March 26, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government lost a non-confidence vote, with the election to be held on May 2. You will notice that this will take less than three months from start to finish. THREE MONTHS to travel a country whose area is more than 100,000 miles larger than the United States. It seems to take at least a year here; two years if you have to have primaries. Why so long, and why do you really need primaries? I know there used to be conventions but no longer. Do you really need to drag this stuff out?

The last election in Canada cost a record $300 million (Canadian) while in the United States, nearly $53 billion (American) was spent for the 2008 presidential campaign. I understand that the population is much greater, but television and radio advertising covers larger areas of population. (I also know that the US has about 10 times the population of Canada but still less area.) I mean, wow! $53 billion!? Couldn’t you have done a lot more good for this nation with that much scratch? That’s $171 per person in the United States vs. $8.77 in Canada. I wish they’d have given me the $171 instead of bombarding the airwaves, internet and all other media forms with attack ads.

I’m not going to delve into parliamentary politics vs. the US system because they’ve both GOT ISSUES! But I’ve got to ask: Electoral College? I understand from my studies (which I undertook voluntarily) how the Electoral College came to be, but guys, it’s OVER WITH! Let’s save a few dollars here, hey?

God Bless America – Great! Now could you tone that down a bit? You’re giving the rest of the world a headache.

As an outsider, I had always perceived this as some form of arrogance. It came across to me and others that America was God’s chosen country and the only one that mattered. America is #1, and the rest of the world? WHO CARES?! THEY AREN’T AMERICA!!

But since living in the United States, I have come to a few conclusions:

1.) It’s not intentional arrogance. I believe that in comparison to Canadians, Americans are far more spiritual. And that’s not a bad thing, really. Though I am reminded of a quote of a friend of mine: “Religion is like alcohol: to be taken in moderation.”

2.) Americans are very patriotic. The spirit and pride in your nation are very clear. I think this is a good thing. I’d just add that that patriotism, like religion and alcohol, should be taken in moderation. Canadians are a not patriotic enough, and patriotism in Canada seems to only raise its head when a Canadian team beats an American team. Then boy, do the Canadians go over the top. Bad form, hosers.

~ Richard Woo
Bristol, Connecticut

1 comment:

  1. As much as I hate to say this to a Canadian, in our travels in western Canada, including Vancouver Island, I've found almost all Canadians to be polite, friendly, open and quietly in love with their nation.
    Meanwhile, too many Americans are jingoistic and nationalistic and we're far too in love with the military-industrial complex that Ike warned us about after WWII. We're as paranoid as a nation as any Middle Eastern despot.
    I guess we think we have too much to lose. Well, I'm thinking that our slipping into 2nd or 3rd place might be a fine thing.