TRIPPING IN CANADA
One afternoon as I leaned against the edge of the medium hot, large pool at the Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort in Canada, I thought about my recent trip around the U.S. and pictured a similar, but cool water pool at the Holiday Inn in Key West. I was feeling perfectly at ease surrounded by Canadians and their more laid back style of life. I saw no one acting out or exhibiting “look at me folks” behavior. I saw no driven behaviors, no one trying to show off or draw attention to themselves. Families seemed at peace and unified. The Americans I watched at the Holiday Inn less than three months ago were loud, insecure and medicating themselves with alcohol. It’s as if each was calling out for attention and “love”?
What Michael Moore observed in “Bowling For Columbine” seemed true enough that afternoon in Canada. As he pointed out, Canadians own more guns per capita than Americans, yet Canada’s murder rate is miniscule compared to America’s. Michael Moore agreed with the NRA in one important point—guns have nothing to do with America’s murderous rate, but... (here Michael differs), America’s paranoia and insecurity do. As he asks, “Should paranoid Americans be allowed to own so many guns?”
Now that we’ve got this Bush guy in charge of America, who thinks nothing of starting wars and killing people, we can definitely see Moore’s point. If I were the people of the world, I’d be arming myself to the teeth in preparation for George’s next depredation.
I joked with my wife as we crossed the border into Canada that I ought to tell the border guard that we were political refugees from Bush’s America. She didn’t think it was too funny and, of course, you never know what sort of sense of humor someone with a gun on their hip might demonstrate, so I saved the joke for later.
Frequently, thereafter, I’d tell Canadians that my wife and I were escapees from Bush’s repressive regime in America. Not one Canadian failed to appreciate the joke and understand it. In Kaslo, one woman told us that we’d be right at home, there, if we wanted to settle in Canada. She said lots of draft dodgers from the Vietnam era settled in that region and still lived there. No wonder I experienced a marvelous inner peace during our couple of days in Canada and felt rather depressed upon reentering America.
Canadians truly understand freedom of belief and leaving one’s neighbors’ religions and attitudes alone. Under Bush’s faith-based regime and, in his own words, his wish to convert everyone to his Protestantism, America is in danger of losing its own Constitutional desire for separation of church and state and the harmony and peace that separation has given us over the few brief centuries of our nation’s history. One need look no further than Bush’s religious intolerance to understand why America is currently torn by such divisive hatreds. I have no trouble identifying the source of my hatred and fear of George Bush. It all flows from my understanding of the intolerance in his religious mandate, openly expressed, to convert others to his beliefs rather than leaving them alone to practice their own beliefs. History tells the sad tale of the pain and suffering caused by missionary zeal when it flows from the ambitions of national leadership.
"The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible hardly anything." —Goethe